Greek Whole Roasted Lemon Oregano Chicken

It’s unseemly, the amount of lemon and garlic lavished on the chicken.

Today I’d like to share with you a recipe for one of the most classic dishes — roasting a whole chicken. Mine was made with all the tangy and rich Greek flavors from my childhood dinner tables. In fact, my supplies are partly from the Greek village. The Kalamata olive oil pressed by family friends restaurateurs, and oregano dried from a village neighbor’s bush.

Half of me is into the science of cuisine – (only half) – perhaps my husband’s influence. We’ve become fascinated with the beautiful pink hundreds of millions years old salt crystals that are being mined from the Himalayan mountains. Also, in our recent trip to Istanbul, we went to the famous Egyptian Spice Bazaar and haggled badly for several bags of herbs, teas and spices, including the mixed red, pink, black, brown and white peppercorns I featured in this recipe as well.

A note on the cook’s tools — my knives are Shun, and I love them. And the roasting pan is All-Clad, the love of which I inherited from momma.

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

I can smell those fresh lemons.

Whole Pink, Red, White & Black Peppercorn

A neighbor in the Greek village my dad’s from dries fresh oregano bushes whole, and each year when my parents visit, they arrive with bags full — on the branch! My mom will spread a tablecloth, pull out a strainer, and crush the leaves, stem by stem.

The neighbors my dad grew up with started a restaurant in the village of Kalamata. This is from a batch of olive oil they pressed this winter. The best Kalamata Olive Oil has a green hue, and smells heady and rich.

Chicken patted try on roasting pan with rack.

Bird rubbed happy with marinade right before going into the oven.

Greek Whole Roasted Lemon Oregano Chicken

Prep Time 15 minutes; Cook Time 1 hour 15minutes; Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 whole chicken, brought to room temperature and patted dry, about 6 lbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dried crushed oregano
  • 3 lemons zested
  • 9 tablespoons lemon juice, about three lemons
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons Kalamata olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pink, red, black and white pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a small food processor, combine oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse to combine.
  3. Using your hands, rub  marinade over chicken. Gently lift the skin and rub directly onto the breast.
  4. Place chicken in roasting pan with rack, breast side up and place in oven.
  5. After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 400°F and roast about 1 hour.
  6. Remove from oven and let stand 20 minutes in juices before serving.

Yield 6 servings


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