Rachel Allen’s lemon and herb roast chicken recipe

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Where do celebrity chefs get their love of food from? Their mums of course. TV chef Rachel Allen shares a family favourite, with her mum's chicken recipe

Preparation Time15 mins
Cooking Time1 hours 30 mins (may need 15 mins extra)
Total Time1 hours 45 mins

Where do celebrity chefs get their love of food from? Their mums of course. TV chef Rachel Allen shares a family favourite, with her mum's roast chicken recipe


  • 1 large chicken, 1.5-2.25kg (3lb 5oz-5lb)
  • A small knob of butter
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 350ml (12fl oz) chicken stock for the gravy
  • Stuffing
  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1tsp chopped fresh sage
  • Finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 100g (4oz) soft breadcrumbs




  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4
  2. First, make the stuffing. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Cover and cook over a low heat for 8-10 mins until the onion is soft. Take off the heat then stir in the chopped herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice and breadcrumbs. Season to taste.
  3. Spoon the stuffing into the chicken carcass and put the chicken in a roasting tray. Smear the know of soft butter over the skin and sprinkle with some sea salt and pepper. Roast for 1hr 30 mins to 1hr 45mins until cooked. The legs should feel quite loose in the bird and when a skewer is stuck into the thigh with a spoon placed underneath to catch the juices, they should run clear. If it begins to look quite dark while cooking, cover with some foil. When cooked transfer the chicken to a serving plate and leave to rest, in a warm oven if possible, while you make the gravy.
  4. Put the roasting tray directly on the hob on a medium heat, add half the stock and bring back to the boil and pour into a small bowl or heat-proof jug. De-grease the juices by adding a couple of ice cubes which will draw the fat to the top so you can spoon it off and throw it away.
  5. Pour the de-greased juices into a small pan, add the rest of the stock, bring to the boil and season to taste. If it's too watery, boil for another couple of mins.
  6. Take the chicken out of the oven and carve when ready to serve.
Top Tip for making Rachel Allen’s lemon and herb roast chicken

To make breadcrumbs, put slices of white bread (with or without the crusts) in a food processor and whiz until you have crumbs. My mum makes delicious stuffing and she usually chops her onions and parsley, separately, in the food processor too.

Rachel Allen left home at just 18 to pursue a career in cooking. Originally from Dublin, Ireland she moved to County Cork to study at the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Soon after graduating from the prestigious culinary school, she worked at the Ballymaloe House Hotel testing recipes and then onto teaching at the school. Her first television series, called Rachel’s Favourite Food, was broadcast in 2004 throughout Ireland, Canada, Australia and elsewhere in Europe. A book of the same name accompanied the series, giving viewers a true insight into Rachel’s special brand of family-orientated cooking and recipes. Since then she has authored more than eight different cookery books (opens in new tab), based around baking and home cooking. She’s particularly famous for her baking recipes, such as the delicious walnut and American frosting cake (opens in new tab), as well as simpler recipes like basic fairy cakes (opens in new tab). Rachel’s books have sold more than 1 million copies worldwide. As well as being a TV chef and author, Rachel writes regular columns for Irish magazine, The Sunday Tribune. In the past, she has also contributed to BBC Good Food magazine and AWT at Home magazine. Alongside writing, Rachel also teaches at the same school she trained. She regularly appears on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and has her own popular cooking show on Irelands RTE network. In March 2017, Rachel Allen opened her first restaurant. Dwyers of Cork on Washington Street in Cork is a joint business venture with her husand, Isaac, and publican Paul Montgomery. Appearing on the show over a number of years, in September 2019 Rachel returned as a judge and co-host with Marco Pierre White on the popular Irish television series, The Restaurant. Rachel lives in County Cork with her husband, Issac. The couple have three children together - Luka, Joshua and Scarlett. From simple one-pot meals and roast dinners to your favourite sweet treats, we’ve got all of the best Rachel Allen recipes (opens in new tab) to choose from.