Oven Roasted Half Chicken

Oven Roasted Half Chicken is succulent and flavorful, coated in a seasoned rub for maximum crispy golden brown skin. Serve it with your favorite side dishes as a midweek family meal or for special occasions!

Roasted half chicken in a baking dish ready to be served.

Roast chicken is a very popular choice of protein in most households. You can choose to roast the whole chicken cut into two halves, or you can roast just half a chicken for a small family.

Satisfy your craving for roast chicken with this lemon garlic butter roasted half chicken. Enjoy it with a variety of side dishes and use leftovers for other meals through the week.

If you love easy chicken recipes try Lemon Chicken Orzo Pasta, Baked Salsa Chicken or Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Chicken next!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Whole Roast Chicken Alternative – With this recipe, you can cook the whole chicken in two pieces or you can cook only half of the chicken.
  • Simple Ingredients – All you need is chicken and the ingredients for the seasoned rub!
  • Dress Up or Down – Add some classy side dishes to make this chicken recipe the perfect meal when hosting dinner guests. Serve it with a fresh garden salad for a stress-free weeknight meal.
  • Juicy and Crispy – Enjoy the irresistible contrast of juicy and flavorful meal with a slightly crispy chicken skin!

Ingredients Need

This recipe uses simple pantry-staple seasonings and ingredients to flavor the chicken for an easy and budget-friendly midweek family meal. You can easily customize the spice mix to suit your preferences.

All of the ingredients for roasted half chicken sitting in bowls on a countertop including whole chicken, lemon zest, olive oil, butter, salt and pepper, smoked paprika, garlic and thyme.
  • Chicken: You can use a whole bird and follow my instructions for how to prepare it, or simply buy 2 chicken halves from the grocery store. You can also divide all of the ingredients in half and cook only one chicken half.
  • Butter: Softened unsalted butter is best for mixing with the seasoning blend.
  • Olive Oil: Use high quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor. You also have the option to use avocado oil, if desired.
  • Seasonings: You will need fresh thyme leaves (or dried), lemon zest, minced fresh garlic, smoked paprika, kosher salt and black pepper. You can also use fresh parsley for garnish.
  • Lemon wedges: Fresh lemon wedges are perfect for serving with this dish, offering extra vibrant flavor.

Equipment Needed

You’ll need a large cutting board to prepare the chicken on, a sharp pair of kitchen shears and a small mixing bowl to make the rub. You’ll also need a deep baking sheet, roasting pan or large cast iron skillet for the chicken to cook in.

You can also use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh to test the internal temperature of the roasted chicken, which should register 165 degrees F.

How to Make Oven Roasted Half Chicken

This lemon garlic butter roasted half chicken is incredibly easy to make. Here are the main steps you’ll need to follow:

Using scissors to cut a whole chicken in half then basting with the homemade seasoning mix.
  1. Prepare the chicken: Place the whole chicken on a large cutting board, breast side down and start cutting along the one side of the spine with sharp kitchen shears to separate it from the ribs. Repeat this along the other side and then flip the chicken over on its back. Cut the cartilage and soft bone down the middle of the breasts and pull apart into two separate halves.
  2. Make the rub: Combine the butter, oil and seasoning ingredients in a small mixing bowl and rub over the two chicken halves, getting some under the skin. Let the chicken rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Preheat the oven: While the chicken rests, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Two half chicken pieces with the seasoning rubbed on top, placed in a skillet ready to go into the oven.
  1. Roast the chicken: Transfer the chicken halves to a deep baking pan, skin side up, and roast for 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, basting every 10 to 15 minutes with the released juices, until the chicken registers 165 degrees F internally or the juices run clear when the chicken is cut. You can broil the chicken 2 to 4 minutes before the end of the cook time for crispy skin.
  2. Rest and serve: Remove the chicken from the oven and cover it loosely with foil to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite side dishes.

Please see the recipe card below for full measurements and instructions.

One half chicken on a plate for serving.

Recipe Tips

  • Season well: Don’t be afraid to use your hands to ensure that the chicken halves are well coated in the buttery rub. Gently lift the skin away from the breast to add rub underneath which will ensure a juicy and crispy finish.
  • Check for doneness: The chicken must register an internal temperature of 165 degrees F or have clear juices running from it by the end of the cooking time for it to be done and safe to eat. Use a Meat Thermometer and insert it into the thickest section of the chicken to test.
  • Equipment: I don’t recommend using a regular sheet pan as the sides are usually not high enough and the juices from the chicken can drip onto the floor of the oven, creating smoke. If you use an oven-safe skillet, make sure that the chicken halves are not hanging over the edges.
  • Allow for rest time: Letting the cooked chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes will help lock in the juices so that you get to serve juicy and flavorful chicken without those juices spilling out on to the serving plates!


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Reheat in the oven, microwave or add to other dishes such as salads and casseroles.

Oven roasted half chicken on a white plate sliced into small pieces for eating. A fork rests on the plate and a lemon wedge is on the side for serving.

Serving Suggestion

This oven roasted half chicken is perfect with:


  • Seasonings: Change the spices or herbs to suit your preference. Garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, basil, rosemary or sage would all be great additions or substitutes. Lemon juice can also be added to the rub for extra freshness.
  • Sheet pan meal: Turn this recipe into a complete meal by adding your favorite root vegetables, yellow onion and Brussel sprouts to the baking dish. Add lemon slices for extra flavor.
  • Marinade: Meal prep this roast chicken recipe by adding the rub to the chicken. Allow the chicken to sit in the fridge for a few hours.

Did you try this Oven Roasted Half Chicken recipe? Leave a recipe rating and review below!

Roasted half chicken in a baking dish ready to be served.

Oven Roasted Half Chicken

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Delicious roasted chicken – half or whole!
5 from 3 votes


  • 1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken, (or 2 half chickens)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  • Remove the chicken giblets and pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  • Place the chicken on a large cutting board, breast side down. Using kitchen shears, cut along one side of the chicken spine, separating it from the ribs. Repeat on the other side of the spine. Flip the chicken over onto its back and firmly cut the cartilage and soft bone down the middle of the breasts so the two halves come apart.
  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, oil, lemon zest, thyme, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Rub the seasoned butter evenly over the chicken halves, getting some under the skin, then let them rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Transfer the chicken haves to a deep baking sheet, roasting pan, or oven-safe skillet, skin side up. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, basting with the released juices every 10 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature registers at 165F, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is cut. You can broil the chicken for 2-4 minutes at the end of the cook time to crisp up the skin if you'd like.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven. Cover loosely with foil and rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.


Storage: Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven, microwave or use in other dishes like salads or casseroles. 


Calories: 140kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 875mg, Potassium: 47mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 0.2g, Vitamin A: 806IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Ashley C.
If you try this recipe, don’t forget to leave a review below or share a photo and tag @spoonfulofflavor on Instagram.

2 comments on “Oven Roasted Half Chicken”

  1. The lemon zest gave this a great flavor. I will make it again.

  2. This is so perfect for my little family of 3! Thanks for the recipe and I’m LOVING these photos too – gorgeous!

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