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chicken quarter leg with asparagus and potatoes on plate
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5 from 11 votes

Simple Roast Chicken and Potatoes

The ultimate in Friday night or Sunday dinner comfort food - roast chicken and potatoes. The chicken is moist and flavorful, but it's the potatoes that are outstanding. They absorb the juices from the chicken, lemon, onion and garlic - and taste sublime.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
resting time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 4 (or 3 if small chicken)
Author: Cheryl


  • 1 spatchcock (flattened) chicken, Note 1 (about 3-4 lbs/1.36-1.8kg)
  • 1/2 medium to large onion, peeled, sliced, about 1 cup/52g (or 1/2 cup/50g chopped green onions)
  • 1 1/4 pounds (0.6kg) potatoes, cut into wedges, Note 2 3/4-1 inch thick (2-2.5cm)
  • 1 lemon, zested (you need lemon slices and zest)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) water


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon EACH, garlic powder, dried thyme and kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Brine (optional)

  • 4 cups cool water; 3 tablespoons kosher salt; 1 tablespoon sugar; 5 peppercorns; 1 garlic clove; and 1 teaspoon of dried herbs of your choice (simpler version: use just the water and salt)


  • HEAT OVEN to 425F/218C. Spray skillet or roasting pan with oil.
  • PREPARE CHICKEN AND POTATOES: In a small bowl, mix all seasoning ingredients. Season with 3/4 of mixture on top of the chicken and under the skin (gently separate skin from meat). Place chicken, skin side up, in center of skillet (or roasting pan). Sprinkle lemon zest over chicken.
    Place potatoes around the chicken and tuck in the onions and garlic. Use clean hands to toss with remaining seasoning mixture. Tuck slices of lemon among vegetables. Add water to bottom of pan.
  • ROAST: Roast chicken in oven for 35-45 minutes, depending on size, or until instant meat thermometer reads 155F-160F/71C (it will rise to 165F/73.8C with resting). Remove chicken from oven, transfer to plate and loosely cover with foil to keep warm. Let chicken rest for 15-20 minutes to keep juices in chicken.
  • FINISH POTATOES: While chicken is resting, toss potatoes gently with pan juices, sprinkle with a 1/2 teaspoon salt if needed, then place skillet of potatoes back into oven for 15 minutes to brown and crisp up further (sometimes I crank up the oven temperature to 450F/232C). If desired, make a quick gravy, Note 4.
  • SLICE AND SERVE: Cut chicken into quarters or eighths. Serve with potatoes (remove lemon slices) and optional gravy if you like. Garnish with fresh thyme or fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.


  1. How to spatchcock a chicken: Cut along both sides of the backbone. Remove it. Then turn over the chicken and press down firmly on the breast to flatten it. Here is a video on how to spatchcock a chicken.
  2. Potatoes: Use Yukon gold potatoes, red potatoes, cut into wedges. You can also use new potatoes cut in half or quarters depending on size.  
  3. To Brine Chicken (optional): Put all brine ingredients (or just salt, sugar and water) in a ziploc sealed bag or container. Mix well to dissolve. Submerge chicken fully in liquid. Let brine in fridge for 2-5 hours in fridge. Then rinse and pat chicken dry. Bring chicken to room temperature for more even cooking. 
  4. How to make an easy gravy: I like to use full strength broth (like Campbell's) which means you add your own water. This way I control the depth of flavor. Low salt broth is fine. If you are using homemade broth or ready-to-use broth in a box, omit the water in recipe and add an extra 1/2 cup of broth. You can also substitute broth for the sherry/wine. Instructions: Put 2-3 tablespoons of oil into a small saucepan. Heat to medium high. Add 2 tbsp chopped green onions and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in 3 tbsp flour, reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes. (It should be a loose paste. If too dry, add a bit more oil). Add sherry (optional) and cook another 2 minutes, stirring. Add 2 cups broth (or combination broth/water) and whisk until smooth. Add 1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbsp fresh) and salt and black pepper to taste. Tip: If you like your gravy darker, add a teaspoon of light soy sauce.
  5. Seasoning variations
    • Use whatever seasoning blend you like best.
    • Try Moroccan flavors with curry powder, cumin and cinnamon for example. Or Italian seasonings if you like.
    • If you don't like lemon, feel free to skip it. 
    • Garnish with sprigs of thyme or fresh rosemary for a special occasion. 
  6. Make Ahead
    • The chicken and potatoes can be prepared several hours ahead and roasted when you need them. 
    • Keep leftovers in the fridge up to 3-4 days.
    • To rewarm, leave chicken on at room temperature for 30 minutes if possible. Then add a tablespoon or so or water or broth to the dish and either:
      • Microwave: Rewarm the chicken in the microwave, covered, for 2-3 minutes on high (or more if needed).
      • Oven: Rewarm in a 350F/176C oven, well covered with foil until heated through, about 20 minutes. 
    • The chicken will not have a crispy skin, but should still be moist. 
    • Potatoes can be reheated separately, uncovered, in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until heated through.
Nutrition values include chicken, potatoes and onions, but do not include brining the chicken before roasting. Brining will not add calories, but it will increase the sodium value. 
Calories: 649kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 743mg | Potassium: 1099mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 776IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3mg