closeup of lemon maple roasted chicken

Lemon Maple Roasted Chicken

september 25, 2019

closeup of lemon maple roasted chicken

In summer, the neighborhood fills with the aromas of simple grilled foods. Fall is when the party shifts indoors and the house smells like a cozy restaurant. Here’s a recipe to guarantee you and your family or guests will feel like patrons at a corner cafe where comfort reigns supreme.

Seems like everyone clamors for rotisserie chicken. Most grocers have them on display and picking one up for an easy weeknight dinner makes for a less hectic way to get a hot meal on the table. Roasting your own is not a difficult task ( see my Chicken and Asian Pear Salad for the best and easiest way to make a flavorful bird) and roasting chicken legs is even easier, with the end product being the most delicious part of the chicken bathed in a sauce that tastes like it cooked for hours.

beautiful fresh sage leaves

Fresh sage mellows with roasting to become a warm background note of flavor.

A simple marinade of fresh lemon juice, maple syrup and aromatics creates this lovely sauce. I had a surplus of tender fresh sage—any herb will do, like rosemary, thyme, basil or oregano. Halved peeled shallots become caramelized and soft with roasting; no need to cut the root end, as it cooks down to the edible stage.

ingredients for lemon maple roasted chicken

This chicken dish would be perfect on a bed of creamy starch, like Celery Root Mashed Potatoes, Creamy Herbed Mashed Potatoes or Goat Cheese Polenta. Parmesan Spoonbread Soufflé would also make a great partner. If you’d like to cut down on the carbs, roast some riced cauliflower alongside the chicken for the last 20 minutes (toss with olive oil to coat and some kosher salt – easy and done).

Lemon Maple Roasted Chicken in pan

So with the change of seasons it’s time to create some delicious cooking aromas to tempt your tastebuds. This comforting meal will do just that.

Lemon Maple Roasted Chicken

Mashed potatoes make a nice base for this flavorful roasted chicken with pan juices.

Lemon Maple Roasted Chicken

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes four servings


two lemons
¼ cup pure maple syrup
handful of fresh sage leaves
six large shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 skin-on chicken legs
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
optional garnish : more fresh sage leaves


  1. Remove zest from lemons with zester and set aside in refrigerator for garnish.
  2. Juice lemons and mix with maple syrup and chopped sage leaves in large roasting pan or nonreactive large skillet.
  3. Trim chicken legs of excess fat and place in pan with presentation side down into marinade.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Flip chicken legs after 15 minutes so that presentation side is up and allow to marinate another 15 minutes.
  6. Toss shallot halves (no need to cut off root end as it will soften with roasting and become edible) with olive oil and scatter evenly over chicken legs, tucking some into open spaces between chicken pieces.
  7. Sprinkle all with kosher salt and black pepper from grinder.
  8. Roast for 1 hour and 10  minutes.
  9. Let rest at room temperature about 15 minutes, then serve with garnish of lemon zest and optional sage leaves, spooning any juices over the chicken.
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2 thoughts on “Lemon Maple Roasted Chicken

  1. Joan

    This dish is right up my alley. I love the color you’ve gotten on the chicken. I would like to try this without the maple syrup, using just olive oil and lemon and capers. But I imagine I won’t get that caramelized look. Any thoughts? Perhaps a little honey instead?

    1. Michele Humlan Post author

      Yes, a little sweet gives better caramelization and browning—honey would be a great substitute. Very little olive oil is needed since the chicken skin gives off its own small amount of fat during cooking. Love the idea of capers!


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