Sumac and lemon roast chicken

Sumac is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes. The berries from the sumac bush are dried and ground into a deep red powder that can be used for anything from dry rubs to simply sprinkled on eggs. The tart flavour pairs well with the sweet lemons, giving this roast chicken recipe immense flavour. 

Sumac and lemon roast chicken


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 tbsp sumac
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lemon, finely sliced
  • 1 bulb garlic, cut in half horizontally


  1. Combine the lemon zest with the sumac.
  2. Using your finger, gently separate the skin from the breast and legs, making sure you don’t puncture the skin.
  3. Rub the spice mix between the skin and the meat.
  4. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff the cavity with two cloves garlic, two rosemary sprigs, two thyme and two slices of lemon.
  6. Tie the legs tightly together with butcher’s twine.
  7. Cut chop the remaining rosemary and thyme together with one clove of garlic and combine with olive oil.
  8. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and brush the olive oil mixture all over the chicken.
  9. Put the remaining lemon and rosemary into the roasting dish, with the bulb of garlic, sliced horizontally.
  10. Roast in the oven for 1 hour till the juices run clear.
  11. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 mins, to allow re-distribution of the juices, before serving.