Zest Up A Full Chicken With Lemon Compound Butter

You don't need to be some kind of culinary maverick to know that lemon and chicken are great together. The almost blank slate that is chicken provides lemon with the perfect canvas to express itself, particularly if the chicken is cooked just right so that it's nice and juicy. Instead of roasting your chicken with lemons inside or around the bird, try stuffing or basting it with a compound butter.

Compound butter, basically butter mixed together with other ingredients either by hand or by mixer, adds all the delicious flavor of whatever you've mixed it with while infusing a beautifully moist texture. When it comes to chicken, stuffing the cavity of a whole bird with a generous dollop of lemon compound butter really zests up your protein. It also means you can utilize the rest of the lemon in other ways as you'll normally only be using the zest to make your butter.

Using compound butter as a stuffing is not your only option, either. If you prefer, you can liberally coat the chicken in your compound butter before cooking, then return to the oven intermittently to baste the chicken with the butter. As the chicken cooks, the butter will melt over the top of the bird, leaving a buttery, lemony crispy skin that will delight the palate.

Mix up your compound butter to elevate chicken

Of course, lemon doesn't have to be your only ingredient, nor does your chicken have to be whole. Because compound butter is so simple to make and because butter is such a great foundation by itself, you can combine it with just about anything that works well with chicken. Adding rosemary and thyme to your lemon compound butter makes for a great twist on a lemon-herb chicken quarters recipe. Alternatively, using garlic and honey in your butter could coat some delicious honey garlic chicken wings.

Chicken and robust spices go hand in hand. If you want to boost your chicken with a warm kick (as well as a pop of color) try adding smoked paprika to your butter. For a bit more heat, mix in some chili for some smoky peri peri chicken.

There are many amazing flavored butters you can make at home, so the possibilities are endless. That's particularly true when you have something as easy to work with as chicken. Experimenting with a Thai red curry butter or a jalapeno lime butter for spice or a lavender and honey butter for sweetness can truly impress your guests, your family, or yourself.