Homemade lechon manok! Juicy, aromatic, and flavorful roasted chicken that is truly Filipino. The best thing about it? It’s homemade! No charcoal or rotisserie needed. That means you can easily make this whenever. You just need your good old trusty oven.
Lechon Manok Key Ingredients
When making a true Filipino roasted chicken, you need to have are lemongrass (tanglad), garlic and shallots (sibuyas tagalog). I would have to say that there is no ideal substitute for the three.
I have tried using yellow or red onion a few times in place of shallots, but much to my surprise the outcome did not have the flavor and smell I was familiar with and looking for. Shallots are sweeter, richer yet more potent compared to onions. They do belong to the same family, allium, but nothing compares to the taste and aroma that it brings to the chicken.
Classic Filipino Marinade
As of this writing, I have already made three versions of this recipe. The first two versions had ginger in it. Both were good but I found ginger to be overpowering that I could no longer smell or taste the other spices. It sort of made the chicken taste like chicken tinola, in my opinion. So in this recent version, I decided to omit it entirely, both from the marinade and the stuffing.
The result was delicious lemony, sweet and garlicky Lechon Manok.
Other great additions to this recipe are pineapple juice and fish sauce. I was only using calamansi juice before but pineapple juice is a great extender especially if calamansi is not in season.
And why have I not thought of adding fish sauce before! I don’t know why but it did wonders!
Marinating the chicken for two days was a lucky accident. The meat turned out juicier and flavorful. If you have the space in the fridge and of course the time, I recommend 48 hours of marination. Otherwise, one day is fine. Remember to turn the bag a few times so that all parts of the meat absorb the marinade.
Do you smell Christmas already? This will put you in the mood most definitely. Do let me know if this makes it to your Noche Buena table.
Filipino main dishes for special occasions
- Embutido with Cheese
- Pork Humba
- Beef Caldereta
- Pork belly Sisig
- Garlic Butter Crab
- Oven-Fried Crispy Lechon Kawali
- Beef Kare Kare
- Pork Belly Lechon
- Lumpia (Filipino Fried Spring Rolls)
- Pork Afritada
Filipino desserts for special occasions
- Butter Puto with Cheese
- Sweet and Creamy Fruit Salad (Filipino Style)
- Puto Flan (Leche Flan Puto)
- Turon with Dulce De Leche
- Whole Eggs Leche Flan
- Filipino Cassava Cake
- Kutsinta made without Lye Water
- Maja Blanca
- Bibingka Malagkit
- Buko Pandan
Watch the video on how to make homemade Lechon Manok
Lechon Manok-Filipino Roasted Chicken
- 1.2 kg to 1.5 whole chicken cleaned and excess fat removed
- 5 bulbs shallots peeled
- 2 whole garlic cloves smashed, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 stalks lemongrass cut and bruised, see note 1
Day of roasting
- 1 tablespoon oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 stalks lemongrass cut and bruised
- 5 bulbs shallots peeled
- Prepare the spices for the marinade and stuffing first. Remaining onion and lemongrass will be used on the actual day of roasting.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients of the marinade. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- In another bowl, combine onion, and garlic with salt and pepper for the stuffing. Bruised and cut the lemongrass to bring out the aroma.
- Place chicken in a tray. Season inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Use a spoon to loosen skin from chicken (see video). Insert half of the pressed garlic cloves under the loosened chicken skin. Stuff the bruised lemongrass and seasoned shallots and garlic inside the chicken.
- Tie drumstick ends tightly with a string. Place chicken in a resealable bag and pour the marinade over. Massage chicken all over. Refrigerate breast side down (initially) for a minimum of 24 hours to 48 hours max. Turn two to three times.
- Take chicken out of the fridge 30 mins before roasting. Pre-heat oven to 200c/400f.
- Place the remaining shallots and lemongrass in a roasting pan. Remove chicken from the marinade and place the chicken on top. Reserve the marinade for basting. Drizzle chicken with oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper.
- Roast chicken for 10 minutes, then adjust the tempreture down to 180c/350f. Roast for 50 minutes. Take out the chicken from the oven after 50 minutes then baste with the marinade and juices from the pan. Roast for another 20 to 30 minutes (see note 3).
- When chicken is cooked, transfer to a board and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the pan juices. Enjoy!
- To prepare the lemongrass, remove the outer leaves and cut-off the lower bulb. Bruise the stalks using the back of a knife.
- Calamansi juice – can be substituted with lemon juice or lime juice.
- To test the doneness of the chicken, slice the skin between the leg and the breast and peak at the juices. If they run clear, then it is likely done. The meat should also feel firm rather than jiggly or rubbery. Roast a bit longer if the chicken looks undone.
- Note: Dark patches may appear on the chicken because of the sugar in the marinade.