You’ve heard of chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. You’ve no doubt seen countless iterations of this recipe. So you’re probably wondering why you should try this recipe instead of any of the hundreds of other chicken with 40 cloves of garlic recipes in existence. Perhaps you ought to let those who’ve made this recipe answer that question. Take a look at their comments beneath the recipe. We’re pretty certain they speak volumes. Stuff like “Pure perfection.” “Everyone—kids and adults—loved this dish.” “If you love roasted chicken and sweet, nutty, soft, and sticky roasted garlic, you’ll love this recipe.” “I thought the recipe was going to be labor-intensive, but boy, was I wrong!” Sorta makes you want to try it, doesn’t it?–Renee Schettler Rossi

How to peel garlic without fuss

If the only thing standing between you and making this chicken with 40 cloves of garlic recipe is your dread of peeling the stubborn papery husks from dozens of cloves of garlic, hear us out. All you gotta do is grab a metal bowl, take a head of garlic, and, using your fingers, pry the cloves apart. Drop the individual cloves of garlic in the bowl with their papery husks still attached. Place the lid on the bowl or cover it with another metal bowl. Grab it firmly with both hands and shake, shake, shake like your dinner depends on it. It will be loud. Keep shaking. Vigorously. Shake for at least 15 seconds and, if your biceps can stand it, up to 30 seconds. Now take a peek. Your cloves of garlic will have magically lost their papery husks. (A few cloves may be only partially peeled. If this is the case, shake for a little longer.) You’re welcome.

A roasting pan filled with chicken thighs, cloves of caramelized garlic, and sprigs of fresh thyme.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

5 / 10 votes
Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic ensures the meat remains juicy by using chicken thighs. And our trick for quickly peeling garlic makes it hassle-free. A recipe classic because it’s so damn good. Even kids love it!
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories1114 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 (2 1/2 lbs total) small bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 40 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 6 medium (3/4 lb) red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch (25- to 40-mm) chunks
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs (or substitute rosemary)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • In a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, toss in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat until the butter melts. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
  • Working in batches as needed to avoid crowding, add the chicken to the pan, skin side down, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes per side.
  • Place the chicken, skin side up, in a roasting pan or a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-centimeter) baking dish. Do not wipe the pan clean. Keep the pan with the chicken drippings over medium-high heat.
  • Toss the garlic in the pan and cook, stirring or shaking the pan often, until lightly browned and beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. If you're worried about the garlic scorching, turn down the heat to medium-low. Using a slotted spoon, scatter the garlic evenly over the chicken. Keep the pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the wine to the hot pan, stirring and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid reduces by half, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and return to a simmer. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter has melted, season well with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Carefully pour the sauce all over the chicken and garlic.
  • In a bowl, toss the potatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tuck the potatoes in the baking dish all around the chicken. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the top.
  • Roast until the potatoes are fork-tender and the chicken is cooked through (the chicken juices should run clear and no trace of pink should remain when you slice into it), 35 to 55 minutes, depending on the size of your spuds and chicken. If the chicken is done but the potatoes aren't yet sufficiently tender, simply transfer the chicken to a plate, cover loosely with foil, and return the pan with the potatoes to the oven.
  • If desired, skim the fat from the surface of the pan juices. Transfer the chicken and potatoes and garlic cloves to individual plates or a platter, spooning the pan juices over and around the chicken.


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 1114 kcalCarbohydrates: 64 gProtein: 61 gFat: 67 gSaturated Fat: 19 gMonounsaturated Fat: 29 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 331 mgSodium: 376 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Kate McMillan. Photo © 2014 Erin Kunkel. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

If you love roasted chicken and sweet, nutty, soft, and sticky roasted garlic, you’ll love this recipe. My suggestion: use slightly more than 40 cloves (approximately 3 heads of garlic) so that there’s enough of the caramelized, meltingly tender garlic to go around. Trust me on this one.

I followed the instructions as directed, although I did all of my searing and cooking in a roasting pan large enough to sear all of the chicken in one batch. The same pan ultimately went directly into the oven and was slightly larger than a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. After I seared the chicken, I placed it on a plate, did the same with the garlic, and then after the sauce was prepared, I placed the seared chicken, cooked garlic, and potatoes back into my roasting pan. As a result, I only dirtied one pan, which was nice, but I didn’t have as much gravy as pictured due to using a larger pan. There was still enough to spoon over the chicken and potatoes. The potatoes roasted with that lovely gravy and were so good that I couldn’t stop nibbling on them.

A few quick tips: Make sure you watch your garlic cloves during the 3-minute cooking time, as they brown easily. Just keep tossing them back and forth in the oil to promote even browning.

It took 55 minutes in the oven for the potatoes to reach the tender result that I was looking for.

Some of the smaller cloves of garlic melted right into the sauce, the chicken was moist, and the flavors were outstanding. This dish is an all-around winner that I will definitely make again. I served the chicken with a salad simply dressed with lemon juice, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. The citrusy sweet flavors of the dressing complemented the meal nicely. My husband even squeezed a bit of lemon on his chicken and potatoes, which added a nice pop of flavor to the finished dish. This recipe definitely falls under the category of “comfort food” for me. As soon as I saw the recipe, I just knew I had to make it, and my family really enjoyed it.

Um, I’m making this for the THIRD time in a week. So yes, a TC designation for sure! It’s an easy weeknight dinner but also fancy enough to serve at a dinner party.

The great part is how hands-off it is. It’s on my meal roster from now on. My only comment about this recipe is the potatoes aren’t crisp enough for me when they are cooked like this. The second and third time I made this, I pan-fried my potatoes separately to keep them crisp and it was much more to my liking. To fill in space around the chicken in the baking dish, I roughly chopped 3 small onions and baked those with the chicken (I didn’t pre-sauté them or anything) and it worked out nicely.

I absolutely loved this recipe! Even with a very hectic personal and work schedule, I was still unable to get this recipe wrong. I thought the recipe was going to be labor-intensive, but boy, was I wrong! The hardest part of this recipe was peeling the garlic cloves, which I found rather soothing.

Overall, the meal looked, smelled, and tasted terrific! The garlic was sweet and delicate, the chicken tender and juicy, and the potatoes firm yet creamy. Not only was the meal delicious, but clean up was a breeze! This was largely due to the white wine and chicken broth mixture, which made for minimal scraping of the skillet. After transferring everything to the oven, it took less than 10 minutes to clean up the dishes and the rest of the kitchen.

The timing for the chicken on the stove was accurate, and the garlic gave off the most delicious aroma. I cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch quarters and, due to a lack of space, layered them on top of the chicken. I first added 40 minutes to the oven timer, but both the size and location of the potatoes increased the cook time by 35 minutes. (Next time, I will use a wider baking dish and insert the potatoes before adding the chicken.)

This is an absolutely fantastic recipe full of flavor. Prep time from scratch till it was in the oven was 40 minutes. I got an absolutely gorgeous golden brown color on both side of the chicken by sautéing it in the pan for exactly 6 minutes each side. Once I added the garlic cloves, the sticky brown bits started unsticking themselves. Once I added the wine, the flavors really started to come out.

I added homemade chicken stock that I had in the freezer. I served the dish with creamy spinach. Everyone loved the chicken and potatoes, and it wasn’t as garlicky as one would imagine. Some of us ate the garlic cloves with the potatoes, and it was fabulous. This is a recipe to make again, especially as it’s so easy to double the recipe for a crowd.

You had me at 40 cloves of garlic. Roasted garlic is probably my favorite culinary treat. I usually have a ramekin of roasted garlic in my fridge as a quick add-in for butter, roast chicken, even mashed potatoes. Such an easy thing to make, and boy, does it pack superb flavor! I loved this recipe—tender chicken thighs baked with garlic, potatoes, and thyme in a savory white wine sauce. Yum, yum, yum.

I could also see serving this dish with a few lemon wedges for a bit of fresh citrus taste. This was a fabulous and easy recipe—I know I’m always trying out new chicken recipes, but I will be making this one again and again.

What’s not to like about this recipe? Chicken, potatoes, copious amounts of garlic, and a minimum of pans to clean. It’s perfect for winter.

The chicken took 8 minutes, skin side down, to reach the desired brownness for my taste and 4 minutes on the other side, cooked in 2 batches. I added all the garlic cloves and cooked them for a good 5 minutes on medium-low heat until they were soft and slightly golden. The low temperature meant no chance of burning the garlic. Our results were lightly garlic-scented chicken and potatoes. The roasted garlic cloves were much milder than I expected.

We got 4 dinner servings, as the chicken thighs were pretty small, so we had 2 each. I suspect had they been larger thighs we might have gotten a couple more servings out of the dish.

This chicken with 40 cloves of garlic recipe is a perfect rustic dish to make on a weeknight or for company. Just add a salad and crusty bread, and dinner is served! The chicken skin came out crisp, and so did the red-skinned potatoes.

I browned the chicken in the skillet for about 5 minutes per side, and the garlic only took 1 to 1 1/2 minutes to lightly brown and begin to soften. I quartered the small potatoes into 2-by-1 1/2-inch pieces. The garlic was sweet and fabulous with the chicken and potatoes.

The only change I’d make next time is to double the white wine and broth in the recipe. We would’ve liked more “pan juices” for the finished dish. I’ll definitely make this irresistible dish again!

This is one garlicky dish, but it’s delicious and makes the house smell fantastic. The rosemary and garlic filled the house with the most wonderful aroma! The garlic was very aromatic, but the taste wasn’t overpowering—a creamy addition to the perfectly roasted chicken and potatoes. I served this with roasted carrots with allspice, which was a perfect accompaniment with the chicken and potatoes.

Absolute favorite. The chicken is soft and tender, the skin nice and crisp. The garlic turns silken and nutty. Together with the potatoes and concentrated chicken stock, it’s pure comfort food. And easy peasy to make.

Prep time was 25 minutes. Most of that time was peeling the garlic. You could save some time by using pre-peeled garlic. The chicken skin turned out nice and crisp (we’re suckers for crisp chicken skin). I used homemade roast chicken stock. Great flavor, especially when concentrated a little bit in the oven. I had a medley of yellow, red, and blue potatoes from Trader Joe’s, which looked very pretty. They were about 12 to a pound, so pretty small, and I quartered them lengthwise. They cooked just perfectly—creamy and tender but not falling apart—in 45 minutes. I jumpstarted the cooking process somewhat by putting the baking dish in the oven to heat up (I always do that).

This is one of those recipes that has been around for decades and for some reason I’ve never tried it. Can’t quite figure out why—pretty likely that the idea of peeling 40 cloves of garlic stopped me. But when I saw this I decided that I was finally going to give this classic a go! The chicken thighs were juicy, tender, and full of flavor. The potatoes soaked up all that delicious wine and chicken fat. And all that roasted garlic? Perfect squished on a slice of crusty bread that had been dipped in the pan sauce.

It also helped that I recalled seeing a video on how to quickly peel garlic. Basically, you break up the heads, put them in a metal bowl, cover that bowl with another metal bowl, and shake the hell out of it. What do you know, it worked like a dream! So, with that arduous task behind me, this recipe was such a breeze to pull together that it could easily be classified as a quick weeknight meal—one that would impress guests.

Because my red skinned potatoes were on the large size, I only used 4 to reach the weight in the recipe. Next time around, I’ll probably use a roasting pan instead of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish because it was pretty crowded. I think because the pan was so crowded it took the potatoes a long time to reach the fork-tender stage. Maybe a roasting pan would help the potatoes cook a little faster.

All in all, this is a keeper.

Juicy, tender, and beautifully aromatic chicken with crisp skin—this is a fantastic recipe you’ll hold on to for a long time. I love the idea of adding potatoes as it makes this dish even a more complete meal.

My taster and I agree that the delicious pan juices and the sweet caramel-y garlic are the true gifts in the recipe, and that bread is a must-have. Smear the garlic on the bread and dunk it in the pan juices and your enjoyment will be multiplied many times over.

One pointer: Don’t worry if you have a hard time removing the very thin skin from some of the garlic. It slips right off while you’re sautéing the cloves.

My red skin potatoes were large, so I only used 3 potatoes, cutting each into 8 pieces. They were perfectly cooked in 40 minutes.

This is a great chicken dish. The chicken picks up a lot of flavor from browning and from roasting in the oven with the garlic cloves, thyme, and sauce. The potatoes have a nice hint of garlic.

I had about 3 tablespoons of fat in the pan after I browned the chicken thighs which appeared to be a bit too much to me, and so I drained off about 1 tablespoon of the fat before I browned the garlic and made the sauce. I cut my red potatoes into 2-inch chunks and they were cooked to fork-tender after 40 minutes in the oven.

I looked forward to preparing this dish. The chicken was juicy, tender, and pure perfection. Everyone—kids and adults—loved this dish. I definitely will prepare this recipe more often.

At first glance, it may not seem worth it to peel 40 cloves of garlic for a chicken recipe. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The garlic was mellow and creamy. Taking the time to brown the thighs gave them great flavor and left nice browned bits in the pan for the sauce. Speaking of the sauce, the pan sauce was silken and delicious. It gave the chicken and potatoes great flavor and kept the thighs juicy while baking.

My baking time was 40 minutes for the chicken but some of the potatoes weren’t tender enough. So I pulled the chicken out to prevent overcooking it and put the potatoes back in for 10 minutes. The recipe was quite accurate and easy to read. At first I thought 3/4 pound of potatoes wouldn’t be enough. I made bread and a butternut squash and arugula salad to serve with the chicken and the amount of potatoes turned out to be fine.

This recipe, without the potatoes, is a classic. It’s usually credited to James Beard, cookbook author and educator. Many have done their variations, but it is said that Mr. Beard’s was the first. Adding potatoes was one of those slap-yourself-on-the-side-of-your-head moments, as in, “Why haven’t I been doing that all along?”

The market where I buy my chickens did not have small bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. They were actually large enough that I purchased only 6, and they weighed 3 pounds. I did use 6 potatoes which weighed a little over 1 pound. I cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. They were indeed done when the chicken thighs had finished cooking at the 40-minute mark.

We enjoyed this dish quite a lot the night that I made it, however, it was even better the next day. Much better. I had pulled the skin off the rest of the thighs and placed them in a glass container with the leftover garlic cloves and sauce. The next day, when I pulled the leftover thighs out of the container, there was a very nice layer of gelatinous “gravy” to reheat and eat with the leftover chicken thighs and garlic cloves. I liked smooshing my leftover potatoes into the gravy.

Other than getting those 40 cloves of garlic out of their skins, this recipe is really easy to throw together and yields great flavors.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. My son sent this recipe to me. He koved it, and I can I can’t wait to make it. How have you eaten the cloves of garlic? Would smashing it and using it on crusty French bread similar to roasted garlic work?

    1. The roasted garlic in this recipe is fabulous any way you eat it, Carol. Spreading it on crusty bread is a delicious idea. If you try it, please do let us know how it turns out.

  2. Hi – I have RA, and can’t comfortably use my normal garlic-peeling methods any more, and the shaking method suggested herein is problematic, too. So, looked online and found a technique for using the microwave for 10 – 20 seconds, with or without a damp paper towel, and the cloves slip right out. Since the garlic will be cooked in the recipe anyway, this seems like a hand-saver/arm-saver, as well as a time-saver, although it costs a tiny bit in electricity. I’ll try it and add to this comment, if that’s allowed. I’d love to hear other useful suggestion for peeling the lots of garlic used in this recipe!

    1. Thanks, Lynn. We’d love to hear how that works for you and if anyone else has suggestions.