Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

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!

A baking dish with chicken thighs topped with garlic cloves, red potatoes, and thyme. A silver spoon is nestled in the dish.

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

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.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
5/5 - 4 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Williams-Sonoma Chicken Night cookbook

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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. Originally published February 15, 2016.

Print RecipeBuy the Williams-Sonoma Chicken Night cookbook

Want it? Click it.

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.


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  1. Utterly delicious and so easy it practically makes itself. A great weeknight meal that is also special! I wish I had more recipes like this.

  2. If you wanted twice as much sauce and doubled the liquid ingredients would you need to also double the garlic?

    1. Kyle, I wouldn’t completely double the garlic. Go by the size of your garlic cloves. Sometimes you end up with really quite large ones, in which case I’d leave thematic 40. Otherwise I’d perhaps nudge it up to maybe 30 or so….

    1. jim, you can most certainly make it a day in advance. In fact, the flavors will be better. But I caution you from eating it at room temperature. This should be served hot.

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