Ina Garten’s lemon chicken is “the best roast chicken I’ve ever made.” That’s what we’re hearing time after time from everyone who makes this roast chicken from the Barefoot Contessa herself. Tasting is believing.
I’ve made Ina Garten’s lemon chicken no less than a dozen times, and each and every guest has raved. It’s also a favorite of The One’s family, especially of his niece, Callie. And I have a special relationship with the lemony and schmaltzy croutons in this recipe that soak up all the juices from the hen. In fact, I always make extra croutons, just for me, ever since I had to practically tackle others at the table for the last few croutons on the platter. (My solution? Stash some croutons in the kitchen, far from the prying eyes of assertive guests. How easy is that?!)–David Leite
☞ READ DAVID’S ARTICLE: SOMEONE’S IN THE KITCHEN WITH INA
Ina Garten's Lemon Chicken
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 2 H
- Serves 2 to 4
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
- 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the onions
- One (4- to 5-pound) roasting chicken
- 2 small lemons, quartered
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 oz), melted (or, if keeping kosher, substitute chicken fat or margarine)
- 6 cups bread cubes, each 3/4 inch (18 mm) thick, from a baguette, boule, or other artisanal loaf
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).
- 2. Toss the onion with a little olive oil in a small roasting pan.
- 3. Remove the giblets from the chicken and discard or reserve for another use. Rinse the chicken inside and out, pat the chicken dry, and place it on the onions in the pan. Sprinkle the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper to taste and cram the lemons into the cavity. Brush the chicken skin with the melted butter and sprinkle with generous amounts of salt and pepper to taste. Tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken and, if desired, tie the legs together with kitchen string.
- 4. Roast the chicken for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until the juices run clear when you make a slit between the leg and the thigh with the tip of a sharp knife. Loosely cover the chicken with foil and let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- 5. Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high until very hot. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the bread, and cook, tossing frequently and adding more oil if needed, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle the bread with the 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- 6. Place the croutons on a platter. Carve the chicken and place the pieces on the croutons. Spoon the pan juices over the chicken. Taste and, if desired, sprinkle with salt. Serve warm. Originally published February 14, 2013.
Recipe Testers Reviews
This is the best roast chicken I’ve ever made. I’ve tried probably more than 100 roast chicken recipes in my life. They never meet my expectations. This was the easiest, most gorgeous, and most delicious chicken I’ve ever made. It brought tears to my husband’s eyes and I was strutting around the house like I’d just won a pageant. Simply amazing.
The only thing I changed was to add some chicken stock to the pan and set it over a flame to reduce. After straining everything at the bottom of the pan, you’re left with a rich, dark, and delicious pan sauce. I’m tearing up just writing about it. Thank you. I really, really want to hug you!
"Mom, you are awesome!" is a quote I love to hear. Coming home to Ina Garten's lemon chicken for dinner produces just that reaction in my 2 teenage boys, who play soccer after school, and my husband, who works long days, often without a break for lunch.
Being out of the house before dinner for is the norm for me, so dinners that need to bake for more than an hour are impossible. I decided to try to produce the same great chicken using the slow cooker. I added another onion and 2 more small lemons, and I cut these in half and placed them on the bottom of my 7-quart slow cooker. I followed Ina's instructions from there, using salt and pepper and placing the lemons in the chicken cavity and then brushing the skin with butter and seasoning it with more salt and pepper.
I cooked the chicken on high for 2 hours and low for 3 1/2 hours. When I got home, I could tell the chicken was done and juicy. Copying a technique from Ellie Krieger's Broiled Buffalo Wings from this site, I then put the chicken under the broiler to blister and crisp the skin for more of that roasted texture and appearance. It turned out perfect, with raves reviews from all! I will definitely do this recipe this way again.
I was first served this dish at the home of a well-known website publisher. :-). I assumed it was so good because he made it, but when I invited my family over for Sunday dinner, I decided to try it.
I was serving 5 meat-eating adults and a couple small kids, so I cooked two 3 1/2-pound free-range natural chickens, side by side, in a large roasting pan. I used a loaf of durum wheat bread from Seven Stars Bakery in Providence for the croutons. The recipe couldn't have been easier and the results couldn't have been more spectacular. My siblings were ripping the meat off the carcass at the dinner table. They raved madly about it for hours—and even several bottles of wine later. Thank you, Ina!