Ina Garten’s lemon chicken is “the best roast chicken I’ve ever made.” That’s what we hear time after time from everyone we know who makes this roast chicken from the Barefoot Contessa


Tasting is believing.

Adapted from Ina Garten | Barefoot in Paris | Clarkson Potter, 2004

I’ve made Ina Garten’s lemon chicken no fewer than a dozen times, and each and every guest has raved. It’s also a favorite of The One’s family, especially his niece, Callie. 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’ve always made 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


Ina Garten's Lemon Chicken

Quick Glance


15 M

2 H

Serves 2 to 4

4.9/5 - 14 reviews

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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 (1 oz) unsalted butter, 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



Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).

In a small roasting pan, toss the onion with a little olive oil.

Pat the chicken dry and place it on the onion. Sprinkle the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper and cram the lemons into the cavity. Brush the chicken skin with the melted butter and sprinkle with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken and, if desired, tie the legs together with kitchen string.

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.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high, heat the 2 tablespoons oil until very hot. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the bread, and let it toast, tossing frequently and adding more oil if needed, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the bread with the 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Loosely cover the chicken with foil and let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Grab a platter and place the croutons on it. Carve the chicken and place the pieces on the croutons. Spoon the pan juices over the chicken. Taste and, if desired, sprinkle with salt. Originally published February 14, 2013.

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