Make Ahead

Lemon Herb Chicken in Clay Pot

February 24, 2010
8 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

I love clay pot cooking as it creates a very tender, succulent, bird. You soak the clay pot in water over night (or for at least an hour) then roast it, covered for a little over an hour; then uncover it and cook for an additional 20 mins or so to brown the skin. (You could also cut the chicken up, cover it with liquid and ingredients and cook the bird on a lower heat (about 325 degrees) for 2 hours or so and it would be juicy and delicious as well and you would not need to remove the top to crisp the skin.) The result is a juicy aromatic bird. (I used a Romertopf clay pot) —coffeefoodwrite

What You'll Need
  • 1 4-5 pound chicken (preferable organic)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter – softened
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary – chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt + more sea salt for sprinkling on and in bird
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper + more pepper for sprinkling on and in bird
  • 3 large onions – cut in quarters
  • 1 lemon – cut in halves or quarters
  • ½ lemon – for squeezing juice over top
  • ½ cup white wine
  1. Ahead of time or the night before: Place clay pot and lid in enough water to cover and let soak overnight or for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Mix butter, herbs, one teaspoon sea salt and one teaspoon fresh ground pepper in small bowl. Thoroughly combine. Set aside.
  4. Wash and dry bird thoroughly. Very gently separate the skin over the breast from the meat underneath (you may need a sharp paring knife to get this started and then just gently slide your hand underneath to separate). Place one half of butter mixture on each side of breast; spreading as evenly as possible to cover entire breast portion.
  5. Sprinkle cavity and outside of bird generously with salt and pepper. Place a few onions and one lemon cut in half (or fourths) inside bird. Sprinkle rest of onions on top of and around bird. Pour white wine over onions and around bird. Squeeze juice of one half lemon over bird.
  6. Place top on clay pot and roast in oven for one hour. Remove lid and baste bird generously. Roast for about 20 mins. more until skin is golden and bird is cooked but not dry
  7. Serve directly from pot and spoon warm juices over top.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kelly Champion
    Kelly Champion
  • Blork
  • coffeefoodwrite
  • AntoniaJames

9 Reviews

Kelly C. June 11, 2020
I haven't tried this yet but this is the first claypot recipe that puts the pot in a preheated oven. all the recipes I've seen and used soak the pot for 10-15 minutes and put it in a cold oven. Can you do it that way? PS The recipe looks great.
coffeefoodwrite June 11, 2020
Hi Kelly C. Yes I've seen those methods as well. I've always just soaked for an hour (or overnight) and put it in a preheated oven with no problem. I'll have to try the other way as well. I'm sure it would work fine. Let me know how it turns out! :-)
Blork December 15, 2013
I also soak my clay pot for only 20 minutes or so. The instructions that came with it said that was sufficient, and pretty much everything I've read elsewhere agrees.

More importantly, and as others have said, DO NOT PREHEAT THE OVEN. That is an absolute no-no with clay pots. This recipe has been posted here for almost four years now, so I suppose there's no hope of editing it, but if it CAN be edited (to remove the "preheat the oven" instruction), please do so!
coffeefoodwrite April 2, 2014
Just came across this comment --- hmmmm….I’ve been putting my pot in a preheated oven for years with no problem – but good to know…
KRT186 June 24, 2020
Yes, this is absolutely the case. (I’m a licensed cook in California.) If there are any hairline cracks in the clay, either top or bottom, pre-soaking will hydrate them. When placed into a hot oven the wet crack will naturally expand, perhaps very quickly. If so, it will shatter. If placed into a cool oven and gradually heated, everything will expand at the same rate and not shatter.

So if you’ve been using a pre-heated oven all these years, consider yourself lucky that you have a perfect top and bottom. Bu remember: if they’re there you can’t see them.
lauren November 4, 2013
When i do a simple roasted bird, i don't just serve the juiced out of the pot before defatting and straining, then thickening. The process isn't that hard, and it turns out to be the best no fat gravy imaginable. I also puree some of the veggies, if i use, sweet onions, and roasted garlic and some carrots.
lauren November 4, 2013
I have been teaching clay pot cooking for a long time. I have never soaked the pot overnight, I do it for a min of 10 max of 15 mins. I use no butter at all , just a bit of evoo. Take a look at my Turkey Osso Bucco recipe
coffeefoodwrite February 25, 2010
Wow. That's nice to know...I always soak it at least an hour and feel guilty that I don't do it overnight. =) Next time I will soak it for shorter and see how it turns out. Thanks for the tip and the comments!
AntoniaJames February 25, 2010
I love using the clay pot for a chicken, too. My favorite recipe -- the one I use all the time, to date without exception -- is not mine, so I won't be posting it. But I'm so glad to see someone else posting a clay pot chicken recipe! By the way, I don't usually soak my pot more than about 20 minutes or a half an hour, and it works just fine.