One-Pot Wonders

Ina Garten's Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken

July  3, 2021
90 Ratings
Photo by Quentin Bacon
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 3
Author Notes

"I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this! I have the butcher butterfly the chicken so all I do is grind the thyme, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper, mix it with olive oil, and brush it on the chicken. When the lemon slices are roasted and caramelized, you can eat them with the chicken." —Ina Garten

Reprinted with permission from Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Copyright © 2016 by Ina Garten. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Helpful tools for this recipe:
- Staub Enameled Cast Iron Skillet
- Five Two Bamboo Double Sided Cutting Board
- Five Two Essential Kitchen Knives


Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: 25 Skillet Chicken Recipes for When You Want Dinner (but Not Dishes). —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Ina Garten's Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 lemon, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick (see Notes)
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 (4-pound) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Place the thyme, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a mini food processor and process until ground. Pour the olive oil into a small glass measuring cup, stir in the herb mixture, and set aside.
  3. Distribute the lemon slices in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet and distribute the onion and garlic on top. Place the chicken, skin side down, on top of the onion and brush with about half the oil and herb mixture. Turn the chicken skin side up, pat it dry with paper towels (very important!), and brush it all over with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.
  4. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan (not on the chicken!) and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 to 160°F.
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle it with the lemon juice, cover the skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the chicken into quarters or eighths, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot with the pan juices, cooked lemon, and onion.
  6. Notes: Remove the ends of the lemon, cut in half through the stem ends, and slice thinly crosswise. Sometimes I sprinkle the chicken with minced fresh rosemary before allowing it to rest.
  7. Make Ahead: Assemble the chicken in the pan and refrigerate for a few hours before roasting.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Melissa King Waters
    Melissa King Waters
  • Becky Venuti
    Becky Venuti
  • Lora
  • Linda Michaluk
    Linda Michaluk
  • FrugalCat

75 Reviews

Julie F. February 1, 2024
We had this wonderfully delicious and perfectly moist chicken last night for dinner, and since there was more than abundant sauce, I served it on a puddle of pureed potatoes with a salad on the side. There were 3 of us and even though we were all hungry, leftovers abound. Next time (there WILL be a next time) I might try skin-on bone-in parts - not as pretty, but less hassle.
Robin January 31, 2024
Outstanding! Love this recipe, everyone raved, including my picky 16 year old! Thank you!
Melissa K. January 29, 2024
I added Dijon mustard and some whole green olives to the pan. So good and easy week night meal
deborah L. January 29, 2024
Delicious. First timer this eve. I cooked it in our Breville convection oven - 4.2lb chicken, but needed to cut legs off (and reserve) to fit it in 12" cast iron skillet. Had been concerned it would be too much for the oven to brown properly but followed the recipe to the letter and it was just perfect. (Haven't tried the legs yet - cooked them separately and simply without the lemon/onion/garlic bed.)
Kathryn January 28, 2024
Made this for the first time. Prep was easy enough but the taste was overly bitter for me. I probably wouldn't use whole lemons next time.
Becky V. January 28, 2024
Phenomenal!! I made it with chicken thighs and wish I made 2 batches!!! It was so flavorful - we served over cauliflower rice and dipped fresh bread into the sauce… definitely a front-runner in this family!
Lissie January 27, 2024
This is the easiest and most delicious meal. I add sliced potatoes to it sometimes. One of my most favorite dishes!
doc December 17, 2023
This was amazingly good. I would just reduce the salt. The recipe says a 1 tbsp kosher salt, but after tasting it, I think it meant to be something more similar to 1 tsp? Anyway, even when salty, it was still delicious!
[email protected] August 13, 2023
I followed this recipe to a T. It is time to cover it and let it sit. It is white, flaccid and the juice is like water. Nothing like the video/pictures shown. My husband is covering the chicken in butter and will try it under the broiler to try and keep me from being so upset. I could cry!!
cosmiccook August 11, 2023
Love ALL THINGS LEMON!!! I bet the La Boite spice MishMish would be divine on this dish (although very pricey). I wonder what Ida's opinions are on this shop in New York (bet she has oodles of their spices)!
Since I have their Lemon Myrtle & some Lemon oil olive-- I'll add these to the recipe next time. Can't wait for lower temps (currently day #4 in 100+ temps) to make this again. Also love this "pesto" from Saveur--it works on all sorts of veggies and accompanies this dish nicely
Randy August 10, 2023
Very easy to prep and cook, I enjoyed it with a lemon pasta as a side along with asparagus. I will be making this as a go to 45-minute or less meal with leftovers that are still great.
Lora July 3, 2023
I have made this several times and it’s always a hit. Never thought it as too lemony or bitter. Everyone raves and asks me for this recipe. A larger chicken may need a little more in the oven.
Linda M. April 30, 2023
My pet peeve. This isn’t butterflied, it’s spatchcocked. Doesn’t make a difference to those of us who know, but for someone new…
FrugalCat March 1, 2023
I've made this a few times, with leg quarters, just drumsticks, just thighs, and boneless skinless thighs. One of those 187 ml bottles of wine (from the little 4 packs) is perfect for this. I usually put some carrots or potatoes in the pan too.
cosmiccook January 28, 2023
I did this w Chicken thighs--MY OH MY! LOVED the sauce--it emulsified like a dream! Contemplating doing this w roasted whole chicken!
nofitz January 17, 2023
Easy and absolutely delicious!!
Leslye B. January 17, 2023
I used Meyer lemons and the sauce wasn't bitter. I felt covering the chicken after roasting ruined the crispiness of the skin. I loved the seasoning. I made it in my cast iron pan but wondered why one was called for. I would have preferred making it in my air fryer. Will try that next time.
Jo January 27, 2024
Which air fryer?
MiaNYC January 17, 2023
Just made this recipe, and I thought the herb/olive oil mixture was great and the addition of onions in the pan genius. But I didn’t love the lemon. I felt like using all those the slices added a bitterness to the whole dish and were not edible. I loved the addition of lemon juice at the end, though, so I would make it without the slices next time. Also, I didn’t cover the chicken at the end. Just let it rest on the cutting board to keep the skin crispy. I had no issues using my cast iron skillet.
Anny99 January 16, 2023
The chicken was delicious, but the sauce came out very bitter. Any thoughts on that? Could it have been an interaction with the cast iron pan? The lemon pulp did completely disintegrate into the sauce, and the peels had pretty thick pith. Maybe try Meyer lemons next time? Thanks for any thoughts on this!
MiaNYC January 17, 2023
I had the same issue and I think it’s just bitterness from the lemon pith. Next time I plan to omit the lemon (or maybe use segments and zest but not the pith).
cosmiccook January 28, 2023
Its a LOT of lemon--we don't mind the lemon flavor--however Meyers or Preserved lemons will tone down the bitterness-or blanch your lemons a few times in boiling water. You can use the extra water for cooking veggies or stock.
Frau N. January 14, 2023
The breasts were wonderfully juicy but the drumsticks were criminally underdone. We'll have them tomorrow. But will definitely try again because the flavour was really exceptional. Next time I will put the chicken onto a roasting tray to give it more room.

Any thoughts on convection vs. no convection?
Sue January 14, 2023
I’ve made this many times and it’s always come out delicious. Never have the drumsticks been underdone. Maybe try a larger pan to insure the drumsticks have ample room. You’re correct the flavor is so wonderful!