We Tried the Barefoot Contessa’s Quick and Easy Lemon Chicken

If you're not familiar with Ina Garten, here are two things to know: She is a fantastic Food Network cook and adores her husband Jeffrey. Read on to see how you can make the Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Chicken.

Before we dive into the Barefoot Contessa Lemon Chicken, I have to confess—I have made other versions of lemon chicken before and haven’t been a fan. I don’t even know if I’d fall in love with Ina’s “engagement chicken.” I’ve found the chicken too lemony, almost bitter, tasting more of rind than a subtle, bright touch of lemon.

I was a little apprehensive approaching this dish. However, I also trust the Barefoot Contessa, so I was a bit hopeful, as well.

How to Make Barefoot Contessa Lemon Chicken


  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (See the three different ways to zest.)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 1 whole lemon

Step 1: Prep the Herbs and Lemon Zest

Preheat your oven to 400º.

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Be sure to not let the garlic turn brown! Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and a teaspoon of salt. Stir and pour the mixture into a 13×9-in. baking dish.

Step 2: Prep the Chicken

Dry the chicken breasts and place them skin side up on top of the sauce. Brush the skin side with oil (or butter for better browning) and season generously with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon into 8 wedges and tuck them throughout, among the breasts and sauce.

Ina Garten recommends that all cooks know how to make perfect roast chicken. Find more of her best cooking tips here.

Step 3: Bake Until Golden Brown

Bake the chicken breasts for 30-40 minutes, until done and the skin is lightly browned. You can even broil the breasts for a couple of minutes to get that beautiful golden brown color. Once out of the oven, cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and let rest for approximately 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with salt and serve warm with the pan sauce.

ina garten lemon chickenJennifer Schwarzkopf/Taste of Home

The Verdict

It’s tasty! It turns out Barefoot Contessa lemon chicken is a great way to liven up your weeknight dinner menu. You can throw the chicken in the oven and make an accompanying starch and vegetable while they bake. You’ll have a healthy, well-rounded dinner on the table in under an hour.

If you are interested in a leaner protein, feel free to use skinless chicken breasts. (I did, but only because of my husband, Jeffrey’s shopping mixup.) Just know that you won’t get that same beautiful brown color I mentioned above.

Let’s raise a glass to the Barefoot Contessa for sharing with us a nice, bright and quick recipe to jazz up weeknight meals!

Pro Tip: This dish doesn’t taste as great the next day. (It gains that bitter quality I mentioned at the start.) Luckily, it is tasty when fresh, so there’s a good chance there won’t be any leftovers.

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Jennifer Schwarzkopf
Jennifer’s 20 years as a marketing communications executive certainly lend to her skills as a copywriter and content developer, but her culinary arts degree is what ties everything together for her acumen in food writing as a Taste of Home freelancer. Half Chilean, half Irish and all joie de vivre, Jennifer’s creative endeavors include being a culinary director and executive chef, writer, photographer and artist. Her extensive travels and passion for good eats and top-notch wine give her an edge in the food-writing industry, too.
When she’s not working, you can find Jennifer spending time with her friends, family and pups.