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.
Jennifer Schwarzkopf/Taste of Home
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.