How Ina Garten's Famous 'Engagement Chicken' Got Its Name

Before making a home with their chosen person, some folks like to make sure their potential partner can make a home-cooked meal. Can a simple roasted chicken dish encourage the ultimate marital commitment? That's what a few people who put a ring on it after eating Ina Garten's aptly named "Engagement Chicken" might tell you.

According to Glamour, the urban legend of a simple chicken dish prompting marriage proposals dates back to 1982 when a fashion editor at the magazine shared a recipe with an assistant for a simple roasted chicken dish that garnered a marriage proposal a mere month after the meal. The recipe was passed around to others hoping for a similar outcome, resulting in a surprising amount of nuptials being put on the books.

Ina Garten is one of the most successful celebrity chefs, who built a culinary empire on tried and true recipes and cookbooks that fans adore. PureWow notes that after getting the recipe from an editor at Glamour, Garten tweaked it to create her own version of the dish that amplifies its savory essence with pan-drippings, onions, and garlic. Today's popular "Engagement Chicken" is now mostly associated with the version created by the Barefoot Contessa. 

A simple dish named for impressive results

The old adage says you can reach a person's heart through their stomach. According to HuffPost, it's a phenomenon that over 70 couples who locked it down after eating a simple roasted chicken dish dubbed "Engagement Chicken" will confirm. Named for its ability to convince diners to take a different last name, this now-famous chicken dish is said to help partners with long-term intentions go from the dining table to the aisle in no time.

Although the original recipe was already nicknamed in small circles who had experienced proposal success, Ina Garten's star power and simplified version of the roasted bird made "Engagement Chicken" a go-to for chronic daters looking to commit. Garten's simple chicken roasted with lemons, onions, and garlic upholds the recipe's name, as it was served by Meghan Markle and Emily Blunt before they became engaged to Prince Harry and John Krasinski.

Hopeful interest in this simple, engagement-inducing chicken dish is still going strong. Just as the original recipe gave way to Barefoot Contessa's equally effective version, "Engagement Chicken" seems to have inspired a dish called "marry me chicken" in 2022. Maybe it's old-fashioned, but sometimes being comfortable taking a relationship to the next level involves comfort food.