Barefoot Contessa's Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken

The Barefoot Contessa knows how to make a roast chicken
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100% would make again
Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken
Photo: Rachel Vanni/Tasting Table

It wouldn’t be an Ina Garten dinner party without a roast chicken. This spatchcocked bird is roasted in a thyme and fennel seed oil over a bed of onions and lemon. A splash of wine while cooking turns the juices into a creamy sauce for the ultimate one-pan meal. You can have your butcher spatchcock the chicken, or if you feel adventurous, check out our slideshow, which walks you through the steps.

Garten recommends garnishing the chicken with minced fresh rosemary before resting. You can also assemble the chicken in advance in the pan then refrigerate to save time day of.

To learn more read, “How to Throw a Dinner Party like Ina Garten.”

  • You need only shears to spatchcock a chicken. Make sure your chicken is patted dry with paper towels first.

  • Starting on one side of the tailbone, begin to cut along the backbone toward the neck.

  • Once one side is cut through, begin cutting on the other side of the backbone.

  • As you get close to the neck, you will have small bones you will need to cut through, so carefully use more pressure to cleanly break them.

  • Remove and discard the backbone, or save for chicken stock.

  • Flip the chicken over and tuck the wings underneath the breasts.

  • Using the palm of your hand, put pressure to break the breast bone, flattening the chicken.

  • You’re all set to start cooking.

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Ina Garten's Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken

Recipe from ‘Cooking for Jeffrey,’ by Ina Garten

Yield: 3 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

⅓ cup good olive oil

1 lemon, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick

1 yellow onion, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick

2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 (4-pound) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied

½ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

Juice of 1 lemon


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

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 degrees.

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.

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