Barefoot Contessa: A Guide to Ina Garten's 3 Roast Chicken Recipes

Ina Garten has many chicken recipes but very few rival her roast chicken. Considering the popularity of the Barefoot Contessa’s roast chicken it’s no wonder Garten has not one but three versions of the classic dish.

1. Perfect Roast Chicken

First up is Garten’s roast chicken recipe that started it all. Featured in her debut cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, it’s one of Garten’s top-rated recipes on Food Network‘s website. At the time of publication, it has nearly 1,400 reviews and five stars. 

Simple and made with only a handful of ingredients — many of which are pantry staples such as olive oil and salt and pepper — it’s a perfect example of the Barefoot Contessa’s cooking style. 

Ingredients for Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken:

  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil

2. Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken

This roast chicken recipe is what Garten once described on Barefoot Contessa as the “usual Friday night chicken but dressed up for company.” Prepared almost exactly like the Perfect Roast Chicken, this one also involves drying the chicken before seasoning it inside and out. 

The twist is that the bestselling cookbook author adds strips of bacon for more flavor. When the bacon’s done cooking, it’s removed so the chicken can brown. Later, Garten crumbles the bacon to use as a salad topping. She also adds lemon and garlic to the pan that will make a sauce with the juice of the chicken. 

Ingredients for Ina Garten’s Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken: 

  • 1 (5 to 6-pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 4 lemons
  • 3 heads garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

3. Engagement Roast Chicken

Garten’s version of Glamour’s “Engagement” Chicken is yet another simple, roast chicken recipe Barefoot Contessa fans love. She tosses Spanish onions — according to Garten, “they’re sweeter” — and lemon wedges in a bowl with olive oil and salt and pepper. They surround the chicken in the roasting pan and help make “lots of sauce.” 

In 2017, Garten jokingly took responsibility for the engagement of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Harry proposed to Meghan while they were roasting a chicken, the couple told BBC in their first joint interview following their engagement announcement.

“Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan!  I always knew roast chicken had magic powers!! I’m so happy for both of you!,”  Garten wrote on Twitter. 

Ingredients for Ina Garten’s Engagement Roast Chicken: 

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

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