Yes, 'Engagement Chicken' Is A REAL Thing (And Here's How You Make One)

Photo: WeHeartIt
engagement chicken

Bake chicken, get engaged. Makes sense to us.

We swear to God. Some women treat a marriage proposal like it's an ancient rain dance or some witchcraft-type of ritual requiring a full moon, a lock of hair, linens from Tibet, three lit candles and a stack of self-help books. 

We've suffered through The Rules. The Bachelor. Countless lady magazine articles. Countless dream wedding segments on local morning shows. He's Just Not That Into You. But now they're bringing chicken into this? And lemons? Why?!

Get thee to the kitchen! Engagement Chicken is on the menu tonight, and if you follow this recipe, some are saying that diamond ring is good as yours, my friend.


Glamour was the first to jump on the Engagement Chicken phenomenon back in 1982 when, according to their website, then-staffer Kim Bonnell gave the recipe to her assistant Kathy Suder. Kathy made the chicken and fed it to her boyfriend and, yeah, yeah, you know what happened next. 

"It's a meal your wife would make," Jon Suder said. "It got me thinking." Jon asked Kathy to marry him within a month. Howard Stern's wife Beth Ostrosky supposedly cooked the meal and snagged him afterward, too.

It's a pre-pre-pre-feminist wet dream. Tighten that apron, keep your mouth shut, cook a nice meal, and sometime after he digests, "ring shopping" will magically appear on his to-do list.

(Serving the same chicken at your reception might be overkill, but, let's be honest, there are MUCH worse things you could do at a wedding.)

For all of you wanting your boyfriend to have mysterious visions of wedding bands dancing in his head, here's the recipe:


Serves 2 to 3

    * 1 whole chicken (approx. 3 lb.)
    * 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
    * Kosher or sea salt
    * Ground black pepper
    * 2 lemons, plus 1 for garnish
    * Fresh herbs for garnish

Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 400°F.

Remove giblets, wash chicken inside and out with cold water, then let it drain, cavity down, in a colander until it reaches room temperature (about 15 minutes).

Pat dry with paper towels. Pour lemon juice all over the chicken (inside and outside). Season with salt and pepper.

Prick two whole lemons three times with a fork and place deep inside the cavity. (Tip: If lemons are hard, roll on countertop with your palm to get juices flowing.)

Place bird breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan, lower heat to 350°F and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and turn it breast-side up (use wooden spoons!); return it to oven for 35 minutes more.

Test for doneness — a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh should read 180°F, or juices should run clear when chicken is pricked with a fork.

Continue baking if necessary. Let chicken cool for a few minutes before carving. Serve with juices. Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon.