How To Make Engagement Chicken (And Get Him To Propose To You)

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Some women treat the prospect of getting a marriage proposal like it's an ancient rain dance or some witchcraft-requiring type of ritual that must be performed under a Full Moon while holding a lock of hair, dressed in linens from Tibet, bathed in the light of three ceremonial candles while sitting on a stack of self-help books.

Women have suffered through "The Rules," "The Bachelor," countless women's magazine articles, and dream wedding segments on local morning shows. "He's Just Not That Into You" and engagement and wedding Pinterest boards galore.

And then there's the urban legend of the mythical, mystical "Engagement Chicken" recipe said to guarantee that your boyfriend will propose.

Get thee to the kitchen, would-be wives! Because if you follow the Engagement Chicken recipe below, many say a diamond engagement ring is as good as yours.

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What is Engagement Chicken?

It all started with the folks at Glamour Magazine back in 1982.

Fashion editor Kim Bonnell kick-started the Engagement Chicken phenomenon when she returned home from a trip to Italy and gave her assistant, Kathy Suder, a recipe for "the most delicious roast chicken she'd ever tasted."

Suder made the chicken for her boyfriend, who proposed one month later.

"It's a meal your wife would make," Jon Suder, the then-boyfriend, now-husband in question says. "It got me thinking."

Suder's engagement in and of itself may not seem like a compelling basis for the recipe's now nearly 40-year-old reputation as a ring bearer, but there's more.

Legend has it that Suder then "passed the recipe along to three more staffers who, upon cooking it for their partners, also got engaged."

Glamour's editor-in-chief, Cindy Leive, published the recipe in a January 2004 article, formally dubbing it Engagement Chicken.

Upon reading it, Howard Stern's then-girlfriend (spoiler alert: now-wife) Beth Ostrosky Stern decided to give the recipe a try. Sure enough, the once-confirmed bachelor loved the dish so much he not only raved about it on his radio show, but he proposed — albeit not until three years later.

And should you still remain dubious, keep in mind that the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, is said to have been smack in the middle of making the version Ina Garten dubbed "Engagement Roast Chicken" in her Barefoot Contessa cookbook when Prince Harry could simply no longer contain himself and proposed right there in the kitchen.

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

For any of you longing for your boyfriend to be suddenly swept up in mysterious visions of wedding bands, DJs, and guest lists dancing in his head, read on to learn how to make Engagement Chicken.

We can't guarantee you'll get a proposal, but it certainly sounds like it makes for quite a delicious meal.

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Engagement Chicken Recipe

Serves 2 to 3


  • 1 whole roasting chicken (approximately 3-5 lb.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 whole lemons
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fresh herbs for garnish: 4 rosemary sprigs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs, and 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley


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

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

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

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

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

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

7. 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 roasting, if necessary.

8. Let the chicken cool before carving. Serve with juices. Garnish with fresh herbs and remaining lemon.

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Melissa Noble is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to YourTango who writes about love, relationships, and trending news stories.