Marcella Hazan's Roast Chicken with Two Lemons ~ A Tribute to Marcella

Hello Friends~
It was with much sadness that we fans of Marcella Hazan learned of her passing on Sunday morning, September 29th. 

I cannot begin to express how I admired Marcella and appreciated how much she shared with us through the years. 

With thoughts of Marcella I wanted to share one of the first recipes of hers that I ever made so many years ago after watching her prepare it on television in 
San Francisco. 

This is a repeat of a post that I published a couple of years ago,
the chicken remains one of my all time favorites.

From the moment I heard of this method of preparing a roast chicken well over 20 years ago,  this has remained one of my family's favorites. It is definitely my personal favorite, and if I could only roast a chicken using one method for the rest of my life ~ this would be it!  It's that good.

If you are fortunate enough to get a chicken with skin entirely intact (no tears, or holes) ~ near the end of roasting time the skin will puff up dramatically and have become crispy while the chicken beneath the skin remains juicy and succulent ~ as this one did. (But by the time I got the camera out it had deflated, no worry though because the chicken is delicious just the same.) Perfectly flavored whether served from the oven, or at room temperature.

It's a classic and simple recipe from one of my favorite cooking teachers and cookbook authors, Marcella Hazan.

One whole chicken, two lemons, salt and a little freshly ground black pepper produce some of the most succulent pieces of chicken you may ever taste.
I love Marcella's recipes, and although some may seem to be quite an undertaking because of the length ~ please don't let that put you off. It simply appears so because Ms. Hazan is such a great teacher that she explains each step and exactly why they are necessary to produce the desired results, which is enormously helpful, especially for a new cook.


The method is simple ~ rinse the chicken well, inside and out. Allow to drain for a few minutes after rinsing, then blot dry with a cloth or paper towels. Remove any visible bits of fat in the cavities of the bird and salt generously, inside and out. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
Roll the lemons between your hands or on a counter to help release the juice. Poke the lemons many times with the tines of a fork or a wood pick.
Place the pricked lemons inside of the cavity of the chicken and secure with a couple of tooth or food picks. I tie the legs together with a bit of twine to help keep the chicken compact and the lemons in place.
Then roast, at first breast down, then turn over to continue roasting until done~ the chicken is self basting, no need to add fat or to baste.


Serve along with the succulent juices ~ and you'll probably taste one of the best roasted chickens you've had in your life.


Sometimes the skin of the chicken breast will stick to the pan during the first part of baking (as the chicken is roasting breast-side-down.)

To prevent this~  

I cut a small piece of parchment baking paper, brush with olive oil or butter and place it on the roasting pan beneath the chicken breast where it makes contact with the pan.  When it is time to turn the bird over to continue baking (when breast side is UP) just remove the parchment paper. Yay! No stick, and NO torn chicken skin.

Forever grateful to Marcella Hazan for all she has shared! I have several of her books, which I value highly ~ here is the first I ever purchased and I recommend it. 


You probably noticed I roasted the chicken in one of my favorite cast iron skillets.  Not fancy at all, but of all the roasting pans I have... stainless, porcelain, Le Creuset or Staub ~ I reach for my Lodge cast iron skillet almost every time for small roasted meats like this - just as my parents and grandparents did before me. It's just large enough to add a few potatoes and/or carrots around the meat while roasting. 

Readily available almost everywhere ( has a good selection) 
Lodge Logic-- comes already pre-seasoned.  Just hand wash it and it is ready to use.  I love my collection of great quality cookware ~ but I would never part with any of my black cast iron ... they heat evenly and are indestructible workhorse pieces in my kitchen.

The actual recipe:

I haven't asked for permission to share the exact recipe, but you can find it HERE on the Internet.  If you try it, I hope it becomes one of your favorites, too.

Thank you for stopping by today ~ and I would love it if you would leave me your thoughts or any comments, I cherish each one. 

~ Rest in heavenly peace, dear Marcella. ~  


  1. Mari, what a wonderful sounding (and wonderful looking) roastchicken recipe and what a sweet tribute. If you say it's your favorite Mari, I know it has to be amazing!

  2. This has been my favorite too...i still have a faded, brown clipping from the SF Chronicle from 1979 or 1980. Your chicken looks gorgeous.
    Marcella will be greatly missed....her memory will live on in my kitchen always. May she Rest in Peace...

  3. I love all the details and tips. I am always looking for a way to improve the depth of flavor. Thanks for the parchment tip. And as for Marcella, what a great legacy she has left.

  4. This has been a favorite of ours also. Marcella definitely made the culinary world a better place and will be greatly missed. Mari, you could not have made her chicken dish look any nicer! xo

  5. You and Linda share so many food memories..
    This is a lovely tribute Mary:)and you figured out the Pin!!

  6. The first thing I thought of when I heard the sad news was recreating her tomato sauce. Both of thee dishes are so simple and reflect on the simplicity and true flavours when we think of Italian cooking.

  7. What a lovely lady Marcella was.
    And the roasted chicken is such a comforting tribute.

  8. What a gorgeous roast chicken! I love that the bird is flipped...I will definitely add this to our menu soon. I need to crack open one of Marcella's books, too, and cook up something delicious in her memory. She truly had a gift which she shared with us all...and she will be missed.

  9. Hi Mari, I was anxious to find out if I've seen your blog before...after seeing your comment on Lizzy's and Chris' blog. Lizzy is a longtime blogger friend of mine, and also my daughter Lora's (Cake Duchess)

    At any rate, your tribute to Marcella Hazan was so beautiful, I got 'misty eye' reading and seeing the gorgeous roasted chicken from her. I also have the book you are featuring which I already gave to Lora, and now, I'm about to give her the Marcella's Italian Kitchen Book, I love Marcella, and will miss her tremendously. Lora is in touch with the daughter, and son via/facebook, and she also got the son's cookbook as a gift from him!
    Long history here!

    I don't mean to be babbling on on your comment section, but I do love your blog...following it now, and will stay in touch! xo
    elisbeth@food and thrift

  10. Hi Chris, thank you!
    Linda, I know how much you admire and respect all that Marcella has shared through the years, and what great gifts she has left us through her recipes.
    Madonna, I was thinking of you when I was reposting this one ~ we both love lemons!
    Debbie, I'm so happy you like this recipe too ~ it produces such juicy and flavorful dish.
    Hi Monique, oy, I still have some tweaking to do with the pin button ~ since I messed up my blog template a while back regular 'fixes' don't seem to work. :p
    Hello Val ~ I love her simple tomato sauce too, I haven't made it in a long time.
    Colette, thank you.
    Hi Liz, oh I agree ~ I'm so thankful that she shared so much knowledge with all of us, and am grateful for her books.
    Hello Elisabeth, what a nice comment! It's so nice to meet you, I would love to come visit you and your daughter's blogs. :)

    Thank you again everyone for taking the time to comment! xo


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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