Very Lemony Chicken ~ Rao's Famous


If you like lemon, I believe you will love this recipe as much as I do.


The recipe is from "Rao's Cookbook; Over 100 years of Italian Home Cooking". Although I've had this cookbook for a few years, I admit I haven't cooked from it much. However, this is one of the recipes I have made a number of times.

If you are not familiar with Rao's original restaurant in New York City, and now also in Las Vegas, you may like to visit their website:


Don't let the long broiling time put you off; I move the oven rack down so the chicken is about 5 or 6-inches from the broiler element to allow for longer, slower broiling without burning. That deep brown skin is what adds another level of flavor to this dish.

Rao's recipe calls for chicken halves, but I usually just choose breast halves and thighs when I make this.

The procedure is simple for such flavorful results; first you broil the chicken slowly, then cut the chicken into smaller pieces and toss in the lemon sauce then broil for a few more minutes while you reduce the remaining lemon sauce a bit, to be served at the table.

With a fresh harvest of Meyer Lemons from my potted trees, I knew just how to use a number of them. I used half Meyer and half tart lemons for a bit of a change.

Also, I reduced the recipe by half, so I only needed a cup of lemon juice, not two cups. I use dried oregano as the recipe calls for, and I always add some fresh oregano from the herb garden as well, it intensifies the scent of the dish very nicely.


Rao's Famous Lemon Chicken
Pollo al Limone

Two 2 and 1/2 - 3 lb. broiling chickens, halved
1/4 C. chopped Italian parsley
Lemon Sauce:
2 C. fresh lemon juice
1 C. olive oil
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 and 1/2 t. minced garlic
1/2 t. dried oregano
salt and pepper (to taste)


To attain maximum heat, preheat broiler for at least 15 minutes before using.

Broil chicken halves, turning once, for about 30 minutes or until skin is golden-brown and juices run clear when bird is pierced with a fork.

Remove chicken from broiler, leaving broiler on.

Using a very sharp knife, cut each half into about 6 pieces (leg, thigh, wing, 3 small breast pieces).
Place chicken on a baking sheet with sides, of a size that can fit into the broiler.

Pour Lemon Sauce over the chicken and toss to coat well.
If necessary, divide sauce in half and do this in two batches.

Return to broiler and broil for 3 minutes.
Turn each piece and broil for an additional minute.
Remove from broiler and portion each chicken onto each of 6 warm serving plates.

In the meantime, pour sauce into a heavy saucepan.
Stir in parsley and place over high heat for 1 minute.
Pour an equal amount of sauce over each chicken and serve with lots of crusty bread to absorb the sauce.


Whisk together juice, oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Whisk or shake vigorously before using.


This time I served it family-style rather than plating individually; I served it with stir-fried Broccoli, garlic and pinenuts and some cous cous.

Thank you Carol for reminding me about making this again!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As I promised, I'll post a little about the dishes that I us in the photos as some readers have asked me to do.

These are from Varages; the others with the same pattern that I featured the other day have green rims; as you can see these are blue and white.


I don't have complete place settings; just the dinner and salad/dessert plates, but these mix easily with my other blue and whites.

And the large serving bowl as shown in the photos; I get a lot of use out of this size.

I understand this pattern is discontinued now, I had never seen them except on the secondary market.

I found these a few years ago, brand new, on ebay. I suspect they originally were from TJMaxx, Ross, or Homegoods.


  1. Mary..I love this recipe and have not made it for quite a while. This works well on the grill as well.
    As always...beautiful pics!
    L xoxo

  2. The chicken does look good but I am so excited to be able to take a closer "peek" at all of your wonderful dishes.

  3. Hello Mari, I am also a big Rao's lemon chicken fan! Your photos are incredibly beautiful. I was away for a few days and am reading to catch up and your photos and your cooking are just breathtaking. Thank you for this wonderful blog.


  4. I saw this on that other site as well - definitely on my list of things to make - it looks delicious!

  5. I love lemon and chicken is my favorite dinner! Can't wait to make it. Thanks for the recipe and inspiration.

  6. Wow Mari, this looks so delish! Not to mention simple, my favorite kind of dish! Great photo, wish I had it for dinner tonight!

  7. wonderful! this dish is something i'd love to eat in the spring or summer. maybe it's the idea of lemon? i've gotta do this and pretend it's warm out!

  8. Looks fantastic, Mari! I make that chicken so much, the book just falls open to the page, LOL!

    I love the dishes! Blue and whites, my favorites!

  9. another wonderful post~ i wanted to make this last night, but got lazy... i juiced my myers even and called it a day! love seeing the dishes too, as always, a beautiful place to visit.

  10. I love citrus fruits.. I am sure I will like this!!

  11. Did you read my mind? I just printed Carol's recipe from the Gardenbuddies site about an hour ago. "Broil twice?" ... yeah, that could be a deal breaker with me, lol. But now I have a list of you waxing poetic over this lush lemony treat!

    woodie, it's so good to "see" you in public, lol. The internet is such a friggin' strange place, lol.

  12. Hi Woodie and Cindy!
    The chicken looks delicious...I should give it a try..when I have the fire dept no. handy. I am glad you can do it with the breasts and it stays moist!

  13. I am drooling over this! It looks delicious.

  14. I love the Olive Penguins. May I share them on my facebook along with a link to your site.? They are just so adorable!

  15. Certainly Rebecca ~ Thank you for asking! I'm glad you like them. :)


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

A Sampling of my food . . .


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