Million Dollar Chicken: how to tackle a whole chicken and not burn down the house

This is a really simple recipe that yields delicious results. The chicken is definitely worth the million bucks after being double glazed in a creamy lemon glaze and all of the juices get soaked up in the bread that the chicken sits on. I would make this whole chicken just to get the bread. It’s that good. This amazing recipe comes from Food Wishes and it was so good that I didn’t even have to make many any changes to it. The only difference was that I swapped the crème fraiche or sour cream because I didn’t have any. However, if you would like to, you can make your own crème fraiche using this great recipe from the same blog.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Then wash and pat dry the chicken.

Sprinkle salt and pepper in the cavity and the back of the chicken. Squeeze the juice from one lemon into the cavity. Stuff the remaining lemon halves into the cavity as well. Add fresh thyme, garlic, and a bay leaf.

Prepare the heavy roasting pan by drizzling in some olive oil and then place three slices of bread in the center. Drizzle some more olive oil on top of the bread.

Place the chicken on the bread and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Brush the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the outside with salt. Bake the chicken in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. If you notice that the chicken is getting too dark or burned on the top, cover it lightly with foil.

While the chicken is roasting we can make the glaze. Combine the sour cream or crème fraiche with the lemon zest, lemon juice, shallot puree, and Aleppo or chili pepper. Stir to combine and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.

Take the chicken off the bread in order to flip the bread over onto the other side. Then return the chicken to the pan. Don’t be scared if your bread has become very brown or even black. It will still taste amazing. I kinda forgot to flip my bread so only one side got super brown. Whoops. Glaze the chicken with the cream mixture, making sure to coat it generously. Then roast the chicken for ten minutes.

After the ten minuets are up, give the chicken a second coating of glaze and pop it back into the oven for another ten minutes. You can take the remaining glaze and heat it up on a skillet until bubbling. Stir until it the raw shallot is cooked and the glaze has reduced slightly.

Let the chicken cool for ten minutes before cutting it up into portions. Serve the chicken over a slice of the browned bread and drizzle with the thickened glaze we just made.

Million Dollar Chicken

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 1/2 pound whole chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf 
    3 cloves garlic
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 3 thick slices day-old French bread
  • 1 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon grated shallot puree
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo or chili pepper



  1. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Season inside of chicken cavity and the back generously with salt and black pepper. Squeeze lemon halves into cavity and drop squeezed peels inside. Stuff cavity with garlic cloves and fresh thyme; add a bay leaf to cavity.
  3. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into a heavy roasting pan. Place bread slices into pan and press slices lightly into olive oil to help coat bottom of bread. Drizzle 1 more tablespoon olive oil on top of bread slices. Place chicken on top of bread slices and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Brush outside of chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season entire outside with salt.
  4. Bake chicken in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
  5. Mix crème fraiche, grated shallot, and Aleppo pepper together in a small bowl. Stir 2 tablespoons lemon juice and lemon zest into sauce. Refrigerate until needed.
  6. Lift chicken off bread slices using a tongs and flip the bread slices over (they will be very brown). Place chicken back onto the bread slices. Generously brush the outside of the chicken with crème fraiche sauce, putting enough on to drip down onto bread slices.
  7. Return chicken to oven and bake for 10 more minutes to brown the glaze. Repeat, brushing more crème fraiche sauce generously onto the chicken. More is more. Bake 10 more minutes. Remove chicken from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. An instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh, not touching bone, should read 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).
  8. Pour remaining crème fraiche glaze into a small skillet, place over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Stir constantly, cooking until the shallot is cooked and sauce reduces slightly, 1 or 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
  9. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and cut bread pieces in half crosswise. Cut chicken up into 8 serving pieces (drumsticks, thighs, wings, and breasts) and serve with pieces of drippings-soaked toasted bread. Drizzle thickened crème fraiche sauce over chicken and garnish with chopped chive blossoms.


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