Alton Brown’s 40 Clove Garlic Chicken Recipe Only Takes 10 Minutes to Prep

Of all the celebrity recipes that pop up when one searches for what to make for dinner, Alton Brown’s are almost always the most reliable. The longtime Food Network stalwart exists in a different lane from the home cooks or restaurant chefs who usually create their recipes. And he’s even a bit different from his fellow food science obsessives.

Brown’s whole approach is about leveraging science to make the home cooking experience easier and tastier all at once. Instead of focusing on fiddly unitaskers or complex techniques, he provides thoughtful tips that make culinary life easier. For the uninitiated, there’s no better place to start than with his deviously low-effort garlic chicken recipe.

Alton Brown’s 40 clove garlic chicken recipe is simple and tastes amazing

The Good Eats host’s lowkey finest hour might be this modest recipe on his official website. It takes about 10 minutes of active preparation in four steps. It has only six ingredients. It’s incredibly delicious, guaranteed to impress family and guests alike.

Start with three to four pounds of broiler-ready chicken. Season with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Coat lightly with olive oil.

Then, in a saute pan, brown both sides of the chicken for about five to seven minutes each. With the skin perfectly crisped, add more oil, some thyme, and the titular 40 cloves of garlic. Bake in a covered pan for an hour and a half.

Then remove the finished chicken from the oven. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Fish out some of those delicious cloves of roasted garlic to spread on bread. That’s dinner — one of the most perfect and simple meals possible.

Brown is the master of deviously simple, delicious recipes

Brown’s 40 clove chicken recipe is one of his best recipes, but the Food Network star has a long track record of simplifying great food for home cooks. What makes his work special is that his tricks often manage a seemingly impossible feat. They are often easier — if a bit counterintuitive, at times — compared to many classic recipes. And they nearly always come out better than that higher-effort recipe ever could be.

Consider this Southern Living list of favorite Brown recipes. A few small tips for roasting turkey in a simple way completely eliminates that papery, dry breast meat that so many American families complain about. His meatloaf recipe actually cuts a couple ingredients and steps and comes out just like you remember it from your favorite diner. His garlic mashed potatoes — you guessed it — remove steps and ingredients and are delightful.

Brown has earned his reputation as the best liaison between food science and home cooks

Sutton Foster and Alton Brown cook on ET's The Chew
Alton Brown and Sutton Foster on ET’s The Chew | Jeff Neira/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

There are so many celebrity chefs that churn out content that professionals and accomplished home cooks alike disdain. Brown rarely is the subject of such ire. His ability to apply the incredible level of research from him and his Good Eats team in an accessible way is unmatched.

And it goes beyond Good Eats itself. He and his wife Elizabeth Ingram spent the pandemic filming their dinner prep. The resultant streaming show, Quarantine Quitchen, showed a different side of Brown. At a time when many found themselves either cooking more, or learning to cook at home in the first place, Brown and Ingram’s hit stream helped people gain confidence in their cooking.

And yes, some of those techniques the couple showed off were a bit complex. After all, they were feeding themselves, rather than going for the Good Eats presentation of communicating complexity in a simple way. If you want to get started with Brown’s culinary approach, there’s no better place to start than his 40 clove roast chicken.

RELATED: Alton Brown Sold His Motorcycle So He Could Spend $20,000 on Something Better