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Want an easy Barefoot Contessa appetizer people will love? Look no further than Ina Garten’s chicken skewers. The celebrity chef’s been serving them at cocktail parties for years. They even became famous at her Barefoot Contessa store. Garten swears by them and every time they’re on the menu they’re a hit. 

Ina Garten’s chicken skewers can be served as an appetizer, lunch, or dinner

Ina Garten smiles posing for photographers wearing a brown shirt and pearl necklace
Ina Garten | Eugene Mim/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

One thing is for sure about Garten’s chicken skewers, they’re versatile. As the Food Network star said in her debut cookbook, 1999’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, she typically makes them as an appetizer but they also double as an entire meal too.

“This is a famous Barefoot Contessa recipe,” Garten began. “I’d hate to have to add up how many millions of pounds of grilled lemon chicken we have made over the years.”

She continued, explaining that at the Barefoot Contessa, her store in East Hampton, New York, she sold in 1996, they often used it as an appetizer. But that’s not all. 

“We also mix it with vegetables and a fresh lemon vinaigrette for lunch or serve whole grilled chicken breasts for a delicious and healthy dinner,” she said. 

How to make Ina Garten’s Grilled Lemon Chicken Skewers with Satay Dip

Now for how to prepare Garten’s chicken skewers. According to her step-by-step instructions courtesy of Food Network, there’s not much to the famed Barefoot Contessa appetizer. 

Only six ingredients are needed to prepare the chicken. All but one are used to make a marinade. Garten whisks together freshly squeezed lemon juice and some of her beloved “good” olive oil from Olio Santo with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. 

Then she pours the mixture over the chicken and lets it sit in the fridge, covered, for anywhere from six hours to overnight. 

When it comes time to cook the chicken Garten heats up a charcoal grill. She grills the chicken for 10 minutes on each side. Once cooled, she slices it diagonally before putting it on the skewers. 

Finally, the satay sauce. Garten cooks olive oil and sesame oil in a pan with spices for approximately 15 minutes. At this point, she adds a vinegar mixture to the pan and lets it cook for another minute before removing it from the heat and letting it cool. 

Barefoot Contessa tips on making the chicken skewers

Ina Garten smiles as she sits in a chair wearing a black button down shirt
Ina Garten | Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Ina Garten’s ‘Easiest Appetizer Ever’

Garten loves serving chicken skewers, or any type of skewers, at a cocktail party. “Skewers are actually great for cocktail parties. Drink in one hand, skewers in the other, you’re set,” she once said on her Food Network show. 

But Garten’s chicken skewers? “People go crazy for them,” she told viewers. “It’s just grilled chicken on skewers and a delicious peanuty satay dip.” 

Best of all, the skewers are among one of many make-ahead Barefoot Contessa dishes. “The dip and the chicken can be made ahead so there’s no stressing at the party,” she said. Additionally, the chicken only gets more and more flavorful with time. “The longer you marinate the chicken, the better,” Garten said in her cookbook.