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40 Clove Garlic Chicken

The best 40 clove garlic chicken ever. If your last name is Cullen, you may wanna have a seat.

Nah, I’m kidding.

Although this dish has exactly 40 cloves of garlic in it, it’s surprisingly mild. Like, you’ll be shocked at how subtle it turns out. It’s effing DELICIOUS, is all you need to know. I served this over some creamy parmesan and garlic polenta, but you can serve it over mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, anything you’d like. Chicken thighs are a staple in this household. We buy them in large “Freeze-to-Fridge” packs from Costco for the low. That way we always have them on hand. They’re my favorite part of the bird aside from the wing. Hell, I just love dark meat…heh. Thighs are so juicy and flavorful, and because they’re a bit fattier than white meat, they don’t dry out when cooked for extended periods of time. That’s perfect for this recipe because we damn sure don’t want any dried out rubbery chicken. Oh, no ma’am.


While this dish was cooking away, my darling boyfriend just stood nearby cussing out of sheer frustration (he’s always cussing when I cook lol). Then I presented him his plate, and once again he fell in love with me all over again. This recipe feeds a small handful of people, or you could absolutely keep the leftovers for yourself and nibble on them for the next day or two. The skin on the chicken stays nice and crisp, the garlicky braising liquid seeps into every fiber and just makes it “slap ya mama” worthy. You’ll love this recipe, I promise.

The entire dish takes about 30 minutes to cook. You’ll need a 12-inch oven-proof skillet, if you do not have one, transfer everything to an oven proof baking dish and proceed with finishing step 3. Just make sure your baking dish allows the chicken to sit comfortably in the cooking liquid without the skin getting submerged. We want to keep the skin as crispy as possible. Also, you’ll need a potato masher or ricer to properly blend the garlic into the sauce. Don’t have one? Use the back of your spoon or something — improvise lol.

Oh, and save yourself some labor — instead of peeling 40 cloves of garlic, buy the garlic that’s already peeled (usually in vacuum sealed baggies, or in a plastic container). I probably wouldn’t have done this recipe if I had to peel all that garlic, aint nobody got time for that!

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40 Clove Garlic Chicken

  • Author: Resha
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4-6


slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated


  • 40 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, toss garlic with 1 teaspoon of oil and sugar. Microwave for about 3-4 minutes until slightly softened. It’s normal to see light brown spotting.
  3. Pat the chicken and chicken skin dry with paper towels. Try to avoid leaving any moisture on the surface or it will not brown correctly. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Heat the last teaspoon of oil in a 12-inch ovensafe skillet just until you start to see whisps of smoke. Place chicken in skillet skin-side down, and cook until the skin is well browned, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, skin-side up and set aside. If you don’t have a 12-inch skillet, use what you have and just cook the chicken in batches if necessary. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the shallots (if using) and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until evenly browned (like a toasted straw color), for about 1 minute.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat briefly, and add the sherry to the skillet. Return the skillet to medium heat and bring the sherry to a simmer and scrape up the delicious brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Cook until the sherry coats the garlic and the pan is nearly dry, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the broth, cream, cornstarch mixture, thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and bay leaf, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Place the chicken you set aside earlier back to the skillet — skin side up, with any accumulated chicken juices from the plate. Cook the chicken until for about 18-22 minutes, or until it registers 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  5. Place the chicken on serving dish along with about half of the whole garlic cloves. Discard the thyme and bay leaf, and with a potato masher, mash the remaining garlic into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve the sauce with the chicken and enjoy.


If you do not have an oven-proof skillet, feel free to use what you have. A large baking dish, or braising pan will work great. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time in the oven because chances are you’d be starting out with a cold baking dish and you’ll need to allow just a few extra minutes for everything to come up to temperature.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins


  • Serving Size: 8
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  1. Perry says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    What does the oil sugar and garlic do together?
  2. Kadeshia says:

    can I substitute breast for the thigh? btw that asparagus recipe!!! *faints*

    • Resha says:

      breast meat doesn’t have the fat dark meat does which helps the chicken from drying out. if you want to use breast meat, you could, but you’d have to toy around w/ the cooking time to make sure you don’t overcook the white meat and dry it out. its a fairly quick dish, so you may not experience dried out breast meat, but it IS a possibility. just keep an eye on it and check the temperature of the meat to make sure it’s cooked just right.

  3. Shakira Eanes says:

    Good morning, this looks yummy. However can you please tell me, what kind of cream do you use? so that I can purchase.

  4. Tina says:

    Can I leave out the sherry and still expect a delicious dish?

  5. Ashley says:

    I’m gonna try this for tomorrow. I’m so excited! Your dishes are the bomb girl

  6. Cameron says:

    A quick tip for peeling a lot of garlic at once – put the garlic cloves into a large bowl and put another bowl that’s the same size on top. Grab the edges and shake the bowl up and down kind of vigorously for about 20-25 seconds and you’ll have instantly peeled garlic. It sounds crazy, but it works. You could do this with a small amount of garlic and small bowls too. Anyways, this recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it!!

  7. FawnRenee says:


    I’m doing cornish hend for turkey day. Would this sauce work with the game hens or no?

  8. Tamara says:

    RESHA!!! This right here was absolutely delish I was eating the sauce out of the pot! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  9. Janet says:

    Costco also has the bags of peeled garlic cloves. I keep mine in the freezer, so I am never out of fresh garlic!

  10. MrsMF_L says:

    Mannnn look! I just devoured that poo little chicken annnnd I accompanied it with your parmesan grits! Yep, I can rest peacefully tonight!

  11. Patricia Checks says:

    Made this for me and my boyfriend last night with mashed potatoes and cajun spiced green beans and it was great. Thank you for the recipe. Tasted even better the next day after sitting in the sauce overnight!

  12. NikkiSAA says:

    Can you use a cast iron enameled dish instead of a skillet and expect the same results?

    • Resha says:

      Yup, you should be able to. The cast iron will hold the heat very well, I would just be cautious of it getting too hot. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t burn or anything. it may cook the meal faster, so check for doneness a few minutes earlier.

  13. Elle says:

    Looks amazingly scrumptious! Did you happen to get this oven-proof skillet from Amazon? And will you be updating the Shop Carnal Dish section, as well?

    • Resha says:

      Yes sweety, I’ve updated that section, and I’m still doing so. I’m not sure if you’re talking about the dish I baked this stuffing in, but I got that from Crate & Barrel last year <3

  14. Mimi says:

    Resha, this looks amazing! I am a huge garlic fan and usually add at least twice more than what is required in a recipe. I’ve been looking for an amazing chicken recipe it’s such a bland meat if not cooked properly.. Thanks girl!

    • Resha says:

      Yeah give this a try, its really a smooth mild garlic flavor that pairs well with so many other foods. and it’s just downright succulent.

  15. Elle says:

    yum!!! i have to give this a try!