Gluten-free, Meat and Poultry

Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with olives and peppers)

Loreto December 7, 2017

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Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with olives and peppers), is a recipe handed down from generation to generation typical of La Cucina Italiana. Rustic, vibrant flavors meet succulent roasted chicken. Perfect for that family-style meal, and oh so finger licking good!

Song of the day: Everyday Is A Winding Road, by  Sheryl Crow.

Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and peppers)

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]

Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with olives and pepper),  a dish marinated in the morning in spices, herbs, lemon juice, and garlic, sitting in all that seasoning, creating layers upon layers of flavor and a most succulent, moist, tender chicken that you have ever had.



In my younger years I never imagined being reunited with my Italian roots, but as destiny had it, I was to meet the woman of my dreams and my life would change forever. Nicoletta came into my life and with that a winding road back to my roots. She brought me back to where my parents grew up and I have to tell you it was surreal. I felt like I had been there before. Nicoletta has also taught me Italian which I really enjoy speaking. It is such a beautiful language, and for all this richness I love her and am grateful from the whole of my existence.

The great perk is a road back to the food of our culture and us creating a food blog to share with the world. It has been a long and labor-intensive road and thanks to all who have supported us, especially The Italian Centre Shop, who has given us the opportunity to share traditional and not so traditional recipes using products from their wonderful store. It has been a great year sharing with ITC!

Thinking of a recipe to share with everyone for the Christmas season, we were pulled to an old handwritten recipe book that Nicoletta received from her family. In this book was a recipe for a lemon chicken and one that I heard nothing but rants and raves about and that her grandma made the best pollo al forno, roasted chicken. This passion intrigued me and I have to say I love when I watch a cooking show and they bring in the nonni, seeing that timeline appear, the pride, and humor of these people and their life experiences ignites something in my soul that is hard to describe but one that feels heartfelt and comforting. I wish I could have tasted Nicoletta’s grandma’s roasted chicken but as time would have it I came into her life late, and only shared a short brief time with her which I cherish tremendously.

No crying over spilled milk because we have her memory, and her recipe and we will do it with honor, gratitude, and passion, hoping we will do nonna proud, as well as Nicoletta’s family which I have adopted as my own as well. It must have been good as Nicoletta was never a fan of chicken, or any meat, but she said she would try her nonna‘s because it was so delicious. So with love and memory and without further ado, we give you Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and Peppers). 

Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and peppers)

The key to achieving that level of flavor is in the marinade, well not entirely true, because the pollo (chicken) plays a very important role. We always buy organic free range, grass fed, and yes there is a difference in taste from a free chicken and one raised in captivity. Our parents and grandparents would only buy pollo whole, which is more budget-friendly, and usually from a local butcher knowing it was fresh. We bought a whole chicken and I cut it into pieces, you can buy the pieces if you want, it will work just as well, and you can choose your favorite pieces. At the Italian Centre Shop, you can find the chicken close to the deli. We only used about half the chicken and the other went in the freezer well packed of course. So nice organic free-range chicken in hand, and we have to do it justice and the only way to do that is flavor building. This achieved by marinating it overnight, or for the day if you prepare it in the morning. Use a good quality olive oil. When looking for an olive oil look for the D.O.P. on the label, this tells you it is truly from Italy, also look that it is pure extra virgin cold pressed. This will give you a nice rich earthy oil perfect to enhance and flavor the chicken. In the marinade as well some lovely lemon juice and lemon slices, oregano, always a favorite in our kitchen, and some bay leaves which will give a nice backdrop. We must not forget the garlic, a great ingredient that pairs so well with many a savory dish. So chicken cut up, marinade poured all over it, and our friend time to let all these taste profiles work their magic in the fridge, of course, to tenderize and flavor this Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and Peppers) beyond belief.

Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and peppers)

I love when I take this out of the fridge, and I uncover it. The aroma of the herbs, that brightness and freshness of the lemon, and that ever so enticing scent of garlic has me salivating and it isn’t even cooked yet. I say beware when all those lovely ingredients start dancing to the beat of a hot oven, the aroma will have you at the door to the oven with watered mouths, begging it to be finished. Before you put it in the oven though it needs a few extra touches. Some beautifully slivered peppers, a handful of black olives, and yes some more lemon, after all this is Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and Peppers)!

Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and peppers)

OMG, this smells so good and look at all those delicious juices. Don’t throw that away we need it to finish the plate. I love all that caramelization that has happened and those lovely peppers so vibrant with color. I am also so intrigued to taste the olives and see what they bring to the table.

Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and Peppers)

I don’t know about your grandma’s but ours always loved to plate the finished product. Not individually but on a platter. This to me is the epitome of an Italian family-style meal. I think nonna and Nicoletta’s family would be proud of us, can’t wait to call them and share our experience with them. I hope they share a story or two with us, always love to hear those.

Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and Peppers)

I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this recipe, and now I am going in for a taste. A nice bit of chicken, some pepper, and some olives. Wow, this chicken is so tender and juicy. That lemon coming through but not in a sour face sort of way. It is smooth and so slowly introduces itself to your palate. The peppers offer a bit of sweetness to balance things out and then out of nowhere that olive comes in with its aged earthy tones that pair so well with the spice of oregano, and those hints of bay leaves. Look at that nice sheen of the cooking juices, poured all over the top of the dish and those roasted lemon slices, looks so delicious and yes it is so tasty.

It is the Christmas season, it is about giving and receiving, it is about peace and love, and it is about creating wonderful and beautiful memories that we will carry with us throughout our lives. I know mine are with me as I pull them from the memory banks, and the sounds of laughter, kids playing and that silence with only the clanging of forks and spoons, and people’s enjoyment echoing in the background. Even hearing others’ stories and memories form thoughts which paint beautiful pictures in my mind that become short films of these wonderful moments. These are the days where anything goes, and like Sheryl Crow says: “Everyday is a winding road, get a little bit closer”, that is what food is and does, it brings us all a little closer no matter the circumstances.

Wishing everyone the very best of the holiday season!

From our kitchen at Sugarlovespices,

Buon Appetito!

Song of the day: Everyday Is A Winding Road, by  Sheryl Crow.

Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and peppers)

Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and Peppers)

  • Author: Loreto
  • Prep Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 13 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: Italian


Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with olives and peppers), is a recipe handed down from generation to generation typical of La Cucina Italiana. Rustic, vibrant flavors meet succulent roasted chicken. Perfect for that family-style meal, and oh so finger licking good!


  • 1/2 chicken (about 1/2 kg-1 pound), cut in pieces


  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 large garlic clove, cut into 3 slices
  • 3 small bay leaves
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for roasting:

  • 2 small red peppers, slivered
  • 25 g (1 Tbsp) pitted black olives
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, sliced


  1. Cut the chicken into pieces and wash. Add to a big bowl and sprinkle lemon juice on top. Dust with oregano, salt and pepper, add garlic and bay leaves, and toss well.
  2. Cover and let marinate for 12 hours.
  3. When it’s time to cook, preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C).
  4. Take the bay leaves out, place the chicken in a rectangular oven safe dish (we used a 9-inch by 14-inch). Add the slivered peppers and the black olives.
  5. Add few tablespoons of the marinade and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Place the lemon slices on top and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, flipping chicken over at about halfway through the cooking time,
  6. The last 3-4 minutes, turn chicken over again (skin side up) and broil on low until nice and golden.
  7. At the moment of serving, place chicken on a serving platter, and pour juices on top and evenly distribute the red peppers, olives, and lemon slices.


The total time includes the 12 hours of the marinade. You can marinate the chicken in the morning and it will be ready to put in the oven when you come back home from work.
You can just buy your favorite chicken pieces instead of buying a whole chicken. Buying a whole chicken is more budget friendly (and you can freeze the other half for later use).

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Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and peppers)

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]

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P.S. Making our recipes? Take a pic and tag us on Instagram: #sugarlovespices. You’re going to be in our gallery!

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  • Avatar
    Reply Milena | Craft Beering December 7, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Absolutely gorgeous dish! I’ve roasted chicken with lemons and olives before, it was supposed to be a Moroccan recipe and it had turned OK. I want to try your recipe, with the peppers, bay leaf and oregano it sounds even better. Plus, I love a dish with a story to it!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 7, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      Thank you Milena, means alot to us, These recipes are priceless and the fact that they have history makes it even more special. I think you are going to love this dish. The lemon all roasted and juicy along with those herbs, garlic,olives, and olive oil make this utterly finger lickin good. I love to take some rustic bread and sop up some of those juices at the bottom of the plate, yummy!
      Thanks a million for commenting, and have a great day!
      Cheers! Loreto

  • Avatar
    Reply annie@ciaochowbambina December 7, 2017 at 10:48 am

    I can imagine how tender, juicy and flavorful this chicken is! Reminds me of a dish my gram used to make. Happy holidays!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 7, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Annie, I always smile when I hear someone say as you have today ” what my granny used to make”, because I know there is a great story or memory behind it. I don’t know what Nonni have, but whatever they make always turns out absolutely delicious. I think it is years of experience and that love only nonni can bring to the table. Like this dish which was made with all those great ingredients and then some!
      Thanks for experiencing our post and story, have a most wonderful day!
      Ciao for now!

  • Avatar
    Reply mamasecretrecipes December 8, 2017 at 11:06 am

    The chicken looks so tender and juicy, It must be really delicious after being marinated for more than 12 hours. And roasting it with lemon slices is adding more flavour to it which is so appealing to your senses. I am surely going to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 9, 2017 at 7:33 am

      Thank you for your wonderful words that describes this recipe to a tee. I believe food is a joy of the senses from the aroma stage right to the tasting. This recipe fits that bill perfectly and the fact that it has so much history and memorie is a bonus.
      Happy cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Natalie Browne December 8, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    There’s always something about a roast chicken dinner that fills the home with comfort and warmth. Your lemon chicken sounds so wonderfully juicy and full of flavour. So delicious!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 9, 2017 at 7:31 am

      Thank you Natalie and you are so right on the comfort level. It is funny how we associate comfort and warmth to food and what’s wrong with that? Nothing because it’s all good in the end. Thank you for commenting and have a greaat weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply Karen Ahmed December 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    This looks so simple and so stunning!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 11, 2017 at 5:28 am

      Thank you Karen, and yes so true very easy and so delicious and succulent. Definately worth trying!
      Thanks for checking out our recipe and post!
      Have a great day!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jessica Robinson December 11, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Looks delicious! Cannot wait to try this recipe!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 12, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Hi Jessica thank you! I can’t waite for you to taste this delicious dish. You are going to be amazed at the flavor, moistness and tenderness of the chicken. All those diverse flavors working their magic, heavenly.
      Have a great week!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jenni December 16, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I love how simple and straightforward this recipe is, yet it looks like it packs a great punch of flavor. Olives and lemons are such a great blend of flavors!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 18, 2017 at 4:55 am

      Hi Jenni, a lot of Italian cooking is quite simple and oh so flavorful. One thing I have learned coming back to my roots is respect for great organic ingredients,a love of the land, and keeping it somple and let the ingredients shine forth. Thank you for checking out our recipe.
      Happy Monday to you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jenna December 18, 2017 at 8:54 am

    My Italian grandma used to make a dish that was very similar to this. She would make it frequently for me growing up so this kind of reminds me of childhood and would be the ultimate comfort food for me.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 19, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Jenna, I am so happy that we could bring back such wonderful memories. I love how grandmas infuse such wonderful levels of flavor into poultry or anything they do. It must be a mix of experience and knowing, all good things when it comes to food pre! So grateful for your comment.
      Have a wonderful rest of the week!

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