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Best Chicken Recipe Ever: Rao’s Chicken Scarpariello

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Best Chicken Recipe Ever: Rao’s Chicken Scarpariello is NOT HYPERBOLE. This is my family’s new favorite chicken recipe, bar none. You have GOT to try this one!!!

Taken out of the oven.

And then nestle the chicken pieces in amongst all the other goodness.

A plate of Chicken Scapariello, with salad and bread.

A plate of Chicken Scarpariello, with salad, and a slice of Italian bread.

What Does Chicken Scarpariello Mean?

Literally, it means Shoemaker’s Chicken in Italian. I think this shoemaker made high end shoes, because this chicken recipe is a bit more expensive than only serving chicken, since you’re doubling the protein factor with Italian sausage. BUT IT’S SO WORTH IT!!! I think Chicken Scarpariello really is the Best Chicken Recipe Ever. 

You know how good Italian sausages are with roasted peppers and onions? Now add in roast chicken and its juices, and a very special pickled pepper, the Italian Cherry Pepper, and some lovely vinegar, and my dears: it’s a meal in one roasting pan that smells DELICIOUS and tastes DIVINE! 

A Dish Served at Rao’s in NY City

I found this recipe in the New York Times Cooking section, but it originally hails from the very famous Rao’s restaurant, which is an Italian-American restaurant, in the Harlem area of New York City. You may have tried their delicious marinara sauce which is now available in grocery stores. It’s a little pricey, but has such a wonderful flavor! We love it. (And it’s cheaper if you buy it in a two pack at Costco.) It’s my go-to sauce for my World’s Best and Easiest Lasagna these days. 

I have altered Rao’s recipe and the New York Time’s recipe significantly, omitting 2 sliced jalapeño peppers, but if your family goes for spicy, add those in! I increased the potatoes (they’re so delicious in that sauce!).From time to time, I’ve also added in pepperoncini to good effect. 

Order of Preparation: Mise En Place? Not So Much. 

There are many dishes in which Mise En Place is the order of the day. (Mise en place is a culinary process wherein all of the ingredients are prepped BEFORE you begin cooking.) But I’ve made this dish so often lately that I’ve pretty much figured out where the “down” times are, while you’re waiting on something to cook. It’s nice to have something to do while you’re attempting to be patient and not turn the sautéing item too soon, before it gets that golden brown color on it.

Think of it as cooking “While U Wait”.

My Steps:

So here are my steps, listed in order:

  1. Put on a large pot of salted water to boil. Preheat the oven.
  2. While you’re waiting for salted water to come to a boil, peel and slice your potatoes.
  3. Put the potatoes in the boiling water to cook.
  4. While you’re waiting for the potatoes to cook to fork tender, season the chicken. If the breasts are large, consider slicing them in half, across the widest part of the breast. 
  5. Drain the potatoes in a colander in the sink. 
  6. Begin cooking the chicken in batches, skin side down, but do not crowd your Dutch oven. This is going to take a while. 
  7. While you’re waiting for all the chicken to brown, you can begin slicing the peppers, and onions.
  8. When the chicken is browned, remove it to a plate, and brown the Italian Sausages. 
  9. While you’re waiting for the sausages to brown, mince the garlic. 
  10. When the sausages have browned, remove them to a cutting board. 
  11. Sauté the peppers and onions. While the veggies are  cooking, cut the browned sausages into 1″ chunks.
  12. At the last minute of the peppers and onions cooking time, add the garlic. Sauté for an additional minute.
  13. Now, all the ingredients get added to the Dutch oven (the sausage, cherry peppers, potato slices, broth, wine and vinegar, and oregano. Gently fold all ingredients together.
  14. Take everything in the Dutch oven and pour it into a huge roasting pan. Finally add the reserved chicken pieces, nestling them into all the yumminess you’ve been cooking up.
  15. If you’re lucky, the guests will arrive at this very moment, and you can serve them a glass of wine, and sit around and drool together at the smells coming from your oven. 

If you’re a more visual person, here’s the process: 

Cook those potatoes. 

They should be just barely tender. 

Draining the cooked potatoes.

I always start by with the potatoes. Peel, slice, and cook them to just tender. Then drain in a colander.

Season the Chicken Well:

Browning the chicken in olive oil.

You can tell that I season my chicken well before I sauté it, with salt and pepper.

Sauté in Olive Oil, Skin Side Down First

Browning the chicken skin side down first.

Don’t crowd the pan. Skin side down, first. These are chicken breasts that were so large, I halved them.

Go For The Gold

One side of the chicken has been browned.

Put the chicken in the pan skin side down, and leave it alone to let it develop a nice browned color. The fat will render out, and there will be more of that chicken flavor to sauté your vegetables in.

Veggie Time!

While those chicken thighs and breasts are browning is a great time to chop those peppers and onions. 

Slicing yellow bell pepper.

Slicing some colorful yellow peppers. I chose red and orange.

Slicing the onions

Halve the onions from root to tip, and then slice into half moons.

Bowl full of sliced peppers and onions.

A bowl full of my sliced peppers and onions. Ready to go as soon as the sausages get browned. 

Brown them Bangers!

Browning the sausages in the chicken fat.

The sausages won’t be all the way brown all around, nor all the way cooked: they still have oven time to go, and you don’t want them to dry out.

While the Sausages are Browning, Mince the Garlic

Minced Garlic

Mince up a ton of garlic, and add it when the peppers and onions are almost done: about one minute before they’re done.

Sauté the Veg

Browning the peppers and onions (and finally the garlic) in the meat fat and olive oil.

Such a colorful dish! So now you’re going to sauté the peppers and onions in all that yummy olive oil flavored with chicken and sausage drippings. Mmmmm!!

While the Veggies are Sautéing, Chop up the Sausage.

Slice the browned sausage into 1 inch chunks.

Slicing the sausage into chunks, you’ll see they’re still pink inside, but fear not: they’re supposed to be. They’ll finish cooking in their time in the oven.

Add the Sausage Chunks to the Pot.

Adding the sausage chunks to the sautéd veggies.

Adding the sausage to the sautéd veggies.

The sausages and the veggies together.

Starting to really look good, isn’t it?

Add in the Lasties: the Potato Slices and Sweet Cherry Peppers

Adding the sliced cooked potatoes to the pot.

Add the sliced potatoes and the cherry peppers on top and gently fold things together.

The Chicken Stock:

Pouring the broth into the pot.

Now you’re adding the liquids in which things will braise: chicken stock.

The Wine:

Measuring the wine.

And then wine.

The Vinegar:

Adding the red wine vinegar to the pot.

And then red wine vinegar. Oh, the smell!!!

Dust Everything with Oregano:

Adding the oregano to the pot.

Finally, some dried oregano adds an herbal, Mediterranean note.

Dump It All in a Big Roasting Pan:

Spread it all out in a large roasting pan, so that everyone is exposed to the heat. Time to go in the oven.

Spread out everything from your Dutch oven into a roasting pan.

Add the Chicken and Roast It! 

Taken out of the oven.

And then nestle the chicken pieces in amongst all the other goodness, and roast it like there’s no tomorrow! Or, for 30 minutes.

The BEST Chicken Recipe Ever: Rao’s Chicken Scarpariello

Best Chicken Recipe Ever: Rao's Chicken Scarpariello

Taken out of the oven.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 3 lbs. chicken breasts and thighs (bone in, skin on)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian Sausage
  • 2 large bell peppers (red and orange)
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and sliced in half moons
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 8 sweet vinegared cherry peppers, whole
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and sliced and boiled till just tender
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves


  1. Put on a pot of water to boil, salted with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  2. Preheat oven to 400º.
  3. When water boils, boil potato slices for approximately 10 minutes, or until just tender.
  4. Drain potatoes in colander.
  5. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, so as not to crowd the pan, sauté the chicken pieces skin side down first, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  6. Add the sausage to the pot to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. (They will not be cooked all the way through at this point.) Remove to a cutting board, and cut into 1" pieces.
  7. Sauté the bell peppers and onion for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute or two., until everything is soft and just beginning to brown.
  8. Return the sausage to the pot. Add the cherry peppers, potato slices, chicken broth, wine, vinegar, oregano, and season with salt and pepper. Gently fold all ingredients together. Transfer everything to a large roasting pan, and nestle the chicken in the vegetables and sausage. Roast everything in the oven for a half of an hour, when the chicken and sausages should be cooked through, and the sauce will have reduced slightly.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 746Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 246mgSodium: 1131mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 93g

I think this meal goes best with just a simple salad and a loaf of Italian bread. Enjoy, and let me know how it turned out!

Chicken Scarpariello Pinterest Pin

Please: pin this!

Lee Howard

Saturday 25th of November 2023

It came out great!. I altered the recipe by making the NYT's recipe of salt and vinegar roasted potatoes separately,, and adding them in before the final roasting. I would also recommend using Yukon golds because they add a little sweetness to counter the vinegar. I also use both hot and sweet cherry peppers. Lastly, if you can't get in at Rao's, Bamontes on Withers St. in Brooklyn does an excellent version of this.


Tuesday 17th of October 2023

This is the second time that I'm making this. It is the best chicken recipe I have ever made.


Tuesday 17th of October 2023

The best chicken I've ever made.

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