'Marry Me' Chicken Vs. 'Engagement' Chicken: Is There A Difference?

There are chicken recipes that are good, and then there are chicken recipes that are so good they'll make you want to propose. Sounds ridiculous, but hey — food is a powerful thing. One bite of a perfectly roasted, perfectly seasoned, perfectly tender home-cooked chicken and you just might fall in love forever ... either with the person who made it or with the chicken itself. No judgment either way.

Two viral recipes have claimed responsibility for marriages everywhere: the famous "Engagement Chicken," which Glamour dates all the way back to 1982, and more recently, "Marry Me Chicken," first credited to a Delish recipe in 2018. While both recipes are rumored to be so delicious that they may just lead to a life-long covenant, the recipes themselves are actually quite different.

Whether you want to get engaged, married, or just see what all the fuss is about, let's find out what makes these chicken dinners such winners.

What's 'Engagement Chicken' and where did it come from?

The story behind "Engagement Chicken" involves a passed-around recipe and an oddly high amount of ensuing marriage proposals. It all started with a Glamour fashion editor who gave the roast chicken recipe to her assistant in 1982. Legend has it that the recipe led to at least four employee engagements. Coincidence or not, it was enough to dub the recipe "Engagement Chicken." It was published in an issue of Glamour in 2004.

Since then, celebrity chefs like Ina Garten and Martha Stewart have cooked and adapted the recipe, only fueling its popularity. Celebrity couples have even gotten engaged over it, further fueling its romantic superpowers — Emily Blunt gave Garten's recipe credit for her husband John Krasinski's proposal on an episode of River Cafe podcast Ruthie's Table 4. So what exactly is so special about this chicken, and how do you make it?

Surprisingly, this magical roast chicken is as simple as can be and only requires a handful of ingredients. A whole chicken, lemons, salt and pepper, and herbs (Glamour's recipe calls for rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley). The chicken is rubbed in lemon juice and seasoned with salt and pepper, then stuffed with whole lemons and roasted — first breast-side down for 15 minutes, then flipped and roasted for another hour or so. The trick is to slice the chicken, pour the pan juices on top, and serve it with fresh herbs. That's all there is to it.

How is 'Marry Me' Chicken different?

"Marry Me Chicken" came along much later, in 2018, but it's been blowing up the internet this past year as the top Google recipe search in the U.S. While its name certainly shares a similar sentiment with "Engagement Chicken," it derives not from a fashion magazine but from a food publication. According to Delish, when the editors first tested the chicken they reacted with comments like, "I'd marry you for that chicken," and "OH MY GOD THAT'S MARRIAGE MATERIAL." Alas, "Marry Me Chicken" was born.

So what makes "Marry Me Chicken" different from "Engagement Chicken?" This chicken dish is different in form and flavor profile than its predecessor and also employs a different cooking technique. Using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs rather than a whole chicken, the Italian-style chicken is first seared to crisp up the skin. After, a creamy pan sauce is made with chicken broth, sun-dried tomatoes, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes, the chicken roasts in the simmering sauce for about 20 minutes. Ultimately, the recipe requires more ingredients and a couple of extra steps for a zesty, flavorful dish that Delish claims tastes even better than "Engagement Chicken". There's even an official InstantPot recipe.

There's only one way to find out which one you prefer, and whether the whole proposal thing actually works. But we may have had the lyrics wrong all of these years: Apparently first comes love, then comes roast chicken, then comes marriage.