Chicken Vesuvio

Love garlic? Try this Italian-American specialty from Chicago. Chicken Vesuvio is a one-pan recipe of crispy chicken thighs, potato wedges, and peas in a lemony garlic-white wine sauce.

Chicken Vesuvio in a Bowl on a Plate Next to a Cast Iron Skillet with More Chicken Vesuvio and a Small Bowl of Salt, All Sitting on a Table Napkin

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

Chicken Vesuvio is an Italian-American restaurant classic that just happens to be a one-pan meal you can easily make at home. Who could say no to crispy chicken thighs, potato wedges, and peas drizzled in a lemony garlic white wine sauce?  

Chicken Vesuvio serves up a starch, vegetable, and sauce along with the protein, so you don’t need much else to make a complete dinner. But if I want to really make this a special meal, I always like a crisp escarole salad with an easy vinaigrette and crispy panko sprinkled on top.

Origins of Chicken Vesuvio

Depending on who you ask, chicken Vesuvio originated in Chicago in the 1920s, 30s, or 60s, at one of three different Italian restaurants. Possibly it’s named after the volcano Vesuvius in Southern Italy, because of the way the steam rises when the wine is added to the hot pan.) Or it could be because the way the chicken pieces are piled on top of the potatoes suggests a mountain on the plate. Either way, the Windy City got lucky.

Chicken Vesuvio in a Cast Iron Skillet

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

The Best Wine for Chicken Vesuvio 

Most people say you shouldn’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink, as the heat will only enhance the undesirable flavors. But you don’t have to buy an expensive bottle; most middle of the road brands are perfectly drinkable. 

Look for a wine that’s dry and crisp with a little acidity. Popular choices include the more neutral pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc that skews a little grassier. And don’t worry, the alcohol burns off long before you sit down to eat. For those of you who prefer to cook without wine, a non-alcoholic wine or low-sodium chicken broth is a fine substitute. You may need to add a splash more lemon juice to make up for the acidity from the wine so taste and adjust until it suits you!

Boost the Flavor in Your Chicken Vesuvio

Some recipes call for smashing the garlic into the sauce or grating fresh garlic in at the end for a final sharpness, but I like not only the ease of thinly slicing the cloves, but it also keeps the sauce preparation simple. It’s still plenty garlicky, but a little more mellow.

I use the zest as well as the juice of the lemon. The zest boosts the lemon flavor, while the juice provides the acid for the sauce. It’s also a zero-waste kitchen tip!

Another flavor boost comes from browning the potatoes in the chicken fat after crisping the skin. You may not need to add additional oil, but even if you do, the potatoes will soak up plenty of chicken-y flavor.

Chicken Vesuvio in a Bowl on a Plate Next to a Cast Iron Skillet with More Chicken Vesuvio and a Small Bowl of Salt, All Sitting on a Table Napkin

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

Can You Use Another Cut of Chicken?

Original versions of chicken Vesuvio call for a quarter of a chicken, separated into the bone-in chicken breast and leg quarter. I like using thighs not only for their deeper flavor,because they are more forgiving if you overcook them. It’s also easier to get the same cut of meat cooked to a uniform doneness. 

But should you prefer the leaner chicken breast, or you happen to have drumsticks on hand, you’ll just need to be mindful of the internal temperature—when your chicken reaches 165°F for breasts and 180 to 185°F for drumsticks, it’s fully cooked through. 

An Easy Meal, but Not a Make-Ahead One 

Once it sits overnight in the fridge, the crispy skin gives way to a disappointing flabbiness. If you do need to store any leftovers, simply remove the skin the next day, and reheat both the chicken and potatoes in a microwave-safe container covered loosely with a lid to prevent splattering until heated through. 

You could also reheat in the oven in a baking dish covered with foil. It wouldn’t hurt to drizzle with some fresh lemon juice after you reheat as the lemon flavor will fade overnight.

Chicken Vesuvio in a Cast Iron Skillet

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

More Weeknight Chicken Recipes 

Chicken Vesuvio

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 60 mins
Total Time 70 mins
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 4 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs, excess fat and skin trimmed (about 1 3/4 pounds)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided 

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning the potatoes 

  • 2 large russet potatoes, skin on, cut into 1/2-to-3/4-inch wedges 

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • Cloves from 1 head garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning

  • 3/4 cup dry white wine

  • 3/4 cup frozen peas (not defrosted)

  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1/2 teaspoon

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • About 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves


  1. Put the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Season the chicken:

    Sprinkle the chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

    Seasoned Chicken Thighs on a Plate for Chicken Vesuvio Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  3. Cook the chicken:

    Heat a 12-inch cast-iron pan gradually over medium-low heat until it’s good and hot, about 10 minutes. (This may seem like a long time, but the pan is over medium-low during this time, and the payoff is nice and crispy golden-brown skin.) 

    Then turn the heat up to medium-high and add the oil. Place the chicken in the pan, skin-side down. Cook without moving until the skin develops a nice brown crust (you’ll have to peek from time to time, gently lifting the chicken without tearing the skin, until it releases from the pan), 8-10 minutes. 

    Remove to a plate. The chicken isn’t cooked through yet, so don’t worry. It goes in the oven with the potatoes later on.

    Simple Tip!

    You’re going to want to use a splatter screen if you have one.

    Chicken Thighs Searing (Skin Side Down) on a Hot Cast Iron Skillet for Chicken Vesuvio Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

    Seared Chicken Thighs Resting on a Plate for Chicken Vesuvio

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  4. Cook the potato wedges:

    If there isn’t about 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan, add a little more oil. Otherwise, add the potato wedges and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. 

    Stir to coat with and arrange in the skillet flat side down. Cook until they turn light to golden brown. Flip as they brown, about 8 minutes total. Remove to another plate. The potatoes will also finish cooking when they go in the oven with the chicken.

    Potato Wedges Fried in Cast Iron Skillet for Chicken Vesuvio

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  5. Make the sauce:

    Turn the heat to medium-low and add the butter, garlic, and dried oregano or Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant but doesn’t turn brown, about 30 seconds. 

    Add the wine and frozen peas and bring to a simmer, about 20 seconds.

    Garlic and Frozen Peas Cooking in Wine Sauce for Chicken Vesuvio

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  6. Add potatoes and chicken into the sauce:

    Turn off the heat, return the potatoes to the pan, and turn to coat in the sauce. Then arrange the chicken on top, skin-side up, and drizzle any juices left behind on the plate around the potatoes.

    Peas, Garlic, and Sauce Layered with Potatoes and then Chicken in Cast Iron Skillet

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

  7. Bake the chicken and potatoes:

    Place the pan in the oven and bake until the potatoes and chicken are cooked through, with the chicken reaching an internal temperature of 180 to 185°F, about 30-35 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs. The chicken will deepen in color and the potatoes will be tender.

  8. Finish and serve:

    Drizzle with the lemon juice, and sprinkle with the lemon zest and parsley before serving.

    This dish is best eaten the day you cook it. Refrigerate leftovers in a tightly covered container for 3-4 days.

    Did you love the recipe? Leave us stars below!

    Chicken Vesuvio in a Bowl on a Plate Next to a Cast Iron Skillet with More Chicken Vesuvio and a Small Bowl of Salt, All Sitting on a Table Napkin

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
695 Calories
30g Fat
63g Carbs
47g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 695
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 216mg 72%
Sodium 966mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 11g 39%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 47g
Vitamin C 130mg 652%
Calcium 134mg 10%
Iron 6mg 31%
Potassium 1687mg 36%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.