Christmas Chicken – Easy Chicken Recipes

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This Christmas Chicken is slathered in herb butter and roasted on a bed of oranges, lemons, and garlic and then garnished with pomegranate seeds for tons of fa-la-la-la-flavor!

overhead view of christmas chicken in a cast iron skillet.

What’s in Holiday Chicken?

This Christmas chicken uses one whole chicken that gets coated in an herb butter made of sage, thyme, parsley, orange zest, salt, and pepper and is roasted with citrus, white wine, and garlic to delicious, juicy perfection.

  • Chicken: We used a 4 lb. whole chicken for this recipe, but you’re welcome to use this recipe on other cuts of chicken.
  • Butter: Butter is used to make the herb butter that coats the chicken. Use unsalted!
  • Herbs: A blend of sage, thyme, parsley, and orange zest is mixed with butter to make a delicious herb butter.
  • Citrus: Oranges and lemons give this juicy roast chicken the perfect amount of acidity.
  • Salt and Pepper: Salt and pepper will make all the flavors in this recipe pop.
  • Garlic: Garlic is essential for deepening the flavor of this festive chicken.
  • White Wine: Use a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinot Grigio.

Variations on Merry Christmas Chicken

  • Chicken: Rather use chicken breasts or chicken thighs? Go for it! Just adjust the cooking time as necessary. They will cook much quicker.
  • Herbs: Sub out any fresh herbs for your favorites. Rosemary would be a super tasty addition! 
  • Pomegranate Seeds: Try fresh or frozen cranberries instead of pomegranate seeds.
  • Spice It Up: Add a kick of spice with some crushed red pepper, paprika, or cayenne.
step by step photos for how to make christmas chicken.
Can I cook a whole chicken from frozen?

Nope! You’ll want to let the chicken thaw in the refrigerator for 5 hours per pound, or about 20 hours, before roasting it!

How long does it take to roast a whole chicken?

At 425°F, it should take about 50-65 minutes to cook a whole chicken.

How do I make Christmas chicken crispy?

To make the skin crispy, transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet and place it under the broiler for 4-5 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

What can I do with the leftover juices from roasting a whole chicken?

You can easily turn those juices into a chicken gravy! Simply melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour, then add the chicken juices and cook until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with the chicken.

three-quarters view of christmas chicken on a white oval serving platter.

How to Store and Reheat Holiday Roast Chicken

Store leftover Christmas chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat chicken pieces in a baking dish with a bit of chicken broth in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until warmed through.

How to Freeze Christmas Chicken Dinner

Freeze Christmas chicken cut into pieces in an airtight container or Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

What to Serve with Roasted Christmas Chicken

This Christmas roast chicken can be elevated to the next level with some tasty sides. We love how it tastes with Creamed Green Beans, Au Gratin Potatoes, Butternut Squash Stuffing, and Garlic Pull Apart Rolls. Craving a refreshment? This delicious Christmas Sangria is the perfect pairing!

overhead view of christmas chicken cut into pieces in a cast iron skillet.
overhead view of christmas chicken in a cast iron skillet.

Christmas Chicken Recipe

This Christmas chicken is savory, citrusy, and juicy. It’s the perfect main course to bring out the holiday spirit this year!

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.

  • To make the herb butter, mix the butter, sage, thyme, parsley, orange zest, 2 tsp salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1½ teaspoons orange zest, 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Place the chicken on a cutting board, remove the giblets, and pat dry with paper towels. Tie legs together with kitchen twine (optional).

    1 (4-pound) whole chicken

  • Season the entire chicken (inside and out) with a sprinkle of salt and a bit of pepper.

  • Place the chicken in an oven-safe pan or cast iron skillet. Add the quartered orange, quartered lemons, and garlic halves (facing down) to the skillet, tucked on the sides and beneath the chicken

    1 orange, 2 lemons, 2 heads garlic

  • Rub the entire outer chicken (top and bottom) with the herb butter and beneath any loose skin. Pour the dry white wine over the chicken and pour the water onto the bottom of the pan.

    ½ cup dry white wine, ½ cup water

  • Roast for 50 minutes uncovered before checking for doneness. Cut into the leg joint and look for the color of the juices, when done, the juices will be clear. If the juices are still pink, return to the oven for 5-10 minutes before checking again. The thickest part of the breast should register 165°F.

  • Let the chicken rest in the skillet for 15 minutes before carving. Serve warm or at room temperature, and garnish with pomegranate seeds, fresh orange slices and chopped parsley.

    Pomegranate seeds, Orange slices, Chopped fresh parsley, Thyme sprigs

Notes

  • Feel free to switch up the spices and herbs to whatever you desire, such as chicken seasoning or Italian seasoning.
  • Pat the chicken dry to ensure that the butter and herbs will adhere.
  • Broil the chicken for crispier skin.
  • Cooked whole chicken should register 165°F in the breasts and 170°F in the thighs.
  • Nutritional Information does not include optional garnishes.
  • Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before slicing to seal in the juices.

Storage: Store Christmas chicken cut into pieces in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts

Christmas Chicken Recipe

Amount Per Serving

Calories 655
Calories from Fat 405

% Daily Value*

Fat 45g69%

Saturated Fat 17g106%

Trans Fat 1g

Polyunsaturated Fat 8g

Monounsaturated Fat 17g

Cholesterol 193mg64%

Sodium 1325mg58%

Potassium 676mg19%

Carbohydrates 16g5%

Fiber 4g17%

Sugar 5g6%

Protein 43g86%

Vitamin A 1081IU22%

Vitamin C 63mg76%

Calcium 123mg12%

Iron 4mg22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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