On Christmas day, when you’re looking to create a memorable meal for your whole family with minimal effort and maximum flavour, this easy-to-follow Christmas Roast Chicken recipe is your answer. Stuffed with fragrant herbs and citrusy oranges, slathered in a delightful blend of cinnamon and nutmeg butter, and roasted to perfection, this classic roast chicken dish sparkles with the essence of a festive holiday feast. With straightforward steps, it’s the best chicken recipe to put on your Christmas table, making it suitable for small families, couples, or anyone seeking a succulent and aromatic centrepiece that may even yield some delicious leftovers for later.
- Why You Will Love This Roast Christmas Chicken
- What Temperature is Best For Roasting Chicken
- How Long To Roast Chicken? How To Know That The Chicken is Cooked?
- What To Serve Roast Christmas Chicken With?
- Ingredients and Substitutes
- Step-By-Step Method
- Tips for Perfect Roast Chicken
- Storage and Leftovers
- Popular Chicken Recipes On The Blog
- Recipe FAQs
- Other Christmas Recipes To Try
- Whole Roast Christmas Chicken
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Whether you’re looking for a main dish for Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner, whole roast chicken is always a safe option to go for. Most people enjoy chicken, it is easy to prepare (just stuff and slather, place it in a roasting tin, and forget about it for at least an hour) and it’s a great recipe for the festive season – your home will smell of all the lovely spices and oranges. Serve it with Roast Potatoes, Carrot and Swede Mash or Honey Roasted Carrots and Parsnips, Gravy and don’t forget Sourdough Stuffing Balls!
Why You Will Love This Roast Christmas Chicken
- Easy Roast Chicken that even beginners with no special equipment can successfully prepare.
- Golden brown crispy skin and succulent chicken meat infused with spices and orange aromas are what you can expect from this Christmas chicken recipe!
- Perfect for a small gathering when you don’t want a ton of turkey leftovers! If you have leftover chicken, make sure to make Chicken Mayo Sandwiches!
What Temperature is Best For Roasting Chicken
The best temperature for roasting a whole chicken is typically 350°F to 375°F (175°C to 190°C). This temperature range allows the chicken to cook evenly, ensuring that the skin becomes crispy and golden while the meat remains juicy and tender.
How Long To Roast Chicken? How To Know That The Chicken is Cooked?
Roasting times may vary depending on the size of the chicken, but a general guideline is about 20 minutes per pound (450g) of chicken at 180°C.
The best way to check if the chicken is cooked is to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone to ensure it’s safely cooked.
What To Serve Roast Christmas Chicken With?
Christmas dinner could never be complete without scrumptious side dishes. We often eat this chicken with French Boulangere Potatoes and a side of Tenderstem Broccoli, but here are some of our favourite holiday-themed recipes to serve with any Christmas main dish:
- Perfect Roast Potatoes or Hasselback Baby Potatoes
- Roast Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic Reduction
- Slow Cooker Red Cabbage
- Stovetop Orange Glazed Carrots
- Roast Swede (Roasted Rutabaga)
Ingredients and Substitutes
Simple ingredients that you can get in any grocery store (and your well-stocked spice cupboard):
- whole chicken: we buy medium chicken (1.5kg -3.5 lb chicken), and it serves 3-4 people.
- orange: fresh and juicy, halved. You may replace it with lemon, satsumas or clementines.
- fresh thyme or rosemary.
- unsalted butter: at room temperature.
- spices: ground cinnamon and nutmeg.
- sea salt (or kosher salt) and black pepper.
You can find quantities and full instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan. Get a rimmed baking tray that is large enough to fit the whole chicken in it, but not huge.
Pat the whole surface of the chicken skin with paper towels to remove extra moisture. Tie the legs together using a string of kitchen twine. Stuff a halved orange and fresh herbs into the chicken cavity. Place it in a roasting pan (a larger cast iron skillet will work too).
In a small bowl, mix the softened butter with spices. Smother the chicken all over with the butter mixture, getting as much butter under the skin as possible.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the preheated oven and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes.
Leave the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.
Tips for Perfect Roast Chicken
Whilst this juicy roast chicken is very easy to prepare, if it’s your first time making it, these tips may be helpful:
- Using an instant-read thermometer is a crucial step when roasting chicken to ensure your bird is neither undercooked nor overcooked, which can result in dry meat.
- When applying the butter mixture, work swiftly, as it tends to solidify upon contact with the cold top of the chicken.
- Make sure to let the chicken rest to ensure juicy chicken meat, before carving it using a sharp knife.
- Make the most of your leftover chicken carcass by making delicious chicken broth. Place the leftover bones in a large pot with 10 cups of water, 3 sliced carrots, 3 sliced celery stalks, one quartered onion, 2 teaspoons peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 5 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon salt, and a small bunch of parsley. Simmer for 3-4 hours, then allow it to cool slightly and strain. You can either refrigerate or freeze the broth for later use. It’s a flavorful base for various soups, like Chicken Minestrone Soup or Robollita.
- You can adapt this recipe to suit the size of your chicken, whether it’s larger or smaller. Simply adjust the baking time accordingly. When working with a larger chicken, prepare a bit more of the butter mixture to ensure that it coats the bird adequately.
Storage and Leftovers
Once the chicken has cooled down, store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 34 days. Alternatively, freeze boneless chicken pieces in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
You can reheat deboned roast chicken in the microwave. Just place it on a plate with a tablespoon of water, cover it with a lid or plastic wrap, leaving s small vent for steam to escape. Then heat on low-medium for 1-2 minutes, checking frequently.
Alternatively, heat a non-stick skillet or pan over medium heat with a splash of oil or some butter. Place the deboned roast chicken pieces in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until heated through.
Roast chicken leftovers can be used in any recipe that requires cooked chicken (or rotisserie chicken). For example, use cooked chicken breast to make Coronation Chicken Sandwich or Chicken Mayo Sandwich.
Alternatively, cooked chicken is brilliant in risotto, like Chicken and Chorizo Risotto or Smoked Cheese and Chicken Risotto. Add some shredded chicken to pasta too; it works well in Chicken and Chorizo Pasta, Spicy Chicken Arrabbiata or Chicken and Bacon Spaghetti.
To control the level of crispiness, you can cover the chicken with foil for part of the roasting time, especially if you want to keep the meat moist, or you can choose to roast it without foil for a crisper skin throughout. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
When the chicken cooks, the orange juice evaporates into the flesh, creating a beautiful aromatic and juicy chicken. Your cooked chicken won’t taste much of orange and herbs but will be wonderfully aromatic.
Other Christmas Recipes To Try
Roast Christmas Chicken doesn’t tickle your fancy? Looking for another main course to serve over the holiday season? Try these:
- Grapefruit Glazed Christmas Gammon
- Vegetarian Wellington (Without Mushrooms)
- Slow Cooker Lamb Shoulder
- Roast Beef Sirloin
Whole Roast Christmas Chicken
- 1.5 kg whole chicken
- 1 orange halved
- 1 bunch of thyme or rosemary
- 25 g unsalted butter softened
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan.
- Pat the whole surface of the chicken with a paper towel to remove extra moisture. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine. Stuff a halved orange and fresh herbs into the cavity of the chicken.
- In a small bowl, mix the softened butter with spices. Smother the chicken all over with the butter mixture, getting as much butter under the skin as possible.
- Season with salt and pepper, place it into the roasting tin, and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes.
- Leave the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes befroe carving.