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!
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.
Nope! You’ll want to let the chicken thaw in the refrigerator for 5 hours per pound, or about 20 hours, before roasting it!
At 425°F, it should take about 50-65 minutes to cook a whole chicken.
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.
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.
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.
Christmas Chicken Recipe
- 1 4-pound whole chicken
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature (½ stick)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage from about 8 leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1½ teaspoons orange zest from 1 large orange
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt plus extra to season chicken
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 orange quartered
- 2 lemons quartered, discard any easily removable seeds
- 2 heads garlic top ½-inch cut off to expose garlic pieces
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup water
- Pomegranate seeds
- Orange slices
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Thyme sprigs
- Cast Iron Skillet
- 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
- 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.