Make a delicious chicken for Christmas, an easy recipe for roast chicken stuffed with oranges and served with a fantastic gravy.
Do you want to keep things simple this year but still have a delicious Christmas dinner? Try this roasted Christmas chicken recipe with gravy. Then, make some roasted Brussels sprouts and any potato dish you like on the side, and you will need nothing more; your whole family will be happy!
And should you like to check other roast chicken recipes suitable for the festive season or any Sunday lunch, check out How to Roast a Whole Chicken, Roast Chicken with Apples, or Dutch Oven Roasted Chicken.
Why should you roast a chicken for Christmas day?
- Delicious: Crispy skin, orange-flavored white meat, and juicy legs.
- Few ingredients: A whole chicken, two oranges, and a few pantry ingredients.
- Uncomplicated: Roasting chicken for Christmas is super easy: stuff the bird, bind the legs, and bake. Making the gravy is a piece of cake, and it only takes a few minutes.
- Budget recipe: There is no need to spend a lot for a holiday dinner; with this Xmas chicken, you will stay well within the budget.
- Don’t wash the chicken. Washing it will only spread the bacteria in your kitchen sink and working surface without actually being killed on the bird itself. The bacteria will only be destroyed during the cooking process.
- Dry well with kitchen paper before rubbing it with the salt and later with the spices.
- Salt the chicken and allow it to sit in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours; the longer, the better. Salting it in advance will impart more flavor to the meat and make it moister. Also, letting it sit in the fridge, uncovered, will make the skin crispier.
- Use oil instead of butter for rubbing the bird, but not olive oil. Choose an oil with a higher smoking point like canola, sunflower, grapeseed, or avocado oil as you will start roasting the Xmas chicken at high temperature.
Whole chicken weighing 6 lbs (2.7 kg). It can be smaller or larger according to your needs but adjust the roasting time accordingly.
Salt: Two teaspoons of fine sea salt or Kosher salt. If using table salt, only take about 1 ½ teaspoon; it is more potent than the other two kinds.
Oil with a higher smoking point like canola or sunflower oil for rubbing the bird. Olive oil is not suitable for this purpose.
Oranges: One large or two small for stuffing the bird. Use another orange for adding to the roasting tin. It is preferable to use organic, unwaxed oranges. Mandarines (clementines) or lemons are suitable substitutes.
Spices: Sweet paprika powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, salt, and ground black pepper. Alternatively, use a ready-made spice mix for chicken.
Chicken stock and all-purpose flour for the gravy.
How to make the recipe?
Salt the Christmas chicken:
- If using a frozen bird, defrost it in the fridge before salting.
- Remove the giblets from the chicken’s cavity and use them to make stock together with the leftover roasted bones.
- Dry the bird with a kitchen towel, and rub it with the salt all over, inside and outside, under the wings as well.
- Place it in a large container and refrigerate it uncovered for 24 hours.
Prepare for roasting:
- Remove from the fridge about 1 hour before roasting to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 480 degrees Fahrenheit (250 degrees Celsius) and line a roasting pan with aluminum foil.
- Pat the bird dry with paper towels, removing the excess salt and excess moisture (don’t forget to do that on the inside as well).
- Mix another ½ teaspoon fine sea salt with ground black pepper, dried thyme, garlic powder, and oil in a small bowl.
- Rub the bird with this mixture all over, outside, and in the cavity.
- Wash the oranges with hot water and dry them well. Quarter them.
- Place about half of the quarters in the cavity (or as many as you can fit inside).
- You can add a few sprigs of fresh herbs as well, something like parsley, fresh thyme, or rosemary.
- Tie the legs with kitchen string, tuck wing tips under the bird.
- You can truss it if you like, but I usually leave it; binding the legs is enough for me (1).
- Place the Christmas chicken into the prepared pan and roast it for 15 minutes at a high temperature.
- Reduce temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) and continue roasting until cooked through (2).
- The cooking time depends on the size of the bird.
- While the roasted Christmas chicken rests on a warm platter, make the gravy.
- Pour the pan juices into a small saucepan. Add stock and bring to a boil on medium heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the flour. Bring to a boil while whisking continuously and simmer on low heat for 2-3 minutes until thickened.
- Remove the stuffing and carve the bird with a sharp knife.
- Cut the legs at the joint, then separate the drumsticks from the thighs.
- Next, separate the wings cutting through the joint.
- Cut the breasts off the bone and slice them.
- Arrange on a serving platter.
My giant bird weighed 6 lb (2.7 kg) and needed 15 minutes at 480 degrees Fahrenheit (250 degrees Celsius) + 1 hour and 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). A smaller one will need less time; start checking after 1 hour already.
The best way to check is with a digital meat thermometer; the internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) (Amazon affiliate link). Alternatively, check by piercing the bird in the thickest part of the thigh. However, this method is not reliable when cooking a large bird; it might lead to overcooking it.
Refrigerator: Keep the meat for 2-3 days in an airtight container, but keep the gravy in a separate container.
Freezer: You can freeze leftovers (both chicken and gravy but in separate containers) for about 2-3 months.
Defrost it in the fridge and reheat well before serving.
Meat: Place the chicken pieces on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or foil. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and reheat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) for about 20 minutes or until hot.
Gravy: Reheat in a small saucepan on the stove or in a bowl in the microwave. Add a splash of broth or water to loosen it slightly and stir frequently.
Use the bones and the giblets to make stock. The leftover bones can be frozen for future use, but if the giblets come from a defrosted bird, don’t freeze them again. Instead, roast them in the pan with the chicken, remove them after about 30 minutes, let them cool and then freeze them.
Serve the Christmas chicken roast with gravy, potatoes, and roasted or cooked vegetables. Try roast Potato Wedges with Chili Dip, Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Potatoes, Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Dauphinoise, Buttered Vegetables, or Buttered Peas.
More delicious recipes for the Christmas table:
- Christmas Cookie Cake Recipe
- Non-Alcoholic Christmas Fruit Cake
- Christmas Fruit Salad
- Oven-Roasted Turkey Thigh (with Potatoes)
- Spicy Pork Roast (Baked Pork Loin)
- Crispy Pork Hocks
- Red Wine Turkey
Roast Chicken for Christmas
- 1 chicken 6 lb/ 2.7 kg Note 1
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt or Kosher salt Note 2 3
- 3 tablespoons oil canola, sunflower Note 4
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2-3 oranges depending on size Note 5
- Pan juices
- 1 ½ cup chicken stock or broth preferably low sodium, 350 ml
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt the chicken:
- Salt: Remove the giblets from the chicken cavity (Note 6). Rub with salt all over, inside and outside, under the wings as well. Refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours.
Prepare for roasting:
- Let come to room temperature for about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 480 degrees Fahrenheit (250 degrees Celsius). Line a roasting tin with aluminum foil.
- Dry the skin and the chicken cavity with paper towels to remove the excess salt and moisture.
- Seasoning: Mix the oil with another ½ teaspoon salt, ground black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and thyme. Rub the bird thoroughly with the mixture, inside and outside.
- Oranges: Wash them with hot water. Dry and cut them into quarters. Place about half of the quarters (or as many as you can fit it) in the cavity.
- Tie the chicken's legs with kitchen string, tuck wing tips under the chicken.
- Roast at high temperature: Place chicken into the prepared roasting tin. Roast for 15 minutes at 480 degrees Fahrenheit (250 degrees Celsius).
- Reduce temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) and continue roasting until cooked through; it took me another hour and 30 minutes. The roasting time depends very much on the size of the chicken; if your bird is smaller, don't overcook it! Start checking with a digital meat thermometer after one hour already and keep checking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius).
- Rest on a warm platter for 10 minutes. Make the gravy in the meantime.
- Gravy: Pour the pan juices into a small saucepan, add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Whisk in the flour. Bring to a boil while whisking continuously and simmer for 2-3 minutes on low heat until thickened.
- Remove the string and stuffing and carve the bird with a sharp knife.Carve: Cut the legs at the joint, then separate the drumsticks from the thighs. Next, divide the wings cutting through the joint. Finally, cut the chicken breasts off the bone and slice them.
- Arrange on a serving platter.
- This is a giant chicken. If roasting a smaller one, adjust the roasting time accordingly. Start checking after about one hour of roasting time using a digital meat thermometer; the temperature should be165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) (Amazon affiliate link).
- If using table salt, you will need a bit less, about 1 ½ teaspoon.
- Don’t use butter or olive oil for this recipe. The chicken will be cooked at a high temperature first so that you will need oil with a high smoking point.
- One orange for stuffing the chicken, one for adding to the roasting pan. Use organic ones.
- Make chicken stock with the giblets and the leftover roasted bones. The leftover bones can be frozen for future use, but if the giblets come from a defrosted bird, don’t freeze them again. Instead, roast them in the pan with the chicken, remove them after about 30 minutes, let them cool and then freeze them.