The BEST Holiday Roasted Chicken

The key to the best holiday roasted chicken might lie in the simplicity of the recipe. Also ideal for a regular weeknight dinner when you want something a little fancier, this no-fuss, one pot whole chicken is a real winner. Garlic, lemon and rosemary add subtle, delicious flavours, and you will find just about any festive side dishes go perfectly alongside this juicy chicken. Add this Thanksgiving or Christmas roast chicken to your holiday menu!

Food blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares a recipe for the best holiday roasted chicken. This one pot whole chicken is so easy to make.

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Why You’ll Love This

Roast chicken with tender vegetables and succulent fresh herbs cooks perfectly in a roasting pan in the oven and is an ideal dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

  • Delicious: There’s nothing plain or boring about this delicious roasted chicken recipe. Roast chicken with tender vegetables and succulent fresh herbs cooks perfectly in a roasting pan in the oven and is an ideal dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  • Easy: It’s simple to make a great Thanksgiving or Christmas roast chicken recipe. Chicken’s such a versatile protein and can be jazzed up for a special occasion or used in so many other ways. Here the chicken is roasted whole with delicate, aromatic flavors.
  • Versatile: This recipe can be tweaked however you wish if you want to change up the flavors or use different seasonings. Leftover chicken can also be turned into a wide array of chicken recipes.
christmas roasted chicken on a platter

Holiday Roasted Chicken Ingredients

Start off with a whole chicken weighing around five pounds. Fresh garlic, onion, lemon, rosemary, and bay leaves add the perfect flavour. And then you also need olive oil, sea or kosher salt, pepper, and butter.

best roasted chicken recipe for the holidays

Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic (I love garlic and always use plenty!) or sub a non-dairy alternative for the butter if preferred. This roast chicken recipe is one you can adjust to your taste.

roasted whole chicken sliced on a plate with lemon

Fresh rosemary gives this one pot whole chicken the best flavour and you can use fresh or dried bay leaves or even leave them out if you don’t have any, since they add a very subtle hint of flavour and aren’t a main ingredient. Fresh herbs are sometimes a splurge but worth it.

holiday roasted chicken for thanksgiving

How to Make This Roasted Chicken Recipe

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

  • Roast the garlic: Wrap the peeled cloves of a garlic bulb (or however much garlic you want to use) in foil and add some oil and salt. Roast it in a hot oven for half an hour to make the garlic butter. If your oven is in use, you can read here for how to roast garlic in an air fryer. Meanwhile bring the chicken and butter to room temperature.
  • Make garlic butter and prep the chicken: Take the roasted garlic out of the oven (it’s going to smell really good!) and mix half of it with the softened butter. Brush this mixture over the outside of the chicken (for a crisp skin) and put the remainder inside the chicken cavity. Also put the lemon slices or wedges, rosemary and onion in the cavity. This flavorful chicken is perfect for family dinners or Christmas dinner. If you are looking for an idea for two people and you want chicken recipes for Christmas or another special occasion, try this air fryer Cornish hen recipe.
  • Truss the bird and cook it: Tie the chicken legs together with twine or kitchen string to keep the stuffing inside. Grind over some salt and pepper and add some more chopped fresh rosemary on top as well if you like. Now you can roast the prepared chicken in the oven for an hour. This delicious roasted chicken which is perfect for Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner is worth the wait! While the chicken roasts, you can start preparation of side dishes or just relax (which is the whole point of an easy roast chicken recipe – right?)

how to roast chicken
  • Cook until done: Cover the baked chicken with foil and give it another hour or cook until the chicken is 165 degrees F inside. It’s best to check with a meat thermometer and check the thickest part of the thigh or the chicken breast.
roasted chicken with lemon and garlic
  • Let it rest: Let the chicken rest in the roasting pan while you finish preparing whichever side dishes you’re going to serve. This is the juiciest chicken and you are going to love all the pan drippings to make a gravy if desired.
easy holiday roasted whole chicken recipe

Roast Chicken Variations

simple roast chicken

This simple roast chicken is easy to tweak according to your preferences. Since chicken is such a versatile protein, you can change the herbs and seasonings if you want. Easy Christmas chicken recipes like this are ones you will make year after year.

the only roasted chicken recipe you need

You can swap the lemon for orange, or the white onion for a small yellow onion if you prefer.

how to roast a whole chicken

You might like to add some potatoes and carrots to the roasting tray. If you do this, perhaps add a splash of chicken stock to the roasting dish as well. This is one of the best ways to cook some vegetables if you are making this chicken dinner on a weeknight.

juicy sliced roast chicken on the plate

Fresh sage can be paired with the rosemary if you have some, and fresh thyme is also a great herb. In fact you could use all three, and even some parsley too if you want.

how to roast a whole chicken

Options for Tasty Side Dishes

When making one of the best roast chicken recipes, you will want to offer some tasty sides with it.

easy whole chicken roast

Possible sides for this holiday roast chicken include candied maple pecan sweet potatoes, smoked asparagus, Paul Deen sweet potato casserole, brussels sprouts, roasted beets or even something completely different like mushroom risotto. Let’s not forget cranberry sauce which is a favourite of the holiday season.

roasted chicken for the holidays in a baking pan

Whole Roasted Chicken FAQs

What can you do with leftover roast chicken Christmas recipes?

You can make anything from chicken sandwiches, chicken noodle soup and chicken omelets to a stir-fry with leftover chicken. There are many leftover chicken dishes so don’t throw it out!

How do you calculate the cooking time for a different size bird?

I found that my five pound chicken took about two hours. The general rule for estimating the cooking time for a perfect roast chicken recipe is to give it about half an hour per pound at 400 degrees F, but ovens do vary as do roasted chicken holiday dinner recipes.

For this reason, double-check with your instant-read thermometer. When the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh registers over 165 degrees F, you can begin to dry the bird out. So whether you prefer dark meat, breast meat or some of each, you’ll want it juicy and perfectly cooked for the best result, making this the best holiday roasted chicken.

easy roasted chicken how to make it

How to Store Leftover Roasted Chicken

Store: Let the meat cool completely and then it should be fine for up to three days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Freeze: Freezing is another option. Again, make sure it’s in an airtight container or Ziploc freezer bags. The chicken should keep for several months.

Thaw: Thaw it overnight in the fridge and reheat in the oven, microwave or add chicken pieces directly into a recipe depending on what you’re making with it.

whole roasted chicken with crispy skin

Holiday Roasted Chicken Recipe

Food blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares a recipe for the best holiday roasted chicken. This one pot whole chicken is so easy to make.

The BEST Holiday Roasted Chicken

5 from 50 votes
Course: Main Course, Meals
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, Christmas, Thanksgiving
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 9
Calories: 291kcal
Author: Bella Bucchiotti
The key to the best holiday roasted chicken might lie in the simplicity of the recipe. This no-fuss, one pot whole chicken is a winner. Garlic, lemon and rosemary add subtle flavours, and you will find any festive side dishes go perfectly alongside this juicy chicken.
Print Save


  • 5 Pound chicken whole
  • 1 Bulb garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • ½ Cup butter
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 lemon sliced or wedged
  • 4 Sprigs rosemary
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper fresh cracked
  • 3 bay leaves


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut one end off the garlic bulb. Place garlic in foil and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Seal and roast for 30 minutes. Take the chicken and butter out for room temperature as the garlic roasts.
  • Remove garlic (roasted cloves) and separate into 2 halves. Combine ½ with the butter.
  • Brush chicken with the butter. Add any remaining inside the cavity with rosemary lemon and onion. Tie the legs.
  • Season with rosemary salt and pepper. Place onto a roast pan in the oven on the center rack and roast for 1 hour.
  • Top with foil and bake 1 more hour to 165 degrees F internal temperature.
  • Let roast chicken rest 10 minutes.
  • Slice and serve.


Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 358mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 199IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
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The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

If you want the best Thanksgiving or Christmas roast chicken recipe, this one pot whole chicken is well worth making. It makes the best holiday roast chicken for christmas dinner and it will come out juicy and flavorful and have crispy skin. Everyone is going to love this perfect roast chicken. It really is one of the best easy holiday chicken recipes. Enjoy and happy holidays!

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.


Welcome to xoxoBella! I am Bella Bucchiotti and I am a recipe developer, content creator and writer. Here you will find delicious recipes, travel inspiration, crafts, pet tips and more.

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

  1. Rachel Palmer wrote:

    5 stars
    This looks so juicy! Love all the garlic, too.

    Posted 12.13.22 Reply
  2. Jennifer wrote:

    5 stars
    What an amazing recipe! The lemon and garlic really came through and it was so juicy! A show-stopping entree!

    Posted 2.25.23 Reply
  3. Traci wrote:

    5 stars
    I don’t even know where to start! This recipe was incredible and the chicken tasted amazing! We all enjoyed the recipe and will make it again!

    Posted 2.25.23 Reply
  4. Addison wrote:

    5 stars
    This roasted chicken came out so juicy! I absolutely loved the flavors. So good!

    Posted 2.25.23 Reply
  5. Jere Cassidy wrote:

    5 stars
    Ok, I have made roasted chicken tons of times, but I never thought of using roasted garlic, what a game changer. Great recipe.

    Posted 2.25.23 Reply
  6. Lisa wrote:

    5 stars
    This roasted chicken was so tender and juicy. It was perfect for our small family gathering.

    Posted 2.26.23 Reply
  7. Mo wrote:

    5 stars
    This was so juicy and tender. It’s my new favorite chicken recipe.

    Posted 10.20.23 Reply
  8. Brooke R wrote:

    5 stars
    Tried this recipe and my family loved it! Planning to make it again next week.

    Posted 2.8.24 Reply