This Christmas Chicken recipe is going to win your hearts this holiday season, thanks to the juicy and tender chicken thighs that are marinated and then baked to perfection!
You won’t find a better Christmas dinner recipe on the internet since this chicken recipe is going to not only wow your guests but satisfy their cravings completely! It’s the perfect addition to your holiday table giving it the perfect festive feel.
What’s best is that not only is the chicken juicy and tender on the inside but it’s also packed with flavor in each bite! It’s the perfect Christmas lunch option and is unique and different from the usual lemon butter chicken we’ve all had dozens of times!
I’m sure when you try this recipe once, you’ll want to make it again and again! Want to learn how to make this delicious Christmas Chicken? Then keep on reading!
Table of Contents
- What is a Christmas Chicken?
- What Makes This Christmas Chicken Recipe Special?
- What You Need to Make Christmas Chicken at Home
- How to Make Christmas Chicken (Step-by-Step)
- Tips for Making the Best Christmas Chicken Ever
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Variation Ideas for Christmas Chicken
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Store Leftover Christmas Chicken
- More Chicken Recipes You'll Love
- Recipe Card
- Easiest Christmas Chicken (The Best Holiday Chicken Recipe!)
What is a Christmas Chicken?
Christmas Chicken is the classic chicken main dish that is served during Christmas lunch or Christmas dinner.
It’s usually served as a whole chicken for a Christmas roast chicken, but I’ve used delicious chicken thighs in this recipe to give you a juicier and more tender chicken meal.
This recipe is versatile enough that you can still use it for whole chicken after removing the giblets, or maybe even some drumsticks!
Regardless of how you choose to make this recipe, you’re going to fall in love with it!
What Makes This Christmas Chicken Recipe Special?
Easy to Make: The recipe is super easy and quick enough to make on any given day. Simply marinate the thighs the night before and all you’ll have left to do is bake it for dinner, or any other special occasion or event. The secret to the tenderness and flavor of meal prep all lies in the marinating step!
Time Saver: At the same time, it is a huge time saver when it comes to a quick, but quality dinner. Plan your meals ahead and do as much preparation ahead of time as you possibly can. Enjoy the delicious dish with less time spent cooking!
Delicious: Plus, this Christmas Chicken recipe features unique yet festive flavors that are better than the usual lemon butter-flavored chicken we’ve all had dozens of times.
Crowd pleaser: This Christmas chicken recipe is a definite crowd-pleaser. The unique blend of flavors, the tenderness of the chicken thighs, and the visually appealing presentation with cranberries and rosemary make it a perfect centerpiece for your Christmas dinner.
What You Need to Make Christmas Chicken at Home
Making this delicious festive chicken requires the most basic ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need to make it at home:
- Chicken: We’ll be using some chicken thighs to make this delicious chicken juicy and tender, and it’s way better than using chicken breast. But you can also use a whole chicken after removing the giblets from the chicken’s cavity and washing it completely. Make sure to pat it dry with a kitchen towel before using it in this recipe.
- Olive oil: We’ll also need some olive oil to drizzle over our chicken which will give it a delicious texture on the outside and also allow the seasoning and spices to cover the chicken properly.
- Seasonings: You’ll also need some salt and black pepper to get the perfect level of seasoning and flavor in this delicious chicken dinner recipe.
- Ground cumin: We’ll also use some ground cumin that will add rich, earthy, and warm flavor to the chicken and bring everything together.
- Smoked paprika: For that slightly smoky flavor, we’ll be using some smoked paprika in this recipe.
- Mrs. Dash seasoning: This is another great seasoning mix that I highly recommend! It’s a great combination of lemon powder, black pepper, mustard, other spices, and dried fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano, marjoram, and rosemary.
- Garlic powder: To enhance the flavor of all the other spices, we’ll also be using some garlic powder in our chicken marinade.
- Cayenne pepper: For an extra kick of spice, we’ll be adding some cayenne pepper to this delicious Christmas chicken dinner recipe.
- Fresh rosemary: We’ll also be adding some fresh rosemary on top before baking the chicken to get the most delicious aroma and flavor in our chicken.
- Fresh cranberries: You’ll also need some fresh cranberries to add alongside the rosemary to get a delicious juicy flavor in the chicken as it bakes.
- Green onions: We’ll add some chopped green onions on top too for a slightly sharp flavor that perfectly contrasts the cranberries and rosemary.
How to Make Christmas Chicken (Step-by-Step)
Making this Christmas favorite is easier than you think! Here’s what you need to do to make it step by step:
Start by preheating the oven to 425 ℉.
Next, measure out all dry ingredients and place them into a small bowl. Mix them well to combine. You should have roughly 2 tbsp. of seasoning mix.
Next, cut off the excess skin from the thighs, then rinse and place into a strainer for the water to drip off. Pat the chicken dry with a kitchen towel and transfer the thighs into a large glass bowl and sprinkle with prepared seasoning.
Drizzle oil over the chicken thighs, mix to coat, and then cover the bowl with a lid and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Before placing marinated thighs onto a baking sheet mix them once more for them to coat with seasoning and oil. Transfer thighs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Next, sprinkle the thighs with fresh cranberries and green onions, and spread out rosemary vines in the pan.
Bake chicken thighs in preheated oven to 425 ℉ for 25 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 ℉ according to a meat thermometer.
Then remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Decorate the chicken thighs platter with fresh cranberries, green onions, and fresh rosemary before serving. This chicken reheats well and is great for the lunch box.
Tips for Making the Best Christmas Chicken Ever
- Preheat the oven: Always start by preheating your oven to the correct temperature. This guarantees that your chicken thighs cook evenly and achieve the perfect level of tenderness.
- Prepare your seasoning mix: Combining all your spices and seasonings in a small bowl before applying to the chicken make sure that all the flavors are evenly distributed.
- Trim and dry your chicken: Cutting off excess skin and patting the chicken dry guarantees that your seasoning sticks better and helps achieve a crispier skin when you bake it.
- Marinate for maximum flavor: Marinating your chicken thighs in the prepared seasoning and olive oil for at least four hours, or overnight if possible, allows the flavors to fully penetrate the meat.
- Use a meat thermometer: Baking the chicken until the internal temperature reaches a safe temperature of at least 165 F according to a meat thermometer guarantees your chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat.
- Let it rest: After removing the chicken from the oven, let it rest for about five minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken, enhancing its flavor and tenderness.
- Add a festivity touch: Sprinkling fresh cranberries and green onions, and spreading out rosemary vines in the pan before baking, not only adds to the Christmas vibes but also enhances the flavors of your dish.
- This flavorful Christmas chicken pairs perfectly with creamy mashed potatoes. The potatoes' light, buttery texture compliments the chicken's rich spices and herbs.
- For a lighter option, serve this Christmas chicken on a bed of fresh salad greens. The crisp, cool vegetables provide a refreshing contrast to the warm, seasoned chicken.
- If you're a fan of citrus flavors, try serving your Christmas chicken with a side of orange-glazed carrots. The sweet and tangy orange glaze enhances the chicken's festive flavors.
- This recipe also goes well with a side of garlic butter rice. The rice absorbs the chicken's juices, making it a flavorful side dish that compliments the main course.
- For cheese lovers, serve this Christmas chicken with a side of macaroni and cheese. The creamy, cheesy pasta offsets the chicken's robust flavors.
- If you have any leftovers, try making a chicken pot pie. The tender chicken, combined with creamy sauce and vegetables, makes for a hearty meal the next day.
- For a traditional Christmas dinner, serve this chicken with a side of cranberry sauce and roasted onions. The tart cranberries and sweet onions add a festive touch to your meal.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Christmas Chicken
This delicious Christmas chicken recipe is absolutely perfect as is, but if you're looking to change things up, here are a few variation ideas you can try:
- Add Herbs: If you're a fan of fresh, aromatic flavors, try adding more herbs to this recipe. Mix in some fresh thyme, sage, and parsley to the seasoning mix. These herbs will add a beautiful aroma and depth of flavor to your chicken thighs.
- Citrus Flavor: For a zesty twist, add some lemon or orange zest to the seasoning mix. Citrus flavors work wonderfully with chicken, making it refreshing and tangy. You can also squeeze some fresh lemon or orange juice over the chicken before serving for an added burst of freshness.
- Add More Garlic: If you're a garlic lover, you can intensify the flavor by adding a couple more garlic cloves to the seasoning mix. The extra garlic will give the chicken a robust, aromatic flavor that's truly mouthwatering.
Frequently Asked Questions
For this recipe, I recommend using chicken thighs. They are flavorful and juicy, making them perfect for a festive dish like Christmas chicken.
Mrs. Dash Seasoning is a brand of spice blends that come in a variety of flavors. It is a great way to add extra flavor to your dishes. You can find it in the spice aisle of most grocery stores or online.
For the best results, marinate the chicken for at least four hours or overnight. This allows the flavors to fully penetrate the meat, resulting in a more flavorful dish.
How to Store Leftover Christmas Chicken
Leftovers can easily be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also freeze your chicken for up to 1 month! Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight before warming it up in the oven before serving.
Decorate chicken thighs platter with fresh cranberries, green onions, and fresh rosemary before serving. This chicken reheats well and is great for the lunch box.
More Chicken Recipes You'll Love
- Crusted Parmesan Chicken Breast
- Grilled Marinated Chicken Thighs
- Instant Pot Pulled BBQ Chicken
- Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Wings
- BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
- Tasty Chicken Fritters
Looking for more Christmas recipes? Click HERE to see more deliciousness!
Easiest Christmas Chicken (The Best Holiday Chicken Recipe!)
Rosemary Cranberry Baked Chicken Thighs Ingredients
- 9 – chicken thighs
- 1 tbsp. - Mrs. Dash Seasoning
- 2 tsp. – sea salt
- ½ tsp. – garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. – cumin
- ¼ tsp. – smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp. – black ground pepper
- ¼ tsp. – cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 3 tbsp. – olive oil
How to Make Christmas Chicken
- Start by preheating the oven to 425 ℉.
- Next, measure out all dry ingredients and place them into a small bowl. Mix them well to combine. You should have roughly 2 tbsp. of seasoning mix.
- Next, cut off the excess skin from the thighs, then rinse and place into a strainer for the water to drip off. Pat the chicken dry with a kitchen towel and transfer the thighs into a large glass bowl and sprinkle with prepared seasoning.
- Drizzle oil over the chicken thighs, mix to coat, and then cover the bowl with a lid and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Before placing marinated thighs onto a baking sheet mix them once more for them to coat with seasoning and oil. Transfer thighs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Next, sprinkle the thighs with fresh cranberries and green onions, and spread out rosemary vines in the pan.
- Bake chicken thighs in preheated oven to 425 ℉ for 25 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F according to a meat thermometer.
- Then remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- Your delicious Christmas Chicken is ready to be served! Serve it with some mixed vegetables, rice, or even your favorite pasta!
- Decorate the chicken thighs platter with fresh cranberries, green onions, and fresh rosemary before serving. This chicken reheats well and is great for the lunch box.
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