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Thanksgiving Chicken

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If turkey isn’t your thing, you have to try this whole roasted chicken this Thanksgiving. Simple and easy to prep, it’s perfectly seasoned, juicy and flavorful. Oven roast or air fry for a show stopping centerpiece during the holidays.

A Thanksgiving chicken served next to fresh herbs.

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Full Recipe Ingredients/Instructions are available in the 
recipe card at the bottom of the post. 
You can find important tips/tricks in the
blog post.

If turkey isn’t your thing, or maybe this year you a hosting a smaller Thanksgiving, then a whole roasted chicken is a great alternative. Easy to prep, this seasoned chicken is hands down delicious!

Whether you use the traditional oven roasting method, or opt to air fry it, this chicken comes out perfectly every single time. Serve it up with your favorite Thanksgiving sides for one delicious meal that everyone will love!

You’ll want to start getting ready to make this chicken the day before. I use a dry brine and let it chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours. If you can let it chill for 24 hours, even better. A dry brine will leave you with a nice and juicy bird with crispy skin.

Be sure to check out my Smothered Turkey Wings and Air Fryer Turkey Breast too!

How to make Thanksgiving whole roasted chicken

  • Gather your ingredients.
A whole raw chicken and spice mix.
  • In a small bowl, combine kosher salt, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Set aside.
  • Remove the chicken from the packaging and any giblets. Dry the chicken with paper towels.
  • Season the outside of the chicken and under the skin with the dry rub mixture. Season inside the cavity as well.
  • Place in a baking dish or roasting pan and place in the fridge, uncovered, for 8-24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and remove the chicken from the fridge. If using stuffing, stuff your chicken at this time. If not, place lemon slices and herbs in the cavity. Truss the chicken at this time.
  • Once your oven is preheated, bake the chicken in the oven for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or 20 minutes per pound, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Add an additional 10-15 minutes if the chicken is stuffed.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.
The Thanksgiving chicken after being roasted.

Can you prep this recipe ahead of time?

This whole roasted chicken is best prepped the day before you plan to cook and serve it. The rub on the chicken helps to season the meat and the longer you leave it, the more the salt will be drawn into the chicken for a more flavorful bite. It also helps to remove moisture from the skin so that it is extra crispy.

How much does a whole roasted chicken serve?

This recipe is for a 4 to 5lb whole chicken and it will easily serve four people. Allow for a pound per person. The larger the chicken, the longer cooking time it will require. A good rule of thumb is to allow 20 minutes of cooking time per pound at 350F. Check that your chicken is fully cooked through by using an instant read thermometer which should register at 165F when inserted into the thigh.

How long do the leftovers keep?

The best part of Thanksgiving is of course the leftovers! Remove the meat from the bones and place it in an airtight container, it will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days. The leftovers can be enjoyed cold in sandwiches and salads, or reheated in the oven. This creamy rotisserie chicken salad is one of my favorites to make with the leftovers.

What do you serve it with?

This Thanksgiving chicken recipe is perfect to enjoy with all of your favorite sides. Try it with:

The breast sliced off of the whole roasted chicken.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • For the best results, allow the chicken to sit with the rub for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Allow the chicken to come up to room temperature before placing in the hot oven.
  • See below for the air fryer cooking instructions.
  • Allow the chicken to rest under foil for 15 to 20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.
  • If stuffing the chicken, the stuffing on the inside should register a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit when done.

More Chicken Recipes

Thanksgiving Chicken

If turkey isn't your thing, you have to try this whole roasted chicken this Thanksgiving. Simple and easy to prep, it's perfectly seasoned, juicy and flavorful. Oven roast or air fry for a show stopping centerpiece during the holidays.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword best roasted chicken recipe, whole chicken for Thanksgiving, whole roasted chicken recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 480kcal
Author Tanya

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 4-5 lb whole chicken
  • 1 lemon sliced, fresh herbs, or stuffing (optional)

Instructions

Oven Instructions:

  • In a small bowl, combine kosher salt, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Set aside.
  • Remove the chicken from the packaging and any giblets. Dry the chicken with paper towels.
  • Season the outside of the chicken and under the skin with the dry rub mixture. Season inside the cavity as well.
  • Place in a baking dish or roasting pan and place in the fridge, uncovered, for 8-24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and remove the chicken from the fridge. If using stuffing, stuff your chicken at this time. If not, place lemon slices and herbs in the cavity. Truss the chicken at this time.
  • Once your oven is preheated, bake the chicken in the oven for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or 20 minutes per pound, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Add an additional 10-15 minutes if the chicken is stuffed.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.

Air Fryer Instructions:

  • Follow steps 1-4
  • Remove chicken from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. If using stuffing, stuff your chicken at this time. If not, place lemon slices and herbs in the cavity. Truss the chicken at this time.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place seasoned chicken in the air fryer, breast side down. Cook on 360 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Open the air fryer basket and flip the chicken. Then cook on 360 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 more minutes. Add an additional 5-10 minutes if the chicken is stuffed.
  • Your chicken is done when a quick read thermometer in the thickest part of chicken registers at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Allow chicken to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.

Notes

  • For the best results, allow the chicken to sit with the rub for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Allow the chicken to come up to room temperature before placing in the hot oven.
  • See below for the air fryer cooking instructions.
  • Allow the chicken to rest under foil for 15 to 20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.
  • If stuffing the chicken, the stuffing on the inside should register a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit when done.

Nutrition

Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 1462mg | Potassium: 462mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 324IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg
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Although myforkinglife.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will myforkinglife.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.

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