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Thanksgiving chicken in a baking dish

Thanksgiving Style Chicken for a Smaller Group

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Teri Turner
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This Thanksgiving Chicken is perfect for a smaller holiday! It brings all the deliciousness of Thanksgiving flavors with a lot less work!


  •   1 whole (4 to 5 pound) chicken, brought to room temperature
  •   4 medium carrots, peeled, plus 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  •   4 stalks of celery, cleaned and trimmed, plus 1 stalk, finely diced
  •   ½ yellow onion, quartered, plus ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
  •   1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  •   1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  •   1 stick unsalted butter, softened and divided


  1.   Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2.   Note: if you didn’t allow your chicken to come up to room temperature before, you can preheat your oven to 175°F and warm the chicken ever so slightly for about five minutes, and then remove the chicken and continue preheating your oven.
  3.   Make a “mirepoix” mixture with diced carrot, celery, and onion (it should be about 1 ½ cups) and set aside.
  4.   Place 4 carrots and 4 celery stalks lengthwise in the pan and nestle the onion wedges between them. Add a sprinkle of salt and a swig of olive oil over them.
  5.   Salt the cavity of the bird and stuff the chicken with as much mirepoix as will fit. Place in the pan on top of the bed of vegetables.
  6.   Gently create space between the skin of the bird and the flesh by slowly wedging a finger or two between them, so as to not tear the skin. Smooth ½ stick of the softened butter between the skin and the flesh of the chicken, distributing as well as you can all over the breasts. Note: The butter should be very soft. If you haven’t allowed it to come to room temperature, and maybe even a little more than that, a tip to use is to put the stick in a bowl that will fit within a larger bowl containing very hot water. Keep the stick of butter dry.
  7.   Rub the remaining 1/2 stick of butter over the top skin of the chicken and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of poultry seasoning over the chicken.
  8.   Put the pan in the oven for about 2 hours. Do not open the oven as it cooks.
  9.   When the bird is starting to become nice and brown, turn the temperature down to 325°F. For us that was around the 45 minute mark but it could be an hour.
  10.   When the chicken is done, remove from the oven and let rest before carving.


This is intended to be a well-done,  fall-off-the-bone chicken. You want to roast for around 25 minutes per pound. Our chicken was about 4 to 5 pounds and we roasted it for two hours. When roasting, resist the urge to open the oven door. If you want to look at the chicken to see how it is roasting, take a peek through the window but keep the door closed!