This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
This cranberry roasted chicken is super fragrant and bursting with flavor. It's tender and juicy chicken infused with balsamic and fresh rosemary, served with a cranberry orange sauce. It's a simple recipe that's perfect for weeknights or special occasions, and it will fill your home with the most amazing aromas!
Here's an easy cranberry roast chicken recipe that looks impressive and tastes incredible. We coat the chicken in a balsamic rosemary butter to keep things moist and tender, and the cranberries simmer into a sauce as they cook in the oven. It's a one-pan dish with minimal prep time that's perfect for a special meal around the holidays.
This recipe uses just a few easy-to-find ingredients. Here's everything you need for the cranberry roast chicken:
- Whole chicken: we use a 3 pound whole chicken for this recipe. If you're cooking for a crowd, you could easily make two chickens or use turkey (and allow it to cook longer).
- Cranberries: fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries both work. As they cook, they turn into a juicy sauce you can spoon over the chicken when you serve it.
- Fresh rosemary: a sprig of fresh rosemary adds a herbaceous element to the chicken as it cooks.
- Large orange: orange is sweet and fragrant and marries wonderfully with the cranberries.
Here's what you need for the rosemary balsamic butter:
- Butter: we use real butter for richness and it works well for spreading on the chicken.
- Balsamic glaze: you can find balsamic glaze at most well-stocked grocery stores. It's a sweet, tangy, and flavorful syrup.
- Rosemary: a bit of fresh rosemary infuses the chicken with its earthy flavor.
- Sea salt + black pepper
- Orange zest: orange zest contains the oils from the skin. It tastes like the fruit but it's slightly bitter.
How to make cranberry roasted chicken
All you need to make this cranberry chicken recipe is a hot oven and a roasting pan. It's easy to throw together in a few simple steps:
- While your oven preheats, pat the chicken dry, and toss the cranberries and rosemary into the bottom of your roasting pan.
- Mix the butter ingredients together, and spread it under the skin of the chicken.
- Place the chicken on the cranberries, squeeze fresh orange juice over the chicken, and nestle the wedges into the pan.
- Pop it into the oven and roast it until it's cooked through.
- To serve, remove it from the pan, and make sure to spoon some of the amazing cranberry mixture on top.
What to serve with cranberry roasted chicken
This cranberry roasted chicken makes a show-stopping centerpiece on a holiday table. Pair it with delicious sides like our roasted garlic mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, and our festive Christmas salad with herbs, walnuts, and pomegranate.
How do I store leftovers?
Store any leftover chicken along with the cranberries in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also store leftover chicken in your freezer for up to a month.
Help! Why does the skin look burned?
Don't worry! Black skin doesn't equal burned skin. It's just the balsamic vinegar that turns the skin black (like you see in the picture). The first time we made it we panicked, too. Just keep this in mind so you don't worry when you open the oven. The black skin is very delicious balsamic skin.
Where did you get the inspiration for this recipe?
This recipe was inspired by our friend Lindsay's cranberry balsamic chicken thighs recipe.
Can I use other fresh herbs instead of rosemary?
Of course! Fresh thyme is another wonderful herb that works well with the flavors of this dish.
Do you have any other savory cranberry recipes?
Yes! Try these cranberry pork chops next!
- 3 lb whole chicken
- 2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- A few sprigs of rosemary
- 1 large orange
Rosemary Balsamic Butter
- ¼ cup butter (softened)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
- 2 teaspoons rosemary
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Zest from 1 orange (use the orange you'll use for the chicken)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Dry the skin of the chicken with paper towels. Place the cranberries and rosemary in a small roasting pan.3 lb whole chicken, 2 cups cranberries, A few sprigs of rosemary
- Mix the rosemary balsamic butter ingredients in a small bowl. Spread the butter under the skin of the chicken, being careful not to break the skin.¼ cup butter, 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze, 2 teaspoons rosemary, 1 teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, Zest from 1 orange
- Lay the chicken on the cranberries. Cut the orange into quarters and squeeze the juice over the chicken then nestle the quarters around the chicken.1 large orange
- Roast the chicken for 45 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue roasting for another 45 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and serve with the cranberries spooned over the top.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.