Last week I decided to plan a dinner party for friends before attending our local Halloween Haunted Trail later in October, and I decided to base this party on the Van Tassel Feast that Washington Irving wrote about in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. So I collected a bunch of recipes for food described in the book, and today’s recipe is one of my favorites. It’s unusual yet delicious. It’s a small whole chicken, with a few veggies, roasted in the oven while inside a whole pumpkin. When the chicken is done, you just slice through the roasted pumpkin to free the meat and veggies inside. Then you serve a slice of roasted pumpkin along with the chicken. It’s not just delicious, it’s fun!

Roasted Chicken in a Pumpkin

This is a fun recipe to make as well as serve. The trick is to get a small chicken that's a bit smaller than the pumpkin so the bird fits within the pumpkin's cavity. This is so easy to make and all the vegetables come out tender and savory. It also makes the kitchen smell like fall!

Course Main Course
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 6
Calories 419 kcal


  • 1 large pumpkin
  • 1 4-pound whole chicken
  • 1 large Vidalia onion chopped
  • 3 cups potatoes cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 large lemon cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme crushed
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Keep one rack in, at the lowest position.

  2. Cut a round top out of the pumpkin. Clean out all the strings and seeds.

  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the carrots, onions, and potatoes. Place have of the vegetables in the bottom of the empty pumpkin.

  4. Squeeze half of the lemon over the vegetables. Then sprinkle the minced garlic, salt, and pepper over the vegetables.

  5. Clean out the inside of the chicken. Rinse the chicken and dry it, inside and out, with paper towels. Place the other half of the lemon and the sprigs of thyme and rosemary into the chest cavity.

  6. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, onion powder, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, and salt. Pat the seasoning over the outside of the chicken, including the breast and legs.

  7. Put the chicken inside the pumpkin, neck down and bottom up. Make sure the lemon and herbs are looking up, not down. Tuck the rest of the vegetables around the chicken. Use a bit more salt and pepper on top and cover the chicken with the pumpkin lid.

  8. Place the pumpkin in a large roaster (or on a large baking sheet) and put in the oven on the lowest rack. Bake for 3 hours or until the chicken breast registers 180 degrees F.

  9. Take the pumpkin out of the oven and place on a heat-proof surface. Gently remove the lid, making sure you face it away from you so you don't get burned by the steam. Place the pumpkin on a carving block and then, with a sharp knife, cut the sides of pumpkin until the chicken is revealed.

  10. Serve the chicken immediately with the vegetables and a slice of roasted pumpkin.

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