One-pot roasted chicken with chestnuts and crabapples is a simple and savory fall meal you’ll love. Perhaps the best part about it? You can use the ingredients to make amazing mashed chestnuts — they taste like mashed potatoes but better!
Our Asian chestnuts are producing loads of nuts right now and we also have a pile of foraged crabapples in our fridge. Thankfully, these two seasonal ingredients pair beautifully.
Chestnuts are sweet and starchy. Crabapples are a vastly under-appreciated food, in our opinion. Once baked in this recipe they’re like a combination of apples, cranberries, and almonds all in one.
So if you have chestnuts and crabapples handy, you’ve come to the right recipe!
What if you don’t have crabapples? Use the most flavorful apples you have, cut into large chunks. What if you don’t have chestnuts? Use chunks of sweet potatoes instead.
Serve as whole chestnuts or make into mashed chestnuts?
You can serve the finished baked chestnuts whole as a side if you need to get dinner on the table as soon as it comes out of the oven.
However, if you have a few extra minutes to spare, we’d highly recommend making them into chestnut-crabapple mash because it is absolutely delicious.
In fact, we think the resulting mashed chestnuts from this recipe are far superior to the best mashed potatoes we’ve ever eaten. Yes, we’ll show you how to make them!
What you’ll need to make one-pot roasted chicken with chestnuts and crabapples
You’ll need a large baking dish to make this recipe. (We used a 12″ long x 8″ wide x 3″ deep ceramic baking dish.) If you decide to make mashed chestnuts, you’ll also need a good blender or food processor.
Here’s every ingredient you’ll need to make this recipe:
- 5-6 lb whole chicken (weight of chicken will affect baking time)
- 10 ounces crabapples, or approximately 30 *large-sized crabapples (*For reference, a “large” crabapple is a little smaller than a chestnut.)
- 1 pound chestnuts (approximately 24 Asian chestnuts)
- 1 1/2 large white onion, cut into chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped (for stuffing inside chicken)
- 2 carrots, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (2 tbsp for coating chicken skin, 1 for coating other ingredients)
- 3 tbsp fresh thyme, measured minced (1 for chicken skin, 1 for stuffing inside chicken, 1 for other ingredients) OR 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 3 tbsp fresh rosemary, measured minced (1 for chicken skin, 1 for stuffing inside chicken, 1 for other ingredients) OR 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 lemon, cut into sections (for stuffing inside chicken)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
Recipe tips and process photos
1. Score your chestnuts to prevent chestnut explosions.
First, prep your chestnuts by carefully cutting an X in the top surface shell with a paring knife or chef’s knife. We prefer to use a chef’s knife (it’s faster and easier), and don’t mind cutting into the nut meat as you can see in the image below:
If you don’t score your chestnuts, the insides will expand as they heat, eventually causing the shells to explode.
2. Prep crabapples by cutting off base and removing stem, but leave seeds in!
Next, remove the stems and bases (aka calyxes) of your crabapples, but otherwise leave the fruits whole with seeds in.
But apple seeds contain cyanide!
Yes, apple seeds (including crabapples) contain small amounts of amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside. However, you’d have to eat somewhere between 150 to several thousand apple seeds to get a high enough dose of amygdalin to present a health risk. Since cooking also degrades amygdalin, there’s even less reason to be concerned by the small number of baked crabapple seeds you’ll eat in this recipe.
Plus, after baking, your crabapple seeds will release a wonderful almond flavor when you bite into them. (Almonds and apples are closely related, so this is not coincidental.)
Frankly, the baked crabapples are one of the highlights of this dish: they’re sweet, tart, complex, and utterly delicious. It’s like an apple crossed with a cranberry crossed with an almond.
3. Prep veggies & herbs, then add chestnuts, crabapples, oil, and spices
Next prep your other ingredients:
- chop carrots and onions into chunks;
- mince/finely dice your fresh thyme and rosemary, unless you’re using dried herbs;
- peel and chop garlic cloves and cut lemon slices (these will go inside your chicken).
Now, place carrots, onions, crabapples, chestnuts, and fresh herbs into bowl, then stir in the designated olive oil and salt. Next remove and set aside your chestnuts since those will be going in to the baking dish last.
4. Prep & truss your chicken, then assemble the dish.
Pat dry your chicken skin with paper towels to remove moisture and help get the perfect crispy skin. We had a toddler terrorizing us during meal prep, so neglected to do this — ugh!
Next, place chicken in your baking dish, then rub the skin with olive oil, herbs, and salt. Stuff lemon slices, chopped garlic cloves, and herbs into cavity.
Next, use kitchen twine to truss your chicken to hold it in ideal baking position. (See how to truss a chicken if you’ve never done it.)
Place trussed chicken in center of baking dish. Pour and hand-distribute other ingredients evenly around the chicken — except for chestnuts. Next, place chestnuts around the chicken X-side DOWN. Finally, pour white wine into dish.
Yes, we messed up as we were creating this recipe and placed our chestnuts X-side up. That meant they got a little over-cooked and dried out on the exposed bits. By placing your chestnuts X-side down, you’ll get perfectly cooked, soft moist chestnuts.
5. Bake to perfection with these tips…
Preheat your oven to 400ºF (204ºC). Loosely cover the entire dish with a sheet of aluminum foil, then place in oven for 20 minutes covered.
Then turn heat down to 350ºF (177ºC) and remove the foil so ingredients are uncovered. Let cook for an additional *2 hours or until thermostat inserted into breast reads at least 165ºF (74ºC).
*Important note: Your total bake time will vary depending on the weight of your chicken, how your oven bakes, and what type of dish you use. A simple meat/kitchen thermometer is the best way to know for sure when your chicken is done.
If your chicken isn’t quite crispy enough for your liking but the meat is cooked through, switch to broiler mode on your oven for 2-3 minutes to finish – watch closely the whole time so it doesn’t burn!
6. Make mashed chestnuts or serve whole?
As mentioned earlier, you can serve your chestnuts whole as a side alongside the baked crabapples, carrots, and onions. That’s a great meal!
However, we would suggest you instead turn them into mashed chestnuts because that’s a better meal — so good it warrants the extra 10 minutes.
Here’s how to make mashed chestnuts using the baked ingredients from this recipe:
- Let chestnuts cool enough that you can handle them. Then remove the nuts from the shells and testa (the inner skin).
- Place chestnuts in blender or food processor and pulverize into small bits.
- Now add crabapples, carrots, onions, and liquid from the baking dish to the blender until you get the desired taste and texture.
Here’s what our chestnut mash looked like in our Ninja when it was just right for our tastes:
This chestnut-crabapple mash is (currently) the best savory recipe we’ve ever made with our chestnuts. We hope you’ll try to make your own!
Recipe: One-pot roasted chicken with chestnuts and crabapples – with potential for mashed chestnuts!
One-pot roasted chicken with chestnuts and crabapples
One-pot roasted chicken with chestnuts and crabapples is a simple and savory fall meal you’ll love. Serve the finished chestnuts whole or use them to make a delicious chestnut-crabapple mash!
- 5-6 lb whole chicken (weight of chicken will affect baking time) (*Try to source free-range, humanely-raised chicken)
- 10 ounces crabapples, or approximately 30 large-sized crabapples (See pictures and notes in article for crabapple size reference)
- 1 lb chestnuts, approximately *24 chestnuts (*This is about 6 chestnuts per serving - chestnuts are quite filling, but you can add more to your dish if you want larger servings.)
- 1 1/2 large white onions, cut into chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped (for stuffing inside chicken)
- 2 carrots, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (1.5 tbsp for coating chicken skin, 1.5 for coating other ingredients)
- 3 tbsp fresh thyme, measured minced (1 for chicken skin, 1 for stuffing inside chicken, 1 for other ingredients) ALT: 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 3 tbsp fresh rosemary, measured minced (1 for chicken skin, 1 for stuffing inside chicken, 1 for other ingredients) ALT: 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 lemon, cut into slices (for stuffing inside chicken)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (3/4 tsp for chicken skin, 3/4 tsp for other ingredients)
Preheat oven to 400ºF (204ºC).
Score chestnuts then place in large bowl. Remove crabapple stems and bottoms, place in same bowl with chestnuts. Chop onions and carrots into large chunks, place in same bowl. Mince herbs and put 1 tbsp of both thyme and rosemary into same bowl. Add 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 3/4 tsp salt to bowl, then mix all ingredients together. Seperate out chestnuts into seperate bowl from other ingredients.
Chop garlic and slice lemons. Blot chicken skin dry with paper towels, then place in center of baking dish. Coat skin with olive oil, then 1 tbsp each minced thyme and rosemary, then 3/4 tsp salt. Stuff chicken with lemon slices, garlic, and remaining herbs. Truss chicken.
Put crabapple/carrot/onion mixture around chicken in baking dish. Then place chestnuts around chicken, X-side down on top of veggie-crabapple mixture.
Loosely cover dish with aluminum foil then place in 400ºF (204ºC) pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350ºF (177ºC) then uncover dish and bake for another ~2 hours. Bake time may vary, so use a meat thermometer to verify breast temp reading of at least 165ºF (74ºC) to know it's done.
Remove from oven and let cool. Serve chestnuts whole as side dish medley OR use instructions in article to make crabapple-chestnut mash (our recommendation!).
Other nutty and fruity articles you’ll love:
- Recipe: chestnut porridge, a simple & delicious sugar-free breakfast
- Recipe: Spruce needled-infused chestnut spread or chestnut mash
- Recipe: Chestnut flour crepes with beautyberry whipped cream
- How to grow organic chestnuts
- How to make chestnut flour
- Recipe: Fermented crabapple and beautyberry cider
- How to make roasted chestnuts on a stovetop | Web story video