Secrets To Making The Best Christmas Goose Recipe

Christmas goose recipes are still a thing. Make this year an old-fashioned Christmas feast with this festive roast.

Secrets to Best Christmas Goose
Photo: Getty/GMVozd

Along with the joy the holidays bring, there's also the stress, er, pleasure, rather, of planning an excellent Christmas feast. While in many homes, a ham is traditional, some prefer seafood, and there's no shortage of turkey, sometimes it's nice to really push out the boat and make a Christmas goose recipe.

Embrace an Old-Fashioned Christmas

Goose conjures images of an old-fashioned Christmas—even just the words "Christmas goose" make us feel festive. So, if you've gone to the time and trouble and expense to source a good, juicy bird, you'll want to make sure that you prepare it in a way that maximizes its potential.

You don't want to be stuck relying on side dishes and dinner rolls—no host or hostess wants that on Christmas. Do keep in mind that for an all-around crowd-pleasing meal, you'll definitely want to have a glance at our favorite sides and rolls—not that we think you'll mess up your goose.

Tips for Christmas Goose Recipes

  • Marinate your goose for maximum flavor. Whether that means a rub and a marinade, or just a marinade itself, start this in the morning so the bird has plenty of time in the bath.
  • Roast your goose in a very shallow water bath, which will allow the fat that renders to float to the top.
  • Make sure to remove the fat that renders off of your goose from the pan. DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY. It is wonderful on potatoes, vegetables, and pretty much anything else you can think of; if you want to save it, you can freeze it into ice cube trays.
  • Be sure to cook your goose until the thermometer (yes, you'll need a thermometer) reads 165° F. Safety first.
  • Stuff it–or not? The stuffing question is much like with a turkey: wildly divisive. If you want to stuff, stuff, if not, don't.
  • Decide for yourself. Some goose recipes call for a low-and-slow heat, some for a hotter heat up front, and then a reduction. Find the recipe that you feel most comfortable with, and keep in mind that oven space is precious on Christmas day, so you may want to consider this when choosing side dishes.
  • Consider using aromatics, many enjoy in-season citrus (such as orange) and herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage. Go with what you like. This is your goose.
  • Enjoy the amazing smell as the cooking bird infuses your kitchen with delicious smells. There isn't any scented candle in the world that can, well, hold a candle to the smell of a roasting goose.

Roast Christmas Goose


  • 1 fresh or frozen (12-pound) goose, giblets reserved

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 medium carrots, scrubbed and cut in half

  • 3 stalks celery, cut in half

  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

  • 1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs

  • 1 bunch fresh sage

  • 1 medium onion, cut in half

  • 8 sprigs flat-leaf fresh parsley

  • 1 dried bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Step 1

If goose is frozen, place it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Remove goose from the refrigerator, and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 400°F. Rinse goose inside and out with cold running water, and pat it dry with paper towels. Trim as much of the excess fat as possible from the opening of the cavity. Remove the first and second joints of the wings, and set them aside for use in making the stock.

Step 2

With the point of a sharp knife, prick the entire surface of the goose skin, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Fold the neck flap under the body of the goose, and pin the flap down with a wooden toothpick. Generously sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper, and insert two carrot halves, two celery-stalk halves, garlic, thyme, and sage. Using a piece of kitchen twine, tie the legs together. Generously sprinkle the outside of the goose with salt and pepper, and place it, breast-side up on a wire rack set in a large roasting pan.

Step 3

Roast goose in the oven until it turns a golden brown, about one hour. With a baster, remove as much fat as possible from the roasting pan every 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325°F, and roast until the goose is very well browned all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted into a breast, not touching a bone, registers 165° F per USDA recommendations, about 1 hour after reducing the temperature.

Step 4

Meanwhile, prepare goose stock, which will be used when making the gravy and the dressing. Trim and discard any excess fat from the wing tips, neck, and giblets, and place them in a small stockpot. Add four carrot halves, four celery-stalk halves, both onion halves, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, and enough water to cover the bones and vegetables by one inch (about 2 1/2 quarts water). Place the stockpot over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer stock, skimming the scum as it forms, for two hours. Strain stock through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Remove and discard the fat floating on the surface of the stock, and set the stockpot aside.

Step 5

Remove goose from the oven, and transfer it to a cutting board that has a well. Let the goose stand 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 6

Meanwhile, prepare the gravy. Pour off all the fat from the roasting pan, and place the pan over high heat. Pour in wine, and cook, stirring up any brown bits with a wooden spoon until the cooking liquid is reduced by three-quarters. Add two cups goose stock, and cook, stirring until the liquid is again reduced by three-quarters. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in butter, and cook until slightly thickened. Pass the gravy through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a gravy boat, and serve with the goose.

Dress Up Your Table

For something as special as a Christmas goose, maybe you need to consider a memorable table setting as well. Think layered plates, colorful linens, and a centerpiece that will bring it all together. Take a look at these ideas that will help you level up your holiday table.

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