Capon (Rooster) in Herb Butter

Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Italy on Christmas day in Lombardy which is Northern Italy, Capon (or rooster) is the traditional holiday roasted bird there and in our home we made both Capon for Dad and Mom's favorite meat and tradition was to roast Leg of Lamb.

This Region makes a roasted capon stuffed with a delicious chestnut stuffing and usually a roasted or boiled version of this delicious chicken.

Mom, being from Bari, always made a capon for Christmas herb coated and baked to perfection, this is her recipe.

The capon is a male chicken that is gelded or castrated, at a young age, and then fed a very rich diet of milk or porridge and is much larger than a chicken with extremely tender, juicy, and more flavorful meat.

Capon also makes one of the richest chicken soup broths I ever had using its carcass or when making the classic Wedding Soup the next day.

When serving this bird, mom would have chestnut stuffing (added to the recipe card below), potatoes, and carrots roasted and risotto.

No doubt this was a special Christmas meal only made on Christmas Day as Christmas Eve is the Feast of 7 Fishes and no meat in an Italian home.

Of course, you will find other additions to the table like Mom's lasagna, then for dessert, there was always struffoli, panettone, and zeppole.

Scroll down for the recipe and directions on how to make this fabulous Italian Traditional Capon Christmas Day meal.

this is rooster roasted for Christmas day

Other Regional Traditional Foods in Italy

In the Veneto region, polenta is made with the usual seasonal cod.

In Liguria, an elaborate Italian Riviera salad is made using colorful vegetables with a variety of fresh seafood.

The multi-layered salad comprises tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, lettuce, olive oil, tuna, and hard-boiled eggs, carefully decorated with fresh seafood ranging from white fish and prawns to crayfish and lobster it becomes a beautiful creative centerpiece for the table.

Tuscany, as is customary in Rome, the Christmas Day meal begins with wedding soup, followed by a classic favorite pasta dish like Lasagna and the meat of choice was always leg of lamb.

Since our Grandma, being from Rome Italy, carried on these traditions with our mom (from Bari) roasted lamb braised in garlic, rosemary, mint, oregano, white wine then served with rice or roasted potatoes and sometimes both were on our tables on Christmas Day.

Even when they came to America they carried on the traditions with lasagna, leg of lamb ending with a cake usually Panettone, from their family recipes.

Southern Italy their main dish for Puglia is Baccala with is a salted codfish.

Whether roasted or fried Baccala it's a staple on Christmas Eve.

Campania the key meal was eel grilled or fried.

On the southern Italian island of Sicily, a crusty baked pasta dish "Anelletti" which are baked pasta rings and is always on the menu.

The Calabria this Region always makes a traditional homemade pasta with a bolognese ragu sauce. the region presents the festive table with traditional homemade pasta in a ragù meat sauce.

The Basilicata Region enjoys a tasty festive dish making a fried cod with fried sun-dried peppers, which grow in abundance here and are ripened to their full sweetness, in the sun.

No matter the Region Italians are from, they continue their wonderful family traditions year after year and you can be sure you'll be having the best of the best foods prepared to celebrate the birth of Christ.

this is chicken AKA ROOSTER called capon roasted

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capon herb coating and injected with wine, butter and fresh herbs

Ingredients You Will Need to Make Capon

  • Capon
  • butter
  • salt, pepper
  • fresh cut lemons
  • lemon juice
  • wine
  • assorted fresh herbs
  • fresh garlic
  • water

this melted butter and herbs

Meat Substitutions for this recipe

  1. Chicken
  2. Cornish Game Hens
  3. Turkey Breast

this is roasted capon sliced and juicy

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packaged rooster

Pin for Later

this is a pin for later on how to make a roasted capon

How To Roast a Capon Best Tips

An 8-pound capon roasted at 375 degrees and should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees in about 2 hours oven times may vary.

When a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the capon's thigh reads 165 degrees, or the juices run clear you're assured it completed the process of cooking.

Wait at least 15 minutes before carving the bird after it's cooked, resting ensures a juicy bird.

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Yield: 8
Author: Claudia Lamascolo
Capon (rooster) in Herb Butter

Capon (rooster) in Herb Butter

Capon (or rooster) is a tradition in Italy, made on Christmas Day. This is a must in Lombardy, This recipe is herb butter and lemon.
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 2 HourTotal time: 2 H & 15 M


  • 1 whole (8 pounds) capon (rooster)
  • 1./2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 lemons, cut in half,
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup assorted medley of freshly chopped basil, parsley, tarragon, thyme, and dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 cups water 1/4 cup white wine or sherry
  • 4 potatoes cut up and 1 cup of carrots see notes for cooking methods
  • salt, pepper, and granulated garlic powder


  1. Clean the bird remove the giblets, (you can make stuffing to stuff the bird see below at the end for recipe)
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In a bowl, mix the melted butter with the smashed garlic, fresh herbs, and wine.
  4. Slather this along with garlic and add the lemons inside the bird., save some of the butter marinades for baking
  5. Place in a roasting bag and marinate this overnight or at least 3 hours before baking.
  6. Pour 2 cups of water in a roasting pan and set an oil sprayed baking rack for poultry set inside the pan
  7. Note: you can also use a bundt pan if the bird will fit and cover the hole with tin foil. Click here for bundt pan directions.
  8. Place the bird on the rack breast side down or on the bundt pan sitting up.
  9. Baste the entire bird with remaining herb butter.
  10. Generously sprinkle the bird with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.
  11. Note: you can boil the potatoes and carrots together or roast them in another pan seasoned the same way with herb butter salt and pepper and granulated garlic powder.
  12. Drop the oven temperature to 375 degrees and place the capon in the oven.
  13. This should take 2 hours to roast or until the internal temperature is at 165 degrees when completed cooking.
  14. Keep basting the bird with whatever herb mixture you have left.
  15. Rest the bird for 15 minutes before carving.
  16. Traditional stuffing recipe for Capon :
  17. 4 tablespoons butter
  18. 1 medium onion, diced
  19. 1 stalk celery,
  20. diced 4 ounces diced pancetta (or prosciutto or bacon)
  21. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  22. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  23. boiled chestnuts, chopped into large chunks
  24. 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
  25. 1 pound dried bread cubes (look for the bags in the bakery of your local grocery store)
  26. 1/2 cup minced parsley
  27. 2 cups chicken stock
  28. 1 teaspoon salt
  29. 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  30. Melt the butter, saute the onions with celery and garlic for a few minutes,
  31. Add all the ingredients folding in the chestnuts at the end.
  32. You can bake this inside the bird or in a separate pan ( we bake ours in another pan.) for around 35 minutes at 375 degrees.


How To Roast a Capon Best Tips

An 8-pound capon roasted at 375 degrees and should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees in about 2 hours oven times may vary.

When a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the capon's thigh reads 165 degrees, or the juices run clear you're assured it completed the process of cooking.

Wait at least 15 minutes before carving the bird after it's cooked, resting ensures a juicy bird.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)


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Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


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Pin for Later

pin for later capon roasted

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Chicken Francese

Baked Taste Like Fried Lemon Chicken Cutlets

Bundt Pan Roasted Chicken

Marry Me Chicken

this is chicken AKA ROOSTER called capon roasted