Learn How to Spatchcock a Chicken like a pro in 4 simple steps! This method is the best way to get perfect, juicy roasted chicken every time!

Carved spatchcock chicken on a white platter

I used to think that a whole roasted chicken was a meal reserved only for Sunday dinner, until I learned how to spatchcock a chicken.

This is one of the best cooking techniques, and it’s made it possible to prepare roasted chicken on the busiest weeknights.

This Roasted Spatchcock Chicken is one of my family’s favorite dinners, and I love that it’s a complete meal in just one pot!

Spatchcock chicken on roasting pan

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Say goodbye to dry chicken — spatchcock chicken results in perfectly juicy roasted chicken every single time!
  • It cooks up to 25% faster than traditional roasted chicken.
  • This method results in perfect, evenly cooked chicken.  With classic roast chicken, the breasts cook much faster than the thighs, which results in the breast meat drying out, but with this method, the thigh and breast meat are done at the same time.
  • Butterflied chicken means maximum exposure to the heat, resulting in a whole lot more crispy, golden brown skin.

Recipe ingredients

This recipe includes just a few simple ingredients, and may be customized a number of ways.

How to spatchcock a chicken ingredients and tools

Ingredient notes

  • Chicken. I typically use a 4 – 4 1/2 lb. whole chicken for this recipe, but any size will work. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your chicken.
  • Olive oil. I always use olive oil to promote golden brown, crispy skin.
  • Spices. I used a combination of smoked paprika and garlic powder, which is a simple way to add flavor. You may customize this spatchcock chicken with my jerk seasoning, bbq chicken rub or your favorite seasonings/herbs!
  • Kosher salt. The grains of kosher salt are larger than table salt, so less is needed. If you’re using table salt, decrease the amount of salt by about half.

How to make this recipe

You’ll learn how to spatchcock a chicken quickly and easily in the 4 simple steps outlined below! You can also use this method for my Spatchcock Turkey recipe.

Pro tip: Make sure to have sharp kitchen shears on hand, and save the backbone for chicken stock!

How to spatchcock a chicken

How to spatchcock a chicken collage -- removing the backbone
How to spatchcock a chicken collage -- flattening the chicken
  1. Place the chicken on a cutting board breast side down. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone.
  2. Turn the chicken around and cut along the other side of the backbone to remove it.
  3. Using a paring knife, make a 1/2″cut from the tip of the breast bone down on either side, which will make it easier to flatten.
  4. Turn the chicken over breast side up. Place your hands over the middle of the breast and press down hard to flatten.

Prep and cook the chicken

Prepping spatchcock chicken collage

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine.

6. Place the chicken on a large rimmed baking sheet and rub the olive oil mixture evenly over the chicken.

7. Bake for one hour, until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 175 degrees or the breast registers 160-165. Cover the chicken loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.

How to carve a spatchcock chicken

It’s even easier to carve a spatchcock chicken because it’s on a flat surface.

Pro tip: Always allow the chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.

See the diagram and easy instructions below:

How to carve a spatchcock chicken diagram
  1. Cut through the joints between the thighs and breasts to remove the thigh/leg portion
  2. Cut through the joints between the thigh and drumstick to separate
  3. Cut through the joints between the wings and breast to remove the wings
  4. Cut down the middle of the breasts and use a sharp paring knife to cut the along the breast bone on both sides to remove the breasts.

FAQs

What is spatchcock chicken?

Spatchcock chicken is simply butterflied chicken. The backbone is removed and the chicken is roasted, smoked or grilled flattened, which results in a more evenly cooked bird that’s ready 25% faster.

Why spatchcock chicken?

Spatchcock chicken cooks more evenly as it’s on a level surface, so the breast and thigh meat are done at the same time. The chicken also cooks 25% faster when butterflied, and because it’s on a flat surface, there is maximum exposure to heat, which results in more crispy, golden brown skin.

How to cook spatchcock chicken?

Spatchcock chicken may be roasted, smoked or grilled. A 4 lb. chicken is typically done in 1 hour when roasted or grilled at a temperature of 400 degrees, or 3-4 hours in a smoker at a temperature of 225-275 degrees.

How long to cook spatchcock chicken?

A chicken that weighs between 4 – 4.5 pounds will cook in about one hour in a 400 degree oven. For smaller chickens, begin checking for doneness after 45 minutes.

What to have with spatchcock chicken?

Serve spatchcock chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, roasted vegetables, sautéed greens, cornbread or rolls.

Recipe notes

  • Nutrition information will vary depending on the cut of chicken that’s eaten.
  • Pro tip:  Reserve the backbone and carcass for chicken stock!
  • A chicken that weighs between 4 – 4.5 pounds will cook in about one hour in a 400 degree oven. For smaller chickens, begin checking for doneness after 45 minutes.
  • Spatchcock chicken may be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  • Switch up this recipe by using jerk seasoning, bbq chicken rub or your favorite seasoning!
Carved spatchcock chicken on platter with rosemary

More chicken recipes you’ll love:

If you make this recipe I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Spatchcock chicken on roasting pan

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

Learn How to Spatchcock a Chicken in 4 simple steps! This method is the best way to get perfect, juicy roasted chicken every time!
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Ingredients

  • 4 lb. whole chicken giblets removed and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Place the chicken on a cutting board breast side down. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone.
  • Turn the chicken around and cut along the other side of the backbone to remove it.
    How to spatchcock a chicken collage -- removing the backbone
  • Using a paring knife, make a 1/2"cut from the tip of the breast bone down on either side, which will make it easier to flatten.
  • Turn the chicken over breast side up. Place your hands over the middle of the breast and press down hard to flatten.
    How to spatchcock a chicken collage -- flattening the chicken
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  • Place the chicken on a large rimmed baking sheet and rub the olive oil mixture evenly over the chicken.
  • Bake for one hour, until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 175 degrees or the breast registers 160-165. Cover the chicken loosely with foil and allow to rest for at least15 minutes.
    Prepping spatchcock chicken collage
  • How to carve spatchcock chicken: (1) Cut through the joints between the thighs and breasts to remove the thigh/leg portion; (2) cut through the joints between the thigh and drumstick to separate; (3) cut through the joints between the wings and breast to remove the wings; (4) cut down the middle of the breasts and use a sharp paring knife to cut the along the breast bone on both sides to remove the breasts.
    How to carve a spatchcock chicken diagram

Notes

  • Nutrition information will vary depending on the cut of chicken that’s eaten.
  • Pro tip:  Reserve the backbone and carcass for chicken stock!
  • A chicken that weighs between 4 – 4.5 pounds will cook in about one hour in a 400 degree oven. For smaller chickens, begin checking for doneness after 45 minutes.
  • Spatchcock chicken may be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  • Switch up this recipe by using jerk seasoning, bbq chicken rub or your favorite seasoning!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5pound, Calories: 522kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 42g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 170mg, Sodium: 595mg, Potassium: 446mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 564IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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