How to Spatchcock a Chicken (With Video)
Spatchocked chicken is a great way to cook a whole bird. Not only do you get an even cook, but it’s a much quicker process! Read on to learn how to spatchcock a chicken.
This Is the Ultimate Way to Cook a Whole Chicken.
When it comes to roasting a whole chicken, spatchcocking is the way.
When you roast a chicken whole, some parts, like the breasts, cook faster than others. By the time your legs and thighs are cooked, your breasts will have lost that sought-after juiciness and tenderness.
But when you spatchcock a chicken? The whole bird cooks evenly—and in less time!
What Is a Spatchcocked Chicken?
To put it simply, a spatchcocked chicken is a chicken that’s split open and cooked.
You’re basically butterflying the chicken by removing the backbone with kitchen shears, flipping it over, and pressing the chicken down into an even layer. This ensures an even cooking time for all parts—breasts, thighs, and legs.
Useful Tools You’ll Need:
- Kitchen shears
- Paper towels
- Baking sheet
Here’s How to Spatchcock a Chicken.
- Remove any packaged gizzards or pouches from the cavity of the chicken.
- Place the chicken onto a baking sheet breast-side down.
- Gently pat the chicken all over with paper towels to absorb excess moisture.
- With the chicken breast-side down, look for the base of the backbone at the opening of the cavity of the bird.
- With your kitchen shears, cut along the side of the backbone until the end, then cut along the other side of the backbone to detach it completely. It’s normal to have to give some force at times since you’re cutting through bone. You’ll also hear crunch-like sounds, which is normal.
- Once you remove the backbone, you can store it safely for chicken stock instead of discarding it completely!
- With the backbone removed, carefully flip the chicken over and press down firmly on the breast bone to flatten the chicken into an even layer. You may hear the breastbone pop—that’s okay.
- Turn the thighs/legs outward.
- Oil it up, season it, cook it, and enjoy!
Put these skills to use with my Lemon Herb Spatchcocked Chicken!
How to Cook a Spatchcocked Chicken.
You can grill or roast a spatchcocked chicken! You could probably even pop one into the air fryer, honestly. I haven’t tried that yet, but it’s on my list, so I’ll come back to report.
- Preheat the oven to 475º F.
- Oil and season the. bird well—I like to let mine sit and marinate at room temperature for an hour or so (you can safely let your poultry sit out at room temperature for two hours, according to the USDA).
- Pop it into the oven for about 40 minutes.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat.
- Generously brush the grates with high-heat oil, like pure olive oil.
- Once the grill reaches temperature, place your oiled and seasoned chicken onto the grates skin side down. Cook it until the skin is golden and crispy; this should take about 5 minutes.
- Bring the heat to low and carefully flip the chicken over. Grill the chicken until all of the skin is golden and crisped and a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165º F. This entire process should take about 45 minutes.
Have You Tried Spatchcocking a Chicken?
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Get the Recipe:
How to Spatchcock a Chicken
- 1 5 lb whole chicken
- Kitchen shears
- Baking Sheet
- Paper towels
- Remove and discard any packaged gizzards or pouches from the cavity of the chicken. (Or save them for chicken stock).
- Transfer the chicken onto a baking sheet breast-side down.
- Pat the chicken gently with paper towels to get rid of any excess moisture.
- Make sure the chicken is breast-side down. Look for the base of the backbone at the opening of the bird. Now with your kitchen shears, cut along the side of the backbone until the end of it. Then cut along the other side of the backbone to remove it completely. You may have to give it some force since you're cutting through cartilage; crunching sounds are also to be expected.
- After removing the backbone, store it safely for chicken stock instead of throwing it out!
- With the backbone removed, carefully flip the chicken over and press down firmly on the breast bone to flatten the chicken into an even layer. You may hear the breastbone pop—that's normal; turn the thighs/legs outward.
- Oil and season the bird, cook it, and enjoy!
114 Comments on “How to Spatchcock a Chicken (With Video)”
You have given lots of tips and information in this post, steps are clear with images! Thanks.
Thank you for the tips on how to cook the whole chicken through evenly. I’d like to try the grilling method this summer!
yes, me too!
Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe – it makes the whole process so easy to recreate. Delicious!
Happy that this helped!
This is so good to know! Thanks for the thorough directions- I’m going to try making my first spatchcock chicken this weekend.
Let me know how it goes!
Roasted chicken is a favorite in my home. I made spatchcock chicken for the first time over the weekend and it was fabulous. It was tender and juicy and full of flavor.
Your steps were so clear and concise! I didn’t know spatchcocking a chicken could be so easy!
It is SO SO easy ;)
I love spatchcock chicken but have always been intimidated to make it. But your instructions were so easy to follow and it turned out perfectly. Thank you!
Thrilled to hear this, Kristen!
Ok I have to admit I’ve been nervous to cook a whole chicken like this but your recipe made it easy! Thank you for the clear directions!
Happy to hear it, Liz!
Thanks for these helpful instructions – really easy to follow.
Love detailed steps on how to spatchcock chicken. Thanks for sharing
Thank you for such detailed instructions! You’ve made it so much easier than I thought!
You’re welcome :)
We were invited to a Friendsgiving and they served spatchcocked turkey. It was so good so I wanted to try it for chicken. I love all the details you included. I’ll try it for dinner tonight.
Hope it worked out well!
Great instructions! Was just wondering about how one goes about this.
Hope it helped!
One of my favorite way to cook chicken. Your detailed steps are very helpful here.
Happy to hear it!
I needed this! Thanks for the great tips! It came out great. Definitely will use this technique again!
I used this chicken recipe last night and it was so helpful! It couldn’t have been easier, thanks for sharing!
I’m so glad!
I’ve always been a little afraid of spatchcocking chicken but this made it feel so easy! Thank you for all the notes and step by step photos – it really helped to be able to see what it should look like at every step. Will definitely add to the dinner rotation!
You’re very welcome, Jessie! I’m so glad this was helpful. It’s so easy once you do it!
Wow – I never imagined it would be so easy! Thanks so much for the thorough instructions and video.
You’re welcome! I’m glad this was helpful.
We have only attempted to do this once, and it turned out fantastic. The meat was tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside. The presentation is perfect too.
Yes! Super easy and we love the presentation.
Now I indeed know how to spatchcock a chicken…and why I should! Thanks for sharing!
You’re so welcome!
Loved the detailed instructions and video. Thanks for sharing.
Great video. Easy and to the point on how to spatchcock a chicken. Much easier than I thought it would be.
Game changer. Thanks for this tutorial!
Thank you for the clear instructions and video! I have never tried spatchcocking a chicken before, but am going to try for Thanksgiving!
Sounds good, keep me posted on how it goes!
This is so good to know! I’m making a chicken this upcoming weekend and planning to try to spatchcock it for the first time.
Let me know how it goes!
This is such a helpful guide! Definitely going to try my hand at it and spatchcock a chicken for dinner this week!
Yes! You’ll feel so accomplished, haha. Let me know how it goes :)
Such a great way to prepare a chicken and cook it so easily. Perfect for the barbecue too.
Now this looks like it makes the perfectly cooked chicken. So many great tips here too.
This was such a unique and easy way to prep a chicken! Turned out perfectly moist and tender; easily, a new favorite recipe!
I’m so glad!
What a great way to make chicken. I love the instructions. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for the detail instructions on how to spatchcock a chicken. You made this a lot easier than I thought. It came out very tasty. Everyone loved it and some even asked me for the recipe so I shared this :)
I’m so glad, Min!
A very thorough and detailed recipe that makes this dish seem easy! Thank you.
Thanks for your tips and video on how to nail spatchcocking the chicken. It was really flavourful too
I’m so glad!
I’ve always been intimidated to spatchcock a chicken, but your recipe makes it so easy! Thanks for sharing!
I’m so glad!
I never knew how much easier this process can be! Thank you so much for the helpful tips and step-by-step guide.
Quick? Easy? Delicous? I’m sold! This is the perfect method and recipe in my books!
I always wanted to know how to spatchcock chicken, and it was really easy with your step by step instructions.
Glad this was useful!
What a step by step I always wanted to learn how to cut the chicken like this!
Happy to help!
Great tips! I love to use this process for so many roasted chicken recipes. So much easier to cook and cut!
I have always wanted to know how to do this! Thank you so much for the step by step instructions. :)
This is such a game changer! How did I not ever do this before! LOVE this method!
Isn’t it awesome?
Your tutorial was so helpful! Thanks so much for sharing!
Thank you so much for this tutorial! You saved the day, or rather dinner tonight! It was helpful and easy to follow
I was looking for a recipe like this, thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to try it soon!
Keep me posted!
Spatchcock chickens are my favourite but I’ve never done one myself before. It’s so worth learning and now I can make it all the time.
Totally! I plan on doing one once a week or so. It’s so easy and you get nice leftovers.
This was such a helpful guide! I can’t wait to use it!
So happy you found this helpful!
Spatchcocking a chicken is one of those things I’ve always been hesitant to try because it seemed so complicated. You make it looks so easy, especially with the video. I’m definitely trying it now!
I thought the same. Never had the confidence to think I could carve away a bone, haha. But here we are!
Thanks so much for this easy step-by-step; your directions make the whole spatchcocking process clear and concise. Thank you!
I’m glad! You’re welcome, Renee!
My grandmother used to do this all the time and I’d forgotten all about it until now. Definitely going to use this method next time I make a whole chicken.
Women of that time always knew best :)
Oddly enough, I saw Martha Stewart do this once on a TV segment, and I’ve always wondered why someone would do that. Now I know it’s to make it cook evenly! (Blonde moment!) Thanks for the tutorial. I am definitely going to try it!
You’re welcome! Let me know when you give it a go.
I’ll never cook a chicken whole again. This is super simple to do and I love that everything cooks evenly. Thank you for the step by step directions and video.
I love how quickly spatchcock chickens cook compared to normal ones. Great when your kids are starving! Thanks for these great tips.
Ooooh, I have seen this done, but having tried to spatchcock a chicken myself yet. Such detailed instructions and I especially appreciate the video.
Let me know if you give it a shot, Tara!
This is really good!! My family really loved when I tried this out! Such a perfect tutorial! Thanks!
Glad it turned out!
These are the best instructions on spatchcocking a chicken that I have ever seen. Thank you for sharing!
I’m so glad you found this helpful, Elaine!
Such a great way to make chicken! Thank you!
Have fun! :)
This is such a great tutorial, thank you so much!