Learn how to spatchcock a chicken and then roast it to perfection. This spatchcock chicken recipe leaves you with the juiciest herbed chicken meat and super crispy skin.
There are so many different ways to prepare chicken. We have so many delicious chicken recipes on FFF. We love chicken thigh recipes, easy chicken breast recipes, chicken casserole recipes and everything in between.
What is a spatchcock chicken?
A spatchcock chicken is a method of cooking a whole chicken where you remove the spine so that you can butterfly the chicken and cook it faster. Spatchcock chicken is sometimes called butterflied chicken; they’re one in the same.
When it comes too preparing a whole chicken we are huge fans of spatchcock chicken! Why spatchcock chicken?
- Spatchcock chicken is the best way to end up with crispy chicken AND juicy meat.
- You get an even roast when you spatchcock a chicken because everything is laid flat.
- Because the chicken is flat on a baking sheet or cooling rack, the cook time is faster.
- Since the chicken is already flat, it is easier to carve after it is roasted.
PS: check out our spatchcock turkey recipe for similar flavors!
How to Spatchcock a Chicken
Don’t be afraid to spatchcock your chicken. It is SO much easier than you think! There are really only 2 steps to get your spatchcock chicken flat.
Cut out the spine
Before removing the backbone of the chicken, make sure you have a pair of very sharp kitchen shears or poultry shears. It makes the this whole process easier than using a knife.
When you have a sharp kitchen shears, place the chicken flat on it’s breasts. Starting from the back of the bird, cut along one side of the spine of the bird. Then, repeat on the other side of the spine.
Once the spine is completely removed, the bird should fall open.
Chicken internal temp
According to the USDA, the safe cooking temperature for poultry is 165ºF.
Let rests: Remember that after cooking chicken let it rest for 5 minutes so that the internal temperature can continue to rise around 5ºF.
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Flatten the Chicken
After you have removed the spine from the chicken, flip the chicken over and spread the chicken out so that the opening of the chicken is facing the flat surface.
Place your hand on the middle of the chicken and press down so that the breast bone breaks and the chicken is flat on the surface.
That’s it! You have spatchcocked a chicken! Now it’s time to flavor and roast the chicken.
Don’t Skip the Dry Rub
Once you have spatchcocked the chicken, it’s time to rub the chicken with dry rub. Using a dry rub on the chicken skin helps flavor and crisp up the chicken skin. Here are the spices you need (these spices are very similar to the spices in our dry rub for chicken recipe).
Feel free to mix these spices together in a small bowl, or in a Mason jar if you’re making a large batch to save for later.
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Dried thyme
- Ground mustard
- Dried basil
- Ground black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Sea salt
- Brown sugar
Before rubbing this dry rub on the chicken, rub a teaspoon of salt under the chicken skin on the chicken meat. Then, mix all of the spices together and rub the dry rub all over and under the chicken skin.
After the chicken has been rubbed with spices, refrigerate the chicken uncovered for at least 2 hours (or overnight for best results).
Refrigerating the chicken helps the spices really absorb into the skin and helps to dry out the skin of the chicken (which makes it perfect for crisping).
Don’t Skip the Baking Rack
This is important! Do not skip the wire rack that the chicken is baked on. Baking the chicken flat on a rack within a rimmed baking sheet is crucial to crispy skin!
How to Make Roasted Spatchcock Chicken (Quick Guide)
- Prepare a baking sheet for the spatchcock chicken.
- Remove excess moisture from the chicken with a paper towel.
- Butterfly the chicken.
- Rub the spatchcock chicken with a dry rub.
- Refrigerate the chicken.
- Roast the spatchcock chicken.
The Secret to this Spatchcock Chicken
This spatchcock chicken has a delicious flavor secret—> the sauce! To make the delicious sauce for this chicken you place tin foil on the baking sheet and then place onion, garlic, fresh thyme, white wine, broth, and olive oil on the baking sheet.
The chicken will roast above these ingredients on a metal rack and all of the chicken drippings will drop onto the tin foil.
After the chicken has roasted, you will take this delicious sauce that has been simmering in the oven place it in sauce pan and add 1 cup of broth and simmer everything together.
When you serve the chicken, pour the sauce over the chicken for an amazing flavor blast of deliciousness.
Spatchcock Chicken Tips + Tricks
Spatchcock chicken and butterfly chicken are the same thing. Butterfly is just a fancy word for spatchcock.
The temperature recommendation for poultry is 165ºF. We like to take our chicken out around 160ºF, let it sit, and it continues to cook for a while after which leaves you with a juicy spatchcock chicken.
Meal Prep Leftover Spatchcock Chicken
One thing we love about spatchcock chicken is that there are usually leftovers! Store the chicken in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and use the spatchcock chicken in salads, soups, or any of your favorite chicken recipes!
Spatchcock Chicken Recipe
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- First, prepare the chicken seasoning. Mix together all spices and set aside.
- Next, remove the chicken from the packaging and place the chicken on a clean, dry cutting board.
- Remove excess moisture from the chicken with a paper towel.
- To spatchcock the chicken, set the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board and use very sharp kitchen shears to begin cutting down one side of the spine through the ribs and then repeat on the other side of the spine. Discard the spine.
- Flip the chicken over onto the chicken breasts and use your hands to press on the middle of the bird pressing down firmly to flatten the chicken.
- Place the chicken on a large plate and carefully separate the chicken meat from the chicken skin with your hand.
- Carefully rub 1 teaspoon salt on the chicken meat under the skin being sure the chicken meat is covered with salt.
- Next, season the whole chicken with the all purpose chicken seasoning. Be sure the whole chicken is covered (skin, legs, thighs, etc.). Then, refrigerate the chicken for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
- Place the onion, garlic, thyme, white wine, ½ cup of broth, and 1 tablespoon olive oil on top of the aluminum foil and sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
- Place a metal rack on top of the foil and vegetables and carefully place the whole chicken flat on top of the metal rack breast-side up.
- Rub the chicken with the additional 2 tablespoons of oil. Be sure to really massage the oil into the chicken.
- Place the chicken in the oven and bake at 425ºF for 35-45 minutes or until the whole bird has an internal temperature of at least 160º. Make sure to take the temperature at the thickest parts.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes. Your chicken should continue to cook 5ºF to make the internal temperature 165ºF.
- While the chicken is resting, prepare the sauce. Add all of the cooked vegetables, liquid, and herbs from the bottom of the pan into a small saucepan along with the rest of the broth (1 cup).
- Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn the heat to medium/low and add the lemon juice.
- Then, carefully sprinkle the cornstarch into the sauce and whisk. Let the sauce cook over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and discard the herb stems.
- Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce.
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Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.
This is my first time cooking a whole chicken in the oven and doing it spatchcock was less daunting. So happy that the recipe was a success the first time. I got crispy skin and juicy inside without brining the chicken. Would use the recipe again and will adjust the chilli powder to my liking. Thank you for this fabulous recipe!
I’m not usually a fan of this type of cuisine, but this recipe has completely changed my mind. The flavors are incredible and I’m already planning on making it again.
I can’t believe how simple and quick this recipe was to make, yet it tastes like it took hours! This is definitely going to become a regular in my meal rotation.
Very good…but don’t throw away that backbone! Use it along with the other bones to make a wonderful stock.
Just throw everything into a slow cooker with carrots, celery, or other veggies. Cover with water and cook on low for around 6 hours.
So easy, so good. The skin came out super crisp, and the chicken was very moist. Baked it for 30 minutes, then I brushed on some Nando’s sauce at the end, and baked it for 5 minutes. I will definitely make this again!
I didn’t follow this recipe exactly but the rub deserves 10 stars. This was so juicy and so crispy with a lovely flavor. Will be making it again!
My variation was to first cook skin side down on high heat in a preheated cast iron skillet. Then I flipped it breast side up to bake in the same cast iron skillet at 400 for 45 minutes. Drizzled some honey towards the end. Perfection!
Absolutely delicious. A definite keeper.
So happy to hear it!
A chicken lover want to say: it’s so delicious
The skin was beautifully crisp, but there were problems. The noted cooking time of 45 minutes, in reality was 110 minutes, plus another 30 minutes at 350. At 110 minutes, the chicken was still raw, even though my thermometer into the thigh read 160 degrees . I kept adding stock to the bottom of the pan, but 1/2 the veges were burned and half were still raw ( also at the 45 minute mark)
That so delicious.
Oh my gosh I really love this dish, but I don’t have enough ingredients at home right now. Do you have any alternative suggestions for me? Simpler formula for example?
Instead of dirtying a rack, use celery ribs as your ‘rack’. Adds a great flavor and less cleanup. Also, don’t throw away the back & neck! Save them in the freezer and use a few to make a great soup stock.
That’s such a great idea to use celery ribs, Joel! I’ll definitely be doing that next time I make this spatchcock.
This chicken is fantastic!!! I followed the recipe exactly and am so glad I did! The breast meat actually had beads of juice on the meat after i sliced it. And the skin was so crispy. This is the best chicken I have ever made. The only thing I will do next time, and there will be many next times, I will eliminate the red pepper flakes. But that’s just me. Thank you for the great recipe!!!!
Beauuuutiful chicken, Laura! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂
This is one of the best chicken recipes EVER! The butcher where I purchase my meat only charges .30 per lb more to spatchcock the chicken.
Red pepper and chili flakes may be a bit much for non-spicy eaters but I loved it just the way it is. I used sodium free broth mix and white grape juice (for wine) because I’m on a restricted diet. I did add a minimum of salt to the gravy, far less sodium than store bought broth. You would never know the difference.
I served roasted butternut squash, onion and brussel sprouts with 4 cloves of garlic chopped. No salt, just black pepper and olive oil. I then used the gravy to dip veggies in to get some saltiness on them. Living alone, I will be finding numerous ways to gobble this up.
This recipe is going to be used frequently! Great for company.
I would not recommend aluminum foil for most applications that involve long contact times with acidic foods like wine and lemon as aluminum is a heavy metal and leeches into the sauce.
I do not mind cleaning up a glass or steel baking pan.
I am going to pre roast some lemon potatoes in the oven first then place the chicken on a rack over them. The drippings flavor the potatoes and the chicken stays crisp.
This is my favorite way to cook a whole chicken now! THANK YOU.
Nice recipe!” I read this post. Your post is such a nice and your recipes are delicious . Thanks for sharing tasty recipes.
I’m not the best cook and thought, why not give this a try! It actually came out perfect. Everyone loved it including the kids. It was hard to find a 6 – 8 lb chicken. So I got two 4.5 lb chickens to feed the 4 of us. It was a good amount. We even have leftovers for a couple days. We had mashed potatoes on the side, and the sauce was so good on top of all of it. Everyone begged me to make this again!
* I let the chicken season overnight in the fridge. I think that’s what made it so juicy.
It seriously looks so delicious!!