Once you spatchcock, you won’t go back to roasting whole birds! This juicy Spatchcock Chicken roasts in half the time of a regular whole chicken, and also cooks more evenly. It’s a perfect weeknight dinner staple, served on its own or with a side of Chimichurri Sauce and Roasted Carrots!

Spatchcock Chicken - On Wooden Board with Herbs

I know it has a weird name, and spatchcock chicken looks kind of weird too, but once you try it, you’ll be sold. This is truly the best way to make a whole chicken.

The meat comes out SO juicy and perfectly cooked, and you don’t end up with overcooked breast meat in order to get fully done dark meat.

Because everything is flattened out, all the different parts of the bird cook evenly. You don’t even need to brine it! Look how perfectly juicy this meat is:

Spatchcock Chicken Recipe - Cut To Show Juicy Breast Piece on Wooden Board

Spatchcock chicken, also referred to as butterflied chicken, only takes about 45 minutes to roast, when whole chickens usually take twice as long for required cook time.

Additionally, because all of the skin is exposed to the oven air, it has a chance to brown evenly. No soggy skin on the underside!

In this post we’ll be roasting the spatchcock chicken in the oven, but know that you can also throw it on the grill, which is traditional, or even on the smoker.

Tips for Best Results

Use kitchen shears – In order to flatten the chicken, you’ll need to cut the backbone out of the bird. Technically you could do this with a knife, but it’s a ton easier if you use kitchen scissors.

Pat the chicken dry – No matter if you’re marinating the bird or leaving it bare, you always want to pat the outside dry with paper towels. This will allow the skin to crisp better, and if you’re doing a marinade, it allows the flavors to soak in easier without getting watered down.

Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving – Just like most meats, you’ll still want to rest the chicken for 10 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and keeps them from running out onto the tray.

Step by Step Overview:

To begin, if you have the time, I recommend taking the chicken out of the fridge an hour before roasting. This takes the chill off the meat and makes for a juicier end result because it’s starting at a higher temperature, and therefore cooks less and dries out less. It is safe to leave meat out at room temperature for up to 2 hours, but 1 hour is plenty.

Flip the chicken to its backside on a cutting board, breast side down, and use kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone:

How to Spatchcock a Chicken - By Cutting Backbone with Shears

A good pair of poultry shears (affiliate) will only run you about $20 and is really handy for this task. It’s much easier than trying to use a sharp knife.

Cutting Backbone From Whole Bird

Save the backbone for stock!

You won’t need the backbone of the chicken for this recipe anymore, but what I do is throw it into a bag in the freezer to save for chicken stock or bone broth. Then when the bag is full, I will prepare a batch. Make sure to put the date on the bag for the first backbone you save. Store the backbones for up to 1 year.

Spatchcock Roast Chicken with Bone Cut Out on Board

To flatten the bird, press down firmly onto your work surface between the two breasts right along the breast bone, using the palm of your hand:

Pressing Bird Down to Flatten

If needed, you can further flatten the chicken by opening up the space between the two breasts, just by prying a bit with your hands.

Flattening Breasts Down with Hands

Now that the bird is flat, tuck the wing tips in, then it’s ready to be sprinkled with salt, black pepper, a tablespoon of oil, and whatever other herbs or spices you’d like. For crispy skin, I like to rub the chicken skin with ghee, though you may also use olive oil, or your fat of choice.

For seasoning, you can try a dry rub like Sazon Seasoning or Cajun Seasoning for a few of my homemade favorites. You can also brush on a layer of BBQ Sauce or any other sauce you enjoy.

Adding Pepper to Spatchcock Chicken on Board

How Long to Roast

A 4.25-lb spatchcock chicken takes about 45 minutes in the oven to get golden brown all over, and register 155 to 160F in the thickest part of the chicken breast, measured with a meat thermometer.

This is perfect, because the meat will rise another 5 to 10 degrees to 165F via carryover cooking. If you want juicy chicken instead of dry meat, it’s very important not to overcook here.

Place the entire chicken on a large rimmed baking sheet, ideally with room on the sides for any sputtering that happens from the skin rendering its fat.

Roast Spatchcock Chicken - On Sheet Pan with Golden Skin

Let your roast spatchcock chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving, so the juices can redistribute.

If you cut into it right away, all the interior juices will run out all over the tray, and the meat will be less moist. Patience is key!

Spatchcock Chicken Oven Recipe Cut Into Pieces And Served On Platter

How to Serve It

You can serve the roasted spatchcock chicken whole, or you can cut it up into pieces and serve on a platter as I do above. Potato GratinRoasted Brussels Sprouts, and Roasted Cauliflower are all great sides to serve with this recipe, but truthfully it goes with almost anything!

If you’d like to add a sauce, you can also serve it with Romesco, Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, or a drizzle of Basil Pesto.

Recipe Tips and FAQ

How do you store leftover Spatchcock Chicken?

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If the chicken is too big to fit in the container, cut it into pieces or take the meat off the bone.

Can you freeze leftover Spatchcock Chicken?

Yes! Keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, I recommend leaving in the fridge overnight before reheating.

How do you reheat leftover Spatchcock Chicken?

The best options are the microwave and the oven. The oven is a little better, because in my experience, the microwave reheats meat on the bone less evenly. If doing the microwave, heat in 30-second intervals at 70% power, until warmed through. If reheating in the oven, cook at 300F for 15 minutes, until warmed through.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.

Spatchcock Chicken On Wooden Board with Herbs

Spatchcock Chicken

Spatchcock Chicken roasts in half the time of a whole trussed chicken, and also cooks more evenly. It’s a perfect weeknight dinner staple!
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Ingredients

  • 4.25 lb whole chicken *
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil (or other high heat oil)**

Instructions 

  • This is optional, but if you have the time, I recommend taking the chicken out of the fridge an hour before roasting. This takes the chill off the meat and makes for a juicier end result because it's starting at a higher temperature. It is safe to leave meat out at room temperature for up to 2 hours, but 1 hour is plenty. I recommend testing for doneness 5 minutes earlier if you do this step.
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Use kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone, and discard or save it for chicken stock or bone broth.
  • Flip the chicken over and press down firmly between the two breasts, flattening the bird.
  • Pat the exterior skin all over with a paper towel, soaking up as much moisture as possible.
  • Season the meat all over with salt, pepper, and the herbs, then rub the oil evenly all over.
  • Place the chicken on a sheet pan (the bigger the better, so that any juices that splatter don't burn on the floor of the oven), and roast for about 40-45 minutes, until the breast registers at 160F. 
  • Let the meat rest for 10 minutes after roasting, so the juices can redistribute. The meat will also continue cooking slightly via carryover cooking, to our target of 165F. Serve, and enjoy!

Notes

*Any 4 to 5 lb bird will work, but the cook time will vary slightly. It’s best to use a thermometer to check for doneness.
**You can also do olive oil, melted ghee, melted duck fat, etc.
The nutritional information assumes that you will eat all of the skin.
Storing leftovers: Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If the chicken is too big to fit in the container, cut it into pieces or take the meat off the bone.
Freezing: Keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, I recommend leaving in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Reheating: The best options are the microwave and the oven. The oven is a little better, because in my experience, the microwave reheats meat on the bone less evenly. If doing the microwave, heat in 30-second intervals at 70% power, until warmed through. If reheating in the oven, cook at 300F for 15 minutes, until warmed through.

Nutrition

Calories: 529kcal, Protein: 43g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 173mg, Sodium: 744mg, Potassium: 447mg, Vitamin A: 485IU, Vitamin C: 6.2mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 2.2mg

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