How to Spatchcock a Chicken

at a glance
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
5 — Votes 2 votes

Every item on this page was chosen by The Fed & Fit team. The site may earn a commission on some products (read more here).

This is going to forever change the way you roast a chicken. A spatchcock chicken will roast faster and will get crispy chicken skin on the entire bird. Season however you like and prepare to be amazed at how easy this is!

A cooked spatchcocked chicken rubbed with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper in a white casserole dish next to two lemon halves.

When I first heard the term “spatchcock chicken,” I thought that it sounded like a fussy, unnecessary way to roast a chicken. The method intimidated me (I have to cut WHAT?) and I didn’t see the benefit. Then, I tried it …and I was blown away. It’s much easier than it sounds, it cooks FASTER, and instead of having about 1/2 of the chicken skin crispy (while all the skin that faced down in the pan is soft), the whole bird was crispy. The seasoning stayed put on the whole bird (vs melting off) and it was …more delicious!

I was sold and I bet you will be, too.

Spatchcocking your chicken is the ultimate roasted whole chicken hack. Why, you ask? Let me tell you!

  • It’s faster – a spatchcock chicken only roasts for about 50 minutes vs. a regular whole chicken that takes almost an hour and a half. So, with a little bit of extra effort on the front end, you save 40 minutes of cooking time – amazing, right?
  • It’s delicious and crispy – even more than saving time, the fact that the skin on the entire chicken (seriously, the whole thing) gets a crispy finish will keep me coming back to this method over and over again.

Ingredients You’ll Need For Spatchcock Chicken

You actually don’t need much for a really delicious roasted whole chicken (and in this case, spatchcocked pre-roast). Aside from the chicken itself, I’d be willing to bet that you have everything on the list in your kitchen already. Here’s everything you’ll need:

The ingredients for spatchcocked chicken: a whole chicken, two lemons, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper on a marble countertop.
  • 1 whole chicken, patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons of butter or ghee, softened
  • 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons, halved

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

A person cutting the spine out of a whole chicken using scissors.
A raw whole chicken with the spine cut out on a large orange cutting board.
A person using their hands to press down on a chicken to spatchcock it.
A raw spatchcocked chicken rubbed with butter on an orange cutting board next to black scissors.
A raw spatchcocked chicken rubbed with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper in a white casserole dish next to two lemon halves.
A cooked spatchcocked chicken rubbed with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper in a white casserole dish next to two lemon halves.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Spatchcock the chicken – to spatchcock the chicken, I recommend using kitchen shears (sharp scissors like THESE). Turn the chicken over so that it is breast-side-down on a cutting board. Slide your scissors along one side of the spine (inserting at either the top or the bottom of the cavity), and cut along the side of the spine. Repeat this cut along the other side of the spine until you can totally remove the spine from the chicken. Discard the spine (or save it to make broth). With the chicken still breast-side-down on the cutting board, use your hands to press the bird as flat as possible, putting your weight over the thighs to press them down. To help the chicken lay more flat, use a sharp knife and slice (from inside the cavity) about 1/4 of an inch into the sternum (right between the breasts). Flip the chicken over and prepare to season.
  3. Season the chicken – to season the chicken, pull the skin on the breast and legs away from the meat. Using either a spoon or your hands, push the butter under the skin and spread it out as much as possible. Repeat until you’ve used all the butter. Then, sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
  4. Bake – place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan (or large heavy-bottomed pot). Bake at 375°F uncovered for 50 minutes. Be careful to watch that the skin doesn’t burn.
  5. Let rest, then serve and enjoy – once the chicken is finished baking, set it aside to rest for 5 minutes. Then serve and enjoy!

How Long To Roast A Spatchcock Chicken

Your spatchcock chicken will roast for about 50 minutes at 375°F. We’ve found that this temperature/time combo yields the most delicious crispy-skin, juicy-meat spatchcock chicken.

At what temperature is spatchcock chicken done?

As with any cut of chicken, you’ll want to roast your chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. The easiest way to keep track of the temperature is to use an in-oven thermometer. Using one of these handy gadgets allows you to constantly monitor the temperature of your chicken while it’s roasting vs. having to pull your chicken out every few minutes to test it for doneness.

Do I Need Special Tools for Spatchcocking?

The only special tool you’ll need for spatchcocking a chicken is a nice sharp pair of kitchen shears. I recommend buying a good pair (THESE are great and really affordable) and keeping them in your kitchen only (no arts and crafts for these bad boys!).

A cooked spatchcocked chicken rubbed with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper in a white casserole dish next to two lemon halves next to a plate with a chicken leg, lemon wedge, fork, and knife on it.

Tips for the Perfect Spatchcock Chicken

  • Fold the wing tips back so that they don’t burn.
  • Season your chicken really simply with salt and pepper (vs. using other spices), because in order to get the crispy skin, you have to cook it for a long time and that will cause other spices to burn.
  • Make sure that you don’t skip the step of flattening the chicken by breaking the breast bone, because if it isn’t flat, it’ll take longer to cook.
  • Tent the spatchcock chicken with foil if it is starting to brown too quickly.
  • Use ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil instead of butter, if you prefer.
  • Any large pan will work. Use whatever you have – a baking dish or a large skillet. You do not have to use a roasting pan. Just make sure that it can fit the chicken while it’s flat!
  • Add flavor with roasted citrus. Citrus (especially lemon) won’t burn, so it’s a healthy way to add more flavor at the end. A whole head of garlic would be delicious too!

How To Serve Spatchcock Chicken

Serve your spatchcock chicken alongside a veggie and a starchy side. Here are some of our very favorite options:

Starchy Sides

Veggie Sides

Salad Sides

A cooked spatchcocked chicken rubbed with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper in a white casserole dish next to two lemon halves next to a plate with a chicken leg, lemon wedge, fork, and knife on it.

Should you brine chicken before spatchcocking?

You can absolutely brine your chicken before spatchcocking it (we actually prefer a dry brine to a wet brine), but it isn’t a must for a delicious, juicy spatchcock chicken. If you do decide to go this route, you can skip the salt that this recipe calls for (just rub the chicken down with butter and sprinkle with pepper before popping it into the oven).

Which side of a spatchcock chicken goes up?

When you’re actually spatchcocking your chicken, the back side will face up, but you’ll want it to be breast-side-up while it’s roasting.

How much does spatchcocking reduce cooking time?

A whole chicken that hasn’t been spatchcocked takes between an hour and 15 minutes and an hour and a half to cook at 375°F. A spatchcock chicken, on the other hand, only takes about 50 minutes. That’s some significant time savings!

More Favorite Chicken Recipes

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

By: Cassy Joy Garcia
5 — Votes 2 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients  

  • 1 whole chicken patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons butter or ghee softened
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons halved

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Place the chicken on a large cutting board and turn it over so that it is breast-side-down. Slide your scissors along one side of the spine (inserting at either the top or the bottom of the cavity), and cut along the side of the spine. Repeat this cut along the other side of the spine until you can totally remove the backbone from the chicken. Discard the spine (or save it to make broth).
  • With the chicken still breast-side-down on the cutting board, use your hands to press the bird as flat as possible, putting your weight over the thighs to press them down. To help the chicken lay more flat, use a sharp knife and slice (from inside the cavity) about ¼ of an inch into the sternum (right between the breasts). Flip the chicken over and prepare to season.
  • To season the chicken, pull the skin on the breast and legs away from the meat. Using either a spoon or your hands, push the butter under the skin and spread it out as much as possible. Repeat until you've used all the butter. Then, sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan (or large heavy-bottomed pot). Bake at 375°F uncovered for 50 minutes. Be careful to watch that the skin doesn't burn.
  • Once the chicken is finished baking, set it aside to rest for 5 minutes. Then serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
How to Spatchcock a Chicken
Amount per Serving
Calories
142
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
11
g
17
%
Saturated Fat
 
6
g
38
%
Cholesterol
 
49.1
mg
16
%
Sodium
 
1771.9
mg
77
%
Carbohydrates
 
2
g
1
%
Fiber
 
0.2
g
1
%
Sugar
 
0.6
g
1
%
Protein
 
9
g
18
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe Notes

Tips for the Perfect Spatchcock Chicken
  • Fold the wing tips back so that they don’t burn.
  • Season your chicken really simply with salt and pepper (vs. using other spices), because in order to get the crispy skin, you have to cook it for a long time and that will cause other spices to burn.
  • Make sure that you don’t skip the step of flattening the chicken by breaking the breast bone, because if it isn’t flat, it’ll take longer to cook.
  • Tent the spatchcock chicken with foil if it is starting to brown too quickly.
  • Use ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil instead of butter, if you prefer.
  • Any large pan will work. Use whatever you have – a baking dish or a large skillet. You do not have to use a roasting pan. Just make sure that it can fit the chicken while it’s flat!
  • Add flavor with roasted citrus. Citrus (especially lemon) won’t burn, so it’s a healthy way to add more flavor at the end. A whole head of garlic would be delicious too!
Meet the Author
Cassy Headshot

Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
Get to know Cassy

Show us!

Did You Make This Recipe?

Share a photo and tag us! We can’t wait to see what you make!

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating