If you have never cooked a Spatchcock Chicken, then you don’t know what you’re missing! It is surprisingly easy to remove the spin to flatten the bird, season with lemon, garlic, and herbs, and roast for a perfectly delicious dinner. And this method takes half the time of a normal whole chicken, so you have a quick weeknight meal ready to go!

Season spatchcock chicken with garlic herb butter and lemons.

The first time I ever had a spatchcock chicken recipe was at one of my good friend’s house.

After watching as she prepared, roasted, and then served up this gorgeous bird, I had to try it for myself!

And just as I had hoped, it was so super easy to do.

But the best part? Since you open the chicken up and flatten it out, it cooks up in almost half the time that a normal roasted chicken recipe would!

(You can learn even more detailed information about How to Spatchcock Chicken.)

Thanks to a good bit of butter, garlic, and fresh herbs, this main dish is not only quick to make, but also makes an absolutely delicious addition to your weekly dinner rotation! (Or you could even try it for a fancy dinner party!)

A whole chicken, butter, garlic, and herbs are the main ingredients for spatchcock chicken.

Ingredients

To make this Spatchcock Chicken recipe you need:

  • Chicken. Try to stick with one between 3.5 and 4 pounds, otherwise it will take too long to cook and the skin will end up burning before the chicken is cooked through.
  • Butter. This will be mixed with herbs to season under and over the skin.
  • Oil. Avocado or olive oil can be used.
  • Garlic. Finely minced garlic adds a pop of flavor to the chicken.
  • Herbs. Fresh rosemary and thyme are essential! While you can sub in dried herbs, the outcome definitely won’t be the same. Be sure to chop before measuring. (You can also use poultry seasoning or try a substitute for poultry seasoning.)

How to Make Spatchcock Chicken

These are the steps to follow to make this Spatchcock Chicken recipe:

Remove the Spine

You need a clear, open space on your counter along with a large cutting board. Grab a sturdy pair of kitchen or kitchen shears and a sharp knife, as well.

Place the chicken on the cutting board with the breast side down and the spine up.

Use the kitchen shears to make cuts along each side of the spine. Be sure to go along the entire chicken.

Be careful to stay near the backbone and avoid cutting the ribs and meat. It should be easy to remove the spine and discard it in the trash. If any juice drips, wipe it up with a paper towel and sanitize.

Flatten the Bird

Use a sharp knife to score the breastbone. This step makes it easy to flatten the chicken.

Flip the chicken over. Use the palm of your hand to firmly press the bird down.

You should hear a pop, this is the rib cage cracking. The chicken will look like a butterfly with the thighs and wing tips out to the side.

Cover with Garlic Herb Butter

While you can season a spatchcocked chicken in a variety of ways, it is super delicious with this garlic herb butter!

Simply mix softened butter with oil, lemon juice and zest, paprika, garlic, herbs, and salt.

Use your fingers and a spoon to rub half of the butter mixture under the skin near the breasts. Melt the other half in short increments in the microwave. Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter over the skin.

Roast in Oven

Preheat the oven to 425℉.

Place aluminum foil or parchment paper over a rimmed baking sheet. This will make cleanup a breeze. Then set a wire rack inside the baking dish to keep the bird off the pan so air can circulate underneath.

Set the seasoned chicken breast-side up on the rack. You can also season after you set it on the wire rack.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. If your chicken is bigger than 4 pounds, it will take closer to an hour.

When a thermometer in the thickest parts read 165℉, the chicken is done!

Serve and Enjoy!

If you have enough drippings, then you can always throw together gravy.

But even if you don’t, you can easily make gravy without drippings.

You can pair this roast chicken with your favorite sides, like sautéed green beans or Instant Pot mashed potatoes, and enjoy!

Serve spatchcock chicken at your next party.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: You can prepare the chicken up to one day early. Store it wrapped in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
  • To Store: Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • To Freeze: Only freeze cooked chicken if it didn’t sit at room temperature long. Remove the meat from the bones before placing it in a freezer-safe bag. It should keep for up to 4 months.
  • To Reheat: You can warm the chicken back up in the microwave.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already gluten-free as written.  Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Dairy-free: Replace the butter with a dairy-free version or oil.
  • Whole30: Skip the garlic herb butter and season with herbs and oil only.
Spatchcock chicken is impressive and easy to prepare.

FAQs

What is the point of a spatchcock chicken?

When you spatchcock a chicken, it cooks more evenly so the breasts and thighs finish at the same time. The meat stays juicy while the skin gets golden brown and crispy.

Does spatchcock chicken taste better?

Many times, spatchcock chicken does taste better than traditionally cooked whole chickens because it cooks more evenly, ensuring tender meat.

Is spatchcock chicken healthy?

When you prepare spatchcock chicken with healthy ingredients like garlic and herbs, it is a delicious and good-for-you dinner.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Be picky. Choose a chicken that weighs between 3½ and 4 pounds, so it cooks evenly.
  • Dig in. Use the kitchen shears to really cut into the spine area so you can remove it.
  • Push hard. Don’t be scared to press on the chicken to break the ribs in order to flatten it.
  • Feel the pop. You should hear a crack when the chicken is pressed hard enough.
  • Get underneath. Be sure to push the seasoned butter underneath the skin and around the breasts for the most flavor.
A seasoned and baked chicken is on a serving dish.

What to Serve with Spatchcock Chicken

Serve this perfectly seasoned and juicy chicken with any of these healthy sides:

More Chicken Recipes

Chicken is so versatile, try one of these delicious recipes next:

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5 from 1 vote

Spatchcock Chicken Recipe

If you have never cooked a Spatchcock Chicken, then you don't know what you're missing! It is surprisingly easy to remove the spin to flatten the bird, season with lemon, garlic, and herbs, and roast for a perfectly delicious dinner.
Yield 10 servings
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 45 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 3 ½ lbs. whole chicken whole
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt divided
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Garlic Herb Butter:

  • 5 Tbsp. butter softened
  • 2 Tbsp. oil olive or avocado
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 tsp. thyme and rosemary fresh, finely chopped

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place the chicken on a cutting board with the breasts facing downwards and the spine upwards.
  • Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the spine across the length of the bird. Try to stay as close as possible to the spine to avoid cutting too much into the ribs and meat.
  • Score the breast bone with a knife and then flip the chicken over. Press down with the heels of your hands to crack the ribs and flatten the bird. Place the chicken on a wire rack that is on top of an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the butter, oil, lemon juice and zest, paprika, garlic, herbs, and ¾ teaspoon of salt. Place half of it under the skin next to the breasts. Melt the remaining half and use a pastry brush to spread it over the skin.
  • Sprinkle the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper over the entire chicken.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, depending on size.

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5 from 1 vote

Video

Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: You can prepare the chicken up to one day early. Keep it wrapped in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
  • To Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • To Freeze: Only freeze cooked chicken if it didn’t sit at room temperature long. Remove the meat from the bones before placing it in a freezer-safe bag. It should keep for up to 4 months.
  • To Reheat: You can warm the chicken back up in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 423kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 135mg, Sodium: 446mg, Potassium: 316mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 0.1g, Vitamin A: 493IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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