Learn how to Spatchcock a Chicken for roasting – it is perfect for busy nights as it can be quickly prepared, and is so easy making it ideal for entertaining! Enjoy the traditional flavours of a Roast Chicken in less time – no advanced preparation is necessary. Tender, juicy chicken and crispy skin – this Butterflied Roast Chicken is a crowd-pleasing recipe.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
There are few meals more comforting than a traditional roast, but many can be time-consuming, and not suitable for busy weeknights.
However, with a spatchcock chicken, also known as a butterflied chicken, you can have a roast dinner on the table in about one hour.
If you have not previously tried a Spatchcock Roast Chicken, it is easier than you may think and we have a detailed description to help you achieve it.
You will love this recipe because:
- The chicken is flattened so it cooks quickly and evenly.
- All of the skin is exposed meaning that it all becomes golden and crispy.
- It cooks in less time than a traditional roast chicken.
- You can adjust the herb and spice seasoning to suit your taste.
- It is easy to carve.
- You can make a one-pan meal by cooking it on a sheet pan along with squash, peppers, cubed potatoes or other veg of your choice, tossed with a little additional olive oil.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Chicken – my preference is a free-range chicken, of medium size, about 2 kg (4.4 pounds) which will feed 4 people.
Olive oil – use good quality olive oil for the best flavour. The oil helps keep the chicken flesh moist and the skin to become crispy.
Dried oregano – we have chosen a simple herb flavouring, but you could switch it up by using other herbs or blends.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to season the chicken.
Brown/yellow onion – for extra flavour, we sit the spatchcock chicken on some sliced onion.
Step by step instructions:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Prepare the tray:
Remove the chicken from the fridge about 15 minutes before you prepare it to bring it to room temperature. This will help it to cook quicker and more evenly.
Preheat your oven and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with non-stick baking paper. Add sliced onion to the centre of the tray for the chicken to lay on.
1 and 2 – Remove the backbone:
On a chopping board, place the chicken breast-side down with the legs toward you.
Using poultry shears, cut along each side of the backbone. Remove the backbone and set it aside for another use.
3 – After the backbone has been removed:
Your chicken will look like this once the backbone has been removed.
4 – Flatten the chicken:
Turn the chicken over and spread the legs. Place the palm of your hand across the centre of the breast and press down hard so the chicken lays flat.
Tuck the wings under the breast and pat the chicken dry using paper towel.
5 – Season the chicken:
Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and rub it into the skin. Sprinkle the skin with combined dried oregano, sea salt and black pepper and rub into the skin.
Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and set the chicken aside to rest for about 10 minutes.
6 – Serve:
Serve the Spatchcock Roast Chicken with side dishes or your choice, and enjoy!
Tips for success and FAQs:
To spatchcock a chicken, you do need a good pair of kitchen shears. However, if you have good, sturdy, sharp scissors, they may do the job in a pinch but will require more effort. Alternatively, your butcher may do it for you.
To spatchcock (or butterfly) a chicken means that the bird is flattened when cooking. This ensures that all the skin is exposed. The skin becomes golden and crisp all over and the flesh cooks evenly. As well, the meat cooks in less time than a traditional roast chicken, making it perfect for busy nights. There is no need to truss the chicken to hold its shape, and it is easier to carve.
Don’t discard it. Put it in a freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Keep it until you have enough chicken pieces or the carcass from your spatchcocked chicken, and make stock to use in soups, stews or sauces.
Yes, you can prepare it up to 3 days in advance. Store it in the refrigerator, well covered in cling wrap and remove it from the fridge about a half-hour before you intend to cook it.
You can add flavour by cooking the chicken on top of sliced lemon, sprigs of herbs or garlic cloves. As well as sliced onion, I sometimes add some carrot and celery under the chicken. Or, use the herbs of your choice, such as Italian or Greek spice blends or fresh rosemary.
Butterflied Chicken Cooking Time:
One of the great advantages of a Spatchcock Roast Chicken is that it cooks faster and more evenly than a traditional roast chicken.
In this recipe, a 2 kilo (4.4 pound) chicken cooks in about 50 minutes, making it ideal for days when time is short, yet providing the flavours we enjoy.
As well, the flattened chicken has all the skin exposed, and this means golden crispy skin all over. Who doesn’t love that?
Serve our delicious Spatchcock Roast Chicken alongside one or several of these tasty side dishes:
- Honey Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
- Whole Roasted Baby Potatoes
- Rocket, Pear and Parmesan Salad
- Or, serve alongside a delicious bowl of Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta
More delicious recipes for you to try:
Our Spatchcock Roast Chicken is a perfect family meal or ideal for easy entertaining. If you’re a fan of a tasty chicken dinner, be sure to try some more of our favourite recipes:
If you have not previously made Spatchcock Roast Chicken, you will be delighted by how easy it is. It is a comforting dish, ideal for family meals or suitable when entertaining as it is always a crowd-pleaser. And having learned this technique, you can use it for all poultry, from quail to turkey. Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!
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How To Spatchcock a Chicken
- Strong Poultry Shears – or sturdy kitchen scissors
- 2 kg (4.4 lb) whole chicken See Note 1
- 1 tablespoon olive oil See Note 2
- 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano See Note 3
- 1 teaspoon coarse kitchen salt See Note 4
- ½ teaspoon black pepper – freshly ground
- 1 medium brown/yellow onion – peeled and sliced into ½ cm (¼") pieces
For accuracy, we recommend weighing your ingredients. This will produce the best results.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge about 15 minutes before you prepare it so that it cooks quicker and more evenly. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C (400 F).
- Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.Add the sliced onion to the centre of the tray for the chicken to lay on.
- On a chopping board, place the chicken breast-side down with the legs toward you.As a cutting guide, you may like to use a sharp knife to score the chicken skin before you start.
- Using poultry shears, starting from the end of the chicken nearest you, cut each side of the backbone, positioned in the centre of the back. You will be cutting through bones from the tail to the neck. Remove the backbone and set it aside for homemade chicken stock.
- Turn the chicken over and spread the legs. Place the palm of your hand across the centre of the breast. Place your other hand on top of your first hand and press down hard. You will hear a cracking sound. If not, repeat and press harder.The chicken should lay flat so that the meat cooks evenly.
- Tuck the wings under the breast and pat the chicken dry using paper towel.Lay the flattened chicken on top of the onion slices.
- Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and rub it into the skin.In a small bowl, combine the dried oregano, sea salt and black pepper.Sprinkle over the skin and gently rub evenly into the skin.
- Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes.To test for doneness, insert the tip of a sharp knife between the thigh and the breast. If the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked. Alternatively, insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. It is cooked when it registers 75 degrees C (165 F).
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and set the chicken aside to rest for about 10 minutes. Carve and serve.
- If there should be any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze leftovers in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.Keep the carcass to make homemade chicken stock.
- Chicken: you can use a chicken smaller or larger than the one we have used – adjust the cooking time accordingly. To check that the chicken is cooked, insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. It is cooked when it registers at 74 degrees C (165 F).
- Tablespoon: we use a standard Australian tablespoon which is 20 ml (4 teaspoons).
- Herbs: use another herb, or combination of herbs if you prefer.
- Salt: use coarse kitchen salt. Fine table salt is not suitable as it is too concentrated.
The nutritional information is an estimate only, and is derived from online calculators. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients and brands you use.
This spatchcock chicken is my go-to Sunday dinner whenever I have company over. It’s fast, easy, and always impresses my guests. This time I added potatoes and carrots to the onions and it was fantastic! I’m planning on making this for Thanksgiving instead of the usual turkey. 🙂
Hi Melinda, thank you for your lovely comments on the Spatchcock Chicken. I am delighted to hear that you and your guests have enjoyed it and that you have plans to make this for Thanksgiving. I appreciate that you took the time to let me know. 🙂
Thank you so much for your easy to follow directions. I’ve always wanted to know how to make chicken like this. I succeeded and it was delicious!
Hi Becky, thank you for your feedback on How to Spatchcock a Chicken. I am so pleased that you found the instructions easy to follow. 🙂
This was a really great post. I have always wondered how to spatchcock a chicken and this post really made me brave enough to try! Great flavor and turned out tender and juicy. Will definitely make again!
Hi Karen, I am delighted to hear that our post on Spatchcock Chicken inspired you to make it yourself. I am so pleased that you enjoyed it. 🙂
Thanks for that; appreciate the lesson. Dave.
Hi Dave, thank you so much for your feedback. I am so delighted to hear that you liked our post on Spatchcock Chicken. 🙂
My chicken turned out absolutely juicy and tender! I was a bit intimidated at first but butterflying the chicken was easier than I thought and saved me so much baking time. I added some garlic cloves to get roasted garlic to serve with bread. This was a delicious dinner!
Hi Cailey, thank you for your feedback on our Spatchcock Chicken; I am so pleased that you found it easy. What a great idea to add some garlic cloves to roast and serve with bread. Delicious! 🙂