This Spatchcock Chicken Recipe is probably one of my favorite things to make for dinner (with leftovers to use in a variety of ways for lunch or dinner the next day!). It’s on rotation in my household about 2 to 3 times a month. It’s so easy to make, super cost effective and always results in the juiciest, crispy skinned roast chicken ever.
What is Spatchcock Chicken?
The term “spatchcock” is derived from an old Irish abbreviation of “dispatching the cock”. It’s a cooking method involving cutting out the backbone of the chicken so it cooks flat, resulting in a faster, more evenly cooked chicken with crispier skin.
Why You Should Spatchcock Your Next Chicken?
When you spatchcock a chicken it makes it lay flat, and therefore all the meat cooks more evenly. Usually the breast cook first, and then become dry while the rest of the chicken is cooking. By spatchcocking the chicken, you eliminate this issue.
How to Make Our Spatchcock Chicken
- Turn chicken breast-side down on a clean cutting board. Using sharp kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut out backbone of chicken. Turn chicken over and open back, so the legs are facing inward. Place palms over the center of the breastbone and firmly press down to crack. (this will allow the chicken to lay flat)
Rubbing and Roasting Process
- Preheat oven. Combine butter, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and garlic.
- Mash together until evenly combined.
- Rub half of butter mixture under chicken skin. Rub remaining butter evenly over chicken skin. Tuck wing tips behind chicken. Place prepared chicken into a cast iron skillet.
- Roast chicken. Remove chicken from oven and set aside to rest. Top chicken with thyme and chives.
Tools You Will Need
- cutting board
- mixing bowl
- wooden spoon
- kitchen shears
- measuring spoons
- 12″ cast iron skillet or baking sheet
Tips and Tricks for Spatchcock Chicken Success
- We recommend using sharp kitchen shears to cut the backbone out of the chicken. In general, a great pair of kitchen shears are an invaluable tool to have in your kitchen. This is one of favorite ones!
- Once the chicken has been spatchcocked, pat the chicken with a clean, dry paper towel before adding the butter. This will help the skin get nice and crispy.
- Make it a complete one skillet meal! Chop and toss some root vegetables in oil and season with salt and pepper. Place vegetables in an even layer in the skillet and top with chicken. The juices from the chicken will drip onto the vegetables as everything roasts, giving your vegetables really amazing flavor!
The cooked chicken will stay fresh in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for around 3 days.
To freeze: Place pieces of chicken into a resealable bag, with as much air removed as possible, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Avocado oil, which has a high smoke point, can be used in place of the butter for the rub
- Different herbs and spices can be mixed and matched depending on the preferred flavor of chicken – rosemary, sage, cilantro, cumin, coriander, orange zest, and lime zest are all great flavor options.
- This recipe makes a delicious roast chicken, that’s perfect for creating dishes from the leftovers! We love making pita pockets or chicken salad for lunch the next day. We also love shredding the chicken and adding it to soups and pastas for a little protein boost!
What to Serve with Spatchcock Chicken?
Aside from being simple and delicious, we love this recipe because it can be served with a large variety of things. Some of our favorite side dishes to serve with this spatchcock chicken are:
- Cheesy Root Vegetable Gratin
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
- Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- Classic Caesar Salad
- Lightly Roasted Green Beans
- Roasted Radishes
- Balsamic Grilled Baby Carrots
- Cheesy Potato Casserole
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- 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 4 1/2 pound whole chicken
- 1 teaspoon minced thyme
- 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
- Preheat oven to 450˚F.
- Place butter, salt, pepper, lemon zest, minced thyme, and garlic into a small bowl and mix together until evenly combined. Set aside.
- Turn chicken breast-side down on a clean cutting board. Using sharp kitchen scissors, cut out backbone of chicken.
- Turn chicken over and open back, so the legs are facing inward.
- Place palms over the center of the breastbone and firmly press down to crack (this will allow the chicken to lay flat).
- Using fingers, gently pull skin away from the meat throughout chicken. Then carefully and evenly spread half of butter mixture under skin of chicken.
- Rub remaining butter evenly over entire skin of chicken.
- Tuck wing tips behind chicken.
- Place prepared chicken into a 12” cast iron skillet, turning legs inward.
- Transfer skillet to preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes.
- Reduce temperature to 400˚F and continue to roast for an additional 50 to 55 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 165˚F when a thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the leg, and the juices run clear.
- Remove skillet from oven and allow chicken to rest, about 10 minutes.
- Top chicken with thyme leaves and sliced chives.