Spatchcocking—also called butterflying—involves removing the backbone of a chicken in order to flatten it, allowing it to cook more quickly and more evenly. The result is a roast chicken that cooks in 30 minutes.

In a whole roasted bird, the breasts cook faster than the thighs and legs, running the risk of drying out. Splitting and flattening literally levels the playing field, so the meat cooks at the same time. Plus, because this method exposes more surface area, there will be more crispy skin to go around.

You can spatchcock chicken, but you can also spatchcock turkey (a great timesaver for Thanksgiving), and the technique also works well on the grill (see our Piri Piri Chicken ).

Step-By-Step
How to Spatchcock

How to Spatchcock

Spatchcock Step 1

1. Set the chicken breast side down on a cutting board. Using sturdy kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone from top to bottom.

Spatchcock Step 2

2. Repeat the cut on the other side of the backbone, then remove and discard (or save for broth) the backbone.

Spatchcock Step 3

3. Spread the sides of the chicken, opening it like a book and flattening it as much as possible.

Spatchcock Step 4

4. Flip the chicken breast side up, then use your hands to press firmly on the center to flatten the bird. The breast bone may crack.

Spatchcock Step 5

5. If desired, the skin of the thighs and breasts can be loosed from the edges to allow seasoning to be rubbed under.

See below for two great spatchcock chicken recipes, and for more, check out these 17 chicken recipes that take less than an hour to make.

Bright. Bold. Saucy.
Piri Piri Chicken

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

2 1/2 hours

30 minutes active

See the Recipe
To get the crispiest skin, put some pressure on your bird
Georgian-Style Chicken Under a Brick (Tsitsila Tabaka)

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

2 hours

(50 minutes active)

See the Recipe