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Weird name, amazing results: there’s no need to be intimidated by this spatchcock chicken recipe! Not only is it delicious, but it’s easier than it looks and it’s definitely my new favorite way to roast chicken. I’ll show you how to spatchcock a chicken, the best way to season it, how to roast spatchcock chicken in the oven, and my tips for carving it as well. Easy chicken dinner, here we come!
While this version may be my current favorite, be sure to add it to your simple chicken dinner rotation with other basics, like baked chicken breast and roasted chicken legs. When you want something a little more fancy – but still super easy! – take it up a notch with cheesy bacon ranch chicken, balsamic baked chicken thighs, or prosciutto wrapped chicken.
What Is Spatchcock Chicken?
Spatchcock chicken is another term for butterflied chicken. You essentially cut the chicken in two (but leave it connected) so that it’s flat.
Not only does baking a spatchcock chicken take less time to roast, but it also cooks more evenly and ensures that the light meat of the chicken doesn’t dry out, while the darker meat finishes cooking through. The cooking process is similar to roasted chicken and vegetables, but with extra flavor from leaving the skin and bones attached.
It’s one of the best ways to roast a chicken for maximal flavor and minimal time.
How To Spatchcock A Chicken
Before we get to roasting, we need to learn how to spatchcock a chicken. Don’t worry, while this chicken may look complicated, it’s actually quite simple:
- Cut away spine. Place chicken breast side down and use kitchen shears to cut away the spine, on both sides.
FYI: What to do with the spine? You can discard it, or use it to make gravy.
It will look like this with the spine cut away:
- Flatten. Use your hands to open chicken like a book, then flip it over, open side down. Push down on breast bone, which will allow the chicken to lay flat.
- Prep chicken for roasting. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet with rack, breast side facing up.
How To Cook Spatchcock Chicken In The Oven
Now that our chicken has been spatchcocked, it’s ready to season and roast:
- Make compound butter. Mash together parsley, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic with softened butter.
- Season underneath the skin. Separate the chicken skin from meat by running your hand in between the two layers. Spread dollops of compound butter underneath the skin and press down on top of skin to spread the butter throughout the chicken meat.
- Season on top. Drizzle the top of the chicken with olive oil, then season all over with paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Roast. Roast chicken for 40-50 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. (Temperature will continue to rise about 5 degrees after you take it out of the oven.)
- Rest. Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before carving – this will help it stay juicy.
How long to cook spatchcock chicken?
The exact spatchcock chicken cooking time will vary based on size of bird and exact oven temperatures, but for a 5 lb bird, it’s about 40-50 minutes.
How do you know when it’s done?
The best way to tell when your oven baked spatchcock chicken is done cooking, is when it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F – it will rise to 165 degrees as it rests.
Use an instant-read thermometer to be sure. Even better, I like to use an alarm thermometer like this, which will go off when the right internal temperature is reached. This is a fool-proof way that will leave you with perfectly cooked, juicy chicken every time.
How To Carve A Spatchcock Chicken
After you allow the baked spatchcock chicken to rest, it’s time to carve. Here’s the best approach:
- Cut off legs from the breast. (Both thigh and drumstick.)
- Separate drumsticks from thighs by cutting through the joint.
- Remove breast and wings from by running a knife along the breast bone and then rib cage to gently pull meat away from carcass.
- Separate wings from breast by cutting through skin and connective tissue where they meet.
- Slice breasts in half if desired and serve!
Tips For The Best Spatchcock Chicken Recipe
1. Season both under and over the skin.
We use butter underneath the skin and olive oil on top, since butter has a lower smoke point and is more prone to burning. It’s the best of both worlds.
2. Tuck the wing tips.
While you’re prepping the bird, tuck the wing tips underneath the breast if you leave them on, or cut them off, to prevent burning.
3. Roast on a rack.
Like many of my roasting recipes where I want a crispy result (see: bacon in the oven or bacon wrapped asparagus!), I highly recommend roasting spatchcock chicken on a baking sheet fitted with an oven-safe rack. Doing this increases the air flow around the chicken, making it cook more evenly and helping the skin crisp up on all sides.
4. Use a meat thermometer.
I mentioned this already, but can’t emphasize it enough! The key to juicy spatchcock chicken is to take it out at the right time.
5. Make it a sheet pan meal.
This isn’t required, but makes dinner that much easier! To turn this spatchcock chicken recipe into a sheet pan meal, chop your favorite vegetables while the chicken is in the oven and toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper.
When there is about 25 minutes left for the chicken (slightly before halfway through), very quickly take it out, arrange the vegetables around the chicken, and place back in the oven to finish roasting.
6. Let it rest.
While it’s awfully tempting to dig into the chicken the minute it comes out of the oven, but waiting 10-15 minutes will ensure your chicken stays nice and juicy.
Baked Spatchcock Chicken Storage Instructions
Can you make it ahead?
You can prep a few items ahead, but this spatchcock baked chicken recipe is best served right after cooking if you want it hot.
To prep ahead, spatchcock the chicken and make compound butter. You could also do all the buttering and seasoning up to a day in advance.
How to store leftovers:
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
Can you freeze it?
Yes, you can freeze leftover chicken. Carve and remove all of the meat from the bones before freezing.
How to reheat chicken:
Reheat the chicken in the microwave or a 350 degree F oven, just until warm, so that you don’t dry it out.
If you want it extra juicy and don’t mind an extra step, use the same method I use for reheating my prized reverse sear steaks: preheat the oven to 250 or 300 degrees F, place the chicken in a baking dish with a little broth at the bottom, seal with foil, and heat for about 10 minutes (for carved chicken pieces), or until warm.
What To Serve With Spatchcock Chicken
The best part about oven roasted spatchcock chicken is that it pairs with just about anything! Here are a few delicious ideas:
- Salads – Salad recipes such as Greek salad, wedge salads, or marinated artichoke salad all pair very well with whole chicken spatchcock.
- Vegetables – Veggies such as mashed cauliflower, roasted vegetables, bacon wrapped green beans all pair well with chicken.
- Soups – Soups such as creamy roasted cauliflower soup, Italian sausage kale soup, or vegetable soup pair well with spatchcock roast chicken.
More Easy Roasted Chicken Recipes
If you like this spatchcock roast chicken recipe, you might also like some of these other roast chicken recipes:
- Roasted Chicken And Vegetables – This healthy dinner is ready in just 35 minutes. It’s a delicious, flavorful, and a simple meal. Perfect for meal prep.
- Baked Chicken Breast – The best way to cook chicken breasts in the oven – they are juicy every time.
- Crispy Drumsticks – Just 10 minutes to prep this simple dinner. You’ll never bake them a different way again.
- Crock-Pot Chicken – No need for the oven for this roasted chicken recipe, it’s all done in the slow cooker.
Tools To Make Spatchcock Roast Chicken In The Oven:
Click the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Alarm Thermometer – A must for spatchcock chicken in the oven – and any other time you cook poultry or meat. It’s hands off and ensures you’ll take it out of the oven at just the right time. Alternatively, an accurate instant read thermometer like this also works.
- Baking Sheet With Rack – Using the rack ensures a crispy spatchcock roast chicken.
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The recipe card is below! Readers also made these similar recipes after making this one.
Spatchcock Chicken Recipe In The Oven
The complete guide for how to spatchcock a chicken - super EASY, step by step! Spatchcock roast chicken in the oven turns out perfectly juicy every time.
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Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C). Place an oven safe rack over a baking sheet.
If possible, let the chicken rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting. (This will ensure more even cooking.)
How to spatchcock a chicken:
Use your hands to open up the chicken like a book, then flip it over, open side down. Use the heel of your hand to push down on the chicken breast, which will crush the breast bone and allow the chicken to lay flat.
Transfer the butterflied chicken to the rack over the baking sheet, breast side up.
Make compound butter:
To make compound butter, mash together butter, parsley, Italian seasoning, and crushed garlic.
Run your hands under the chicken skin on the breast and legs to separate it from the chicken underneath. Place dollops of compound butter all over underneath the skin and then press down over the skin to spread around underneath.
Drizzle olive oil over the chicken, over the skin. Sprinkle with sea salt, paprika, and black pepper.
Roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes, until a thermometer in the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees F (71 degrees C). (Temperature will rise about 5 degrees while resting.)
Remove chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting into it.
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Serving size: 1/6 entire chicken
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Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Net carb count excludes fiber, erythritol, and allulose, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. (Learn about net carbs here.) We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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