With perfectly crispy skin and juicy meat, this oven-roasted spatchcock chicken is the most foolproof method for roasting an entire chicken FAST.
Nothing is more satisfying than roasting a whole chicken, and the spatchcock method is my favorite.
If you are new to this, spatchcocking involves removing the chicken’s backbone and flattening the poultry. Don’t be intimidated by its fancy name, though. Like our air fryer whole chicken or instant pot whole chicken, it’s super easy to make!
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Why spatchcock a chicken?
Because it is flattened, spatchcocked chooks cook more quickly and evenly. We are roasting it today, but it’s easy to grill, sear, or even smoke.
It’s one of my family’s favorite dinners which feels so fancy yet is deceptively easy. You’ll love it, too, because:
- It is so fast. Like a spatchcock turkey, without lengthy marination or complicated brining, you get the fastest and most delicious chicken every single time.
- It is a crowd-pleaser. This chicken is the perfect centerpiece for a holiday dinner, a simple weeknight meal, or even a casual Sunday roast.
- Perfect texture. Compared to a traditional roast chicken, this method guarantees the crispiest skin every single time, and the quicker cooking time results in super moist and juicy meat.
- It’s healthy. Because the poultry is flat, there is no need to add any excess oil or butter for roasting. It makes the perfect foundation of a healthy dinner.
With no brining or marinating needed, the ingredient list is very minimal and features a handful of everyday spices. Here is what you’ll need:
- Whole chicken. Always choose a fresh, good-quality chicken. When cooking an entire chicken, I prefer to get them from my local butcher because they typically do not ‘plump’ the chickens (injecting them with salt water and/or chicken broth to increase their shelf life).
- Lemon zest. Some form of citrus zest is needed to balance out the strong seasonings and spices used. I prefer lemon, but orange or lime will also work.
- Brown sugar. Adds a subtle sweetness and also caramelizes the exterior for that gorgeous crispy skin.
- Spices. Smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground mustard seed, ground black pepper, and salt. I also like to add a touch of chili flakes but that is completely optional.
- Herbs. Dried thyme and basil. Never use fresh herbs when roasting meat, as it will char the exterior instead of crisping it up.
How to spatchcock a chicken
As mentioned earlier, this spatchcock chicken recipe is pretty much foolproof. Once prepped and seasoned, the oven takes care of all the hard work.
Step 1- Make the spice mix. Combine all the seasonings in a small bowl with zest of lemon.
Step 2- Prep the chicken. With kitchen shears (poultry shears), cut one side of the spine through the ribs and then repeat on the other side of the spine. Discard the backbone.
Step 3- Spatchcock the chicken. Flip over the chicken, open it, and press on the chicken breasts.
Step 4- Season the chicken. Dry the chicken skin with a clean paper towel and rub the spice mixture on the chicken, pressing down the spices.
Step 5- Roast the chicken. Place the chicken on a baking sheet, breast side down, and bake for 40 minutes.
Step 6- Rest, slice, garnish, and serve. Rest the chicken for 15 minutes on a cutting board before slicing and serving.
Tips to make the best recipe
- If the top of your chicken gets crispy and dark, but the chicken is not cooked through, cover it with foil and roast until done.
- Allow the chicken to warm to room temperature for 25-30 minutes before baking. This cooks the chicken more evenly and completely.
- Probe the thickest part of the chicken breast with an instant read meat thermometer. When the temperature registers 160°F, your chicken is ready!
Flavor and recipe variations
Like any roasted poultry, you can easily change up the flavor with a few simple swaps. Here are some ideas:
Butter it up! Mix the herbs and spices with softened butter to make a compound garlic butter, and rub them under the skin and the chicken surface before baking.
Make a gravy. Collect the pan juices from the cooked chicken by deglazing the baking tray, and cook it with chicken stock, herbs, and a touch of flour.
Use different spices and herbs. Blend fresh garlic, chilies, vinegar, parsley, and olive and make a delicious marinade for a hot chicken.
Make. it meal. As we do with our sheet pan chicken and veggies, layer potatoes, carrots, and turnips on the baking tray. Season with salt, pepper, herbs, and spices, place your chicken over it, and bake as suggested. The chicken juices will seep into the veggies and make for flavorful glazed veggies. It also makes automatic side dishes.
To store. Refrigerate the chicken leftovers in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
To freeze. Slice your chicken as desired, place it in a freezer-safe bag, remove as much air as possible, and freeze for up to three months.
To reheat. Warm the chicken in the oven for 10-15 minutes until warmed through. You can also use a microwave.
More delicious baked chicken recipes to try
- Baked chicken breast
- Baked chicken tenderloins
- Baked chicken legs
- Peruvian chicken
- Baked chicken thighs
Frequently asked questions
Yup! Butterflying is just a fancier name for spatchcocking.
Grilling works for this kind of chicken. All you need to do is grill it over direct heat for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through the cook. Then, grill it covered under indirect heat until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160F.
One way to ensure crispy skin is to salt your chicken before baking. Tenderize it overnight in the refrigerator uncovered so it air dries. When ready to bake, pat dry any excess salt bits and roast.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/450F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except for the chicken.
- Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, spatchcock the chicken. Cut one side of the spine through the ribs and then repeat on the other side of the spine.
- Flip the chicken over and flatten it out, pressing down on the chicken breasts. Pat dry any moisture with a paper towel.
- Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken and press the spices inside the skin.
- Transfer the chicken onto the greased baking sheet and roast for 40 minutres.
- Let the chicken rest on a chopping board for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
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