This Spatchcock Chicken recipe is our favorite way to roast a whole chicken. The butter rub mixed with herbs, spices, garlic, and lemon ensures it’s always golden, delicious, and juicy. Pair it with optional roasted radishes and Brussels sprouts for a seasonal feast the whole family will love!
Spatchcock Chicken Recipe
I’m using my oven more lately and bidding a sad farewell to my grill until next summer because from hereon it’s definitely looking a lot more like roast chicken weather than grilled shrimp kabobs, you know? And, when it comes to roast chicken, this spatchcock recipe is one of my favorites!
What is the spatchcock method?
Essentially, spatchcocking means “butterflying” a whole chicken or laying the chicken out flat. First, the chicken’s backbone is removed, usually with kitchen shears. From there, you can open the chicken out like a book, with the thighs and wings to the sides and the breasts in the center. Some people also trim off the wing tips to prevent burning. I just tuck them underneath the chicken, which works 100% of the time. Finally, lay the chicken on a grill or a sheet pan, and you’re ready to go!
Ingredients For Spatchcock Chicken
- Whole Chicken: This recipe makes one 4 to 4 ½ pound chicken.
- Butter: Soften about 3 tablespoons of butter to rub all over the chicken.
- Garlic: I use fresh garlic for a bright and intense taste.
- Lemon Zest: Rather than using lemon juice, zest gives a subtler lemon flavor.
- Garlic Powder and Onion Powder: These spices have a less sharp but intense and savory flavor.
- Dried Oregano and Thyme: I like to use half a tablespoon of each of these.
- Paprika: This spice adds an earthy flavor and a deeper color when the chicken browns.
- Salt and Pepper: About half a teaspoon each, or to taste.
- Radishes: Wash and trim the radishes and cut them in half. You can substitute potatoes or turnips.
- Brussels Sprouts: Cut in half.
- Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper: For tossing with the veggies, to season.
How to Roast Spatchcock Chicken
- Prep the Oven and Make the Seasoned Butter. Preheat your oven to 425˚F. In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, minced garlic, lemon zest, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Spatchcock the Chicken. Place your chicken, breast-side-down, on a cutting board. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut out the chicken’s backbone, cutting right through the ribs along each side. Cut out the backbone all the way up and remove it. Turn the chicken over and press down firmly in the center of the breasts to flatten it. Some of the small bones will crack.
- Butter the Chicken. Using your fingers, carefully pull the skin away from the meat. Spread half of the butter mixture under the skin and onto the meat. Smooth the skin back into place. Then, rub the rest of the butter mixture across the top of the skin and all over the legs, thighs, and wings.
- Roast. Place the chicken in a large cast iron skillet, turning the legs inward and tucking the wing tips behind the chicken. You can also snip the wing tips off. (If you don’t have a large enough cast-iron skillet, use a baking dish or sheet pan instead.) Roast the chicken for 45 to 55 minutes, or until done.
Spatchcock Chicken with Vegetables
- Prep the Oven and Chicken, and Begin Roasting. Follow the recipe as written, however, instead of placing the chicken in a cast iron skillet, place it on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes.
- Prepare the Veggies. Wash and cut the veggies, then toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- Add the Vegetables to the Sheet Pan and Finish Roasting. Pull the baking sheet out of the oven, arrange the veggies all around the chicken, and roast for 20 to 25 more minutes or until the chicken is done.
- Customize: This chicken is also wonderful slathered with barbecue sauce, spiked with ginger and sweet chili sauce, or just about any other flavorings you can think of.
- Flatten It: You want your chicken flat so give the breast a good press until you hear it crack, or use a meat tenderizer to get the job done.
- Check the Temp: Start checking the chicken if it’s cooked at around 40 minutes with a meat thermometer. Aiming for 160°F at the breast center can give you a juicy bird, but remember it’ll keep cooking a bit after you pull it out.
- Don’t Waste: You can reserve the backbone and wing tips for making broth. You can keep them in the freezer and use them within 3 to 4 months.
- Shopska: Traditional Macedonian Shopska is a refreshing chopped salad.
- Biscuits: These easy Garlic and Cheddar Drop Biscuits take away the hassle of rolling and cutting.
- Mashed Potatoes: My Slow Cooker Country Style Garlic Mashed Potatoes are especially yum.
- To store, I recommend taking the chicken off the bones and placing the meat in airtight storage containers or bags. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
- To reheat, place the deboned chicken in a covered skillet set over low heat and cook until heated through.
More Easy Chicken Dinner Ideas
- Instant Pot Whole Chicken
- Air Fryer Rotisserie Chicken
- Juicy Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Maple Butter Roast Chicken
Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
- 1 (3.5 to 4 pounds) whole chicken
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ tablespoon onion powder
- ½ tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ tablespoon dried thyme
- ½ tablespoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 pound whole radishes, cut in half
- 1 pound brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- In a smaller mixing bowl combine softened butter, minced garlic, lemon zest, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper; mix and mash with a fork until thoroughly combined and set aside.
- On a cutting board, turn the chicken over, breast-side down.
- Using sharp kitchen shears, cut out the backbone of the chicken.
- Once the backbone is removed, turn over the chicken and, using the heels of your hand, press down forcefully to flatten it.
- Next, using your fingers, carefully pull the skin away from the meat – don't pull it off completely – and spread half of the butter mixture under the skin and onto the meat.
- Smooth out the skin and rub the rest of the butter mixture on top of the skin and all over the chicken.
- Place the chicken in a large cast iron skillet; turn legs inward and tuck the wing tips under the chicken.
- Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, or until internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken registers at 165˚F. Use an instant read meat thermometer to check for doneness.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
- Follow the recipe as written to preheat the oven, spatchcock the chicken, and season it with the butter mixture. Then, place the chicken on a baking sheet, tuck in the wings, turn the legs inward, and roast for 25 minutes.
- In the meantime, toss the veggies with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- When the 25 minutes is up, pull the baking sheet out of the oven and arrange the veggies around the chicken. Continue to roast for 20 to 25 more minutes or until the chicken is done. Give the veggies a stir a couple of times during the cooking process.
- Remove from oven. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
- Cut and serve with the vegetables.
- Broth from Leftovers: Save the backbone and wing tips in an air-tight freezer bag to make homemade broth.
- Seasoning Variations: Try the chicken with barbecue sauce, ginger, sweet chili, or your favorite flavorings.
- Crispy Skin: To achieve extra crispy skin, you can pat the chicken dry with paper towels before applying the butter mixture.
- Roasting Rack for Even Cooking: If you’re not using a cast iron skillet, consider placing the spatchcock chicken on a roasting rack set inside the baking sheet. This allows the heat to circulate underneath the chicken, ensuring even cooking and a crispy bottom.
- Broil for the Final Touch: If you notice that the skin isn’t as crispy as you’d like after the chicken has finished cooking, you can set the oven to broil and place the chicken under the broiler for a minute or two. Just keep a close eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.