Never made spatchcock chicken before? Spatchcock chicken refers to the process of removing the backbone from a chicken and pressing the on the bird flat so that it cooks evenly in a single layer. This method results in a juicy chicken that cooks in about half the time it takes to roast a whole chicken. Whether you wish to buy spatchcock chicken from the supermarket, have your local butcher do it for you, or you want to test your butchery skills, this delicious dinnertime treat is worth a try. In this article, you will learn how to cook spatchcock chicken, including spatchcock chicken cooking times, and how you can get the best results for a magnificent feast.

Key info for cooking spatchcock chicken:

Make sure to take time in your day to prepare for the following about how to cook spatchcock chicken:

  • Prep time: 15 mins
  • Cooking time: 35 mins – plus marination
  • Difficulty: Easy.
  • Serves: Up to 4 people.
  • Total time: 1hr, 15 mins plus resting.

Nutrients per serving

These are the nutrients that are contained per serving of spatchcock chicken:

  • 552 kcal.
  • 40kg fat.
  • 10kg saturates.
  • 1g carbohydrates.
  • 0g sugar.
  • 0g fibre.
  • 47g protein.
  • 0.4g salt.


You will need the following ingredients when learning how to cook spatchcock chicken:

  • 1 chicken (1.5kg/3lb 5oz)
  • 4 red chilies, chopped (Deseeded if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 3 garlic crushed gloves.
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme.
  • 15g of soft butter.
  • (Optional) Lemon wedges and tabasco sauce.

Why not enjoy your cooked chicken outdoors with our magnificent bistro sets?

How to Butterfly (Spatchcock) a Chicken:

spatchcock chicken cut backbone

Unsure of how to cook spatchcock chicken in a butterfly formation? Follow these steps accordingly:

To begin, flip the chicken over so that the backbone is facing you.

1.     Cut the backbone

With a pair of kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut down on both sides of the backbone.

2.     Flatten breastbone

Discard the backbone once you have fully removed it from the chicken. Turn the chicken back over and press down on the breastbone firmly to flatten the bird.

3.     Tuck back wings

You can also choose to remove the wishbone using a paring knife. Tuck the wings back behind the breasts to prevent them from burning. Place the chicken on a wire rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet in preparation for roasting.

Make sure to keep on top of your oven safety when cooking.

How to Cook Spatchcock Chicken from Scratch:

If you wish to know how to cook spatchcock chicken from scratch, follow the instructions below:

how to cook spatchcock chicken in the oven

Step 1:

  • Preheat oven to 240°C/475°F/Gas Mark 9.
  • In a roasting tin, place the chicken with the backbone (for added flavour), lemon slices, garlic cloves, and sprigs of thyme.
  • Drizzle the chicken with oil, season it well with salt and ground pepper; dot butter over the bird.

Step 2:

  • Flip the chicken over, so the backbone faces you.
  • Use kitchen scissors or poultry shears to cut down both sides of the backbone and discard it.
  • Flip the chicken back over and press firmly on the breastbone to flatten it. Make a few slashes in each leg joint.

Step 3:

  • In a food processor or pestle and mortar, combine the chopped chilies, crushed garlic, salt, paprika, red wine vinegar, chopped parsley, and olive oil.
  • Blend or mix until it forms a paste.
  • Smear the paste over the chicken, ensuring it is well coated.
  • Let the chicken marinate for at least an hour or overnight if possible. If desired, you can freeze the chicken at this stage.

Step 4.1: Using a barbecue.

  • If using a barbecue, light it up and let the flames die down.
  • Place the chicken in the centre of the barbecue with the skin-side down; cook for approximately 15-20 minutes until the meat is nicely charred.
  • Turn the chicken over. Continue cooking for an additional 5-15 minutes until it is cooked through.
  • Check that the juices run clear to ensure it’s cooked.
  • For charred skin, grill for an extra 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve the chicken with lemon wedges and add Tabasco sauce if desired.

Step 4.2: Using an oven.

  • If using an oven, preheat it to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 and cook the chicken on a baking tray.
  • Put the chicken in the oven and then lower the temperature to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
  • Roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes, basting it a couple of times, until it turns golden.
  • To check if the spatchcock chicken is cooked, insert a skewer into the leg. If the juices run clear, the meat is ready. If they’re still pink, cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken, along with the garlic, lemon slices, and thyme, to a board. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  • Discard the backbone. The cooking juices can be served as they are or used to make gravy by heating them in a pan, skimming off any fat if desired, and adding a splash of white wine and 200ml of chicken stock.
  • Thicken gravy with cornflour if desired.
  • Serve the spatchcock chicken with roast or new potatoes and greens.

Learn about the types of chickens that can be cooked.

Tips for Making Roasted Spatchcock Chicken:

Here are some additional tips for you to make the most out of learning how to cook spatchcock chicken:

Does spatchcock chicken need to be flipped when cooked?

Spatchcock chicken is the same as butterflied chicken, with the backbone removed and the bird flattened. There is no need to flip spatchcock chicken during cooking. It cooks evenly on both sides.

What is the point of spatchcock chicken?

The purpose of learning how to cook spatchcock chicken is to ensure a thorough amount of cooking throughout the meat, with the breast and thigh cooking at the same time. It also reduces the cooking time.

how to cook spatchcock chicken thoroughly

Spatchcock Chicken Cooked to Perfection

In conclusion, spatchcock chicken is a delicious and efficient way to cook chicken. By following these simple steps about how to cook spatchcock chicken, you can prepare and enjoy a juicy and flavourful chicken dish in no time. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, spatchcock chicken is an easy and impressive recipe to add to your culinary repertoire. So, grab a chicken, get your kitchen shears ready, and give spatchcock chicken a try for your next meal.

Spice up your cooking techniques by learning how to dry chillies.


What is spatchcock chicken?

Spatchcock chicken is a cooking method that involves removing the backbone of the chicken and flattening it out before cooking. This technique allows the chicken to cook more evenly and reduces the cooking time.

How do I spatchcock a chicken?

To know how to cook spatchcock chicken, follow these steps:
Place the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board.
Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut along both sides of the backbone and remove it.
Flip the chicken over and press down firmly on the breastbone to flatten it out.

What are the benefits of cooking spatchcock chicken?

Cooking spatchcock chicken offers several benefits:
It cooks faster and more evenly compared to roasting a whole chicken.
Flattening the chicken allows for more surface area to meet the heat, resulting in crispy skin.
Cooking helps to prevent dryness in the breast meat while ensuring the dark meat is fully cooked.
Spatchcocking makes it easier to season the chicken evenly and allows for better absorption of marinades or rubs.

What are some seasoning options for spatchcock chicken?

Spatchcock chicken can be seasoned with many different flavours. Here are a few popular options:
Classic herbs and spices: Use a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, thyme, rosemary, or any preferred herbs and spices.
Lemon and herbs: Rub the chicken with a mixture of lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or parsley.
Barbecue seasoning: Use a barbecue rub or marinade for a smoky and tangy flavour.
Asian-inspired marinade: Combine soy sauce, ginger, garlic, honey, and a touch of sesame oil for an Asian-inspired twist.

How do I cook spatchcock chicken?

Spatchcock chicken can be cooked using various methods, such as grilling, roasting, or pan-searing. Here’s a general guideline:
Preheat your grill, oven, or skillet to the desired temperature (usually around 400°F to 425°F or 200°C to 220°C).
Season the spatchcocked chicken with your chosen seasoning or marinade.
Place the chicken, skin-side up, on a grill, in a roasting pan, or on a preheated skillet.
Cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) when measured with a meat thermometer. The cooking time typically ranges from 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before carving and serving.

How do I ensure crispy skin when cooking spatchcock chicken?

To achieve crispy skin, consider the following tips:
Ensure the chicken’s skin is dry before applying seasonings or marinades.
Preheat the grill, oven, or skillet to a high temperature.
If grilling, start with the chicken skin-side up, and then flip it skin-side down halfway through cooking to crisp up the skin.
If roasting, place the chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet to allow air circulation around the chicken for crispy skin.


RecipeTips. (n.d.). Types of Chicken. [online] Retrieved from–156/types-of-chicken.asp [accessed 09/06/23]

Electrical Safety First. (n.d.). Ovens. [online] Retrieved from: [accessed 09/06/23]

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