Home » Gluten-Free Recipes » Herb Crusted Spatchcock Chicken (Roasted Butterfly Chicken)

Herb Crusted Spatchcock Chicken (Roasted Butterfly Chicken)

by Capri Lilly

Spatchcock chicken involves removing the backbone of a whole chicken, which then allows the chicken to completely open and flatten. This method gives you a tender whole chicken with perfectly crispy skin, in significantly less time than grilling or pan-frying.

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Spatchcock or butterfly chicken is the only way I roast a whole chicken! This is actually one of the first cooking methods I learned in culinary school. Learning this technique was has honestly been heaven sent! I mean, you can cook a whole chicken and get the perfect crispy crust and flavorful, tender meat in 45 minutes! What is not to love!?

herb crusted butterfly chicken

It’s been years since I first learned how to spatchcock chicken in culinary school,  but the technique is so ingrained in me that when I see a whole chicken I automatically know what to do with it!

Butterfly chicken recipe goodfoodbaddie

Why should I spatchcock my chicken?

To spatchcock, or butterfly a chicken is to remove the backbone and breast bone from the chicken.

When you do this you are able to roast the chicken flat, which exposes it to more heat and cuts the cooking time in half.

 

It also allows you to put the marinade under the skin of the chicken. So, instead of putting all the flavor and seasoning on the outside of the chicken and pocking holes in the chicken or just hoping the flavor seeps through, you can put any seasonings or marinades directly on the meat. When you butterfly the chicken, it comes out with a PERFECT, GOLDEN, CRISPY crust and TENDER, JUICY, FLAVORFUL meat.

How to spatchcock a chicken

To spatchcock a chicken you are removing the backbone. First, clean and prepare the chicken by removing any neck parts and gizzards. Be sure to rinse and dry the chicken with a towel. Then, grab your best kitchen shears. (If you are in need of quality chicken shears, here are my favorite.)

how to spatchcock or butterfly chicken

Using Your Kitchen Shears, cut along the backbone from the tail to the neck. Cut along both sides of the backbone until it is removed completely. You can save the backbone piece to make stock or throw it away.

whole chicken flat and breastbone removed

Now, flip the chicken over and break the breastbone to flatten the bird. There are two ways to do this. In culinary school, I learned to completely remove the breast bone by using a paring knife or boning knife and cut along the bone to remove it from the chicken. The more common method is to break the breastbone by pressing down on each side at the same time until the bones crack. Lastly, remove the wing-tips by simply cutting them off (optional).

marinade for spatchcock chicken

Your spatchcock chicken is now ready to be seasoned and cooked in the oven! In less than 45 minutes you’ll have a tender, flavorful whole chicken! Try roasting with chickpeas, potatoes, and peppers for an even more filling, flavorful meal!

Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

How to Spatchcock Chicken (Butterfly Chicken) + Lemon Herb Sauce

Spatchcock chicken involves removing the backbone of a whole chicken, which then allows the chicken to completely open and flatten. This method gives you a tender whole chicken with perfectly crispy skin, in significantly less time than grilling or pan-frying.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Meal Prep
Cuisine: American, Healthy Options
Keyword: butterfly, chicken, garlic herb, good food baddie, goodfoodbaddie, how to spatchcock, lemon herb, recipe, spatchcock, whole, whole chicken
Servings: 8
Calories: 545kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken

Lemon Herb Mixture

  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 4 Lemons, juiced (divided)
  • 5 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 4 Sprigs Fresh Sage, chopped
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Red Crushed Pepper
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz can) Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cup fingerling potatoes
  • 1-2 bell peppers (any color), sliced

Instructions

  • Clean and prepare the chicken by removing any neck parts and gizzards. Be sure to rinse and dry the chicken with a towel.
  • Using kitchen shears, cut along the backbone from the tail to the neck. Cut along both sides of the backbone until it is removed completely. You can save the backbone piece to make stock or throw it away.
  • Now, flip the chicken over and break the breastbone to flatten the bird by either pressing down on both sides of the breastbone until the bones crack, or taking a boning knife to cut along the bone to remove it from the chicken.
  • Cut off the wingtips. Place the chicken, with its backbone removed on a plastic cutting board, breast side down.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C)
  • Prepare the lemon herb mixture by combining all of the ingredients listed above. Rub the mixture generously over the chicken and under the skin.
  • Place the chicken breast side down in a cast-iron or baking sheet. Tuck the wings under the breast. (Add the optional ingredients to roast with the chicken for a heartier meal). Roast the chicken in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the skin is golden and crisp. Insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. The thermometer should read 165+ is the chicken is fully cooked.
  • Squeeze juice of 1/2 of lemon over the chicken. Serve and enjoy! This chicken goes well with anything! I love to serve it with mashed potatoes and roasted seasonal vegetables.

Notes

If you make this Herb Crusted Spatchcock Chicken, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below! I love hearing from you! 

Excited to Try More Delicious Chicken Recipes?

Try out my Whole Buttermilk Chicken or my Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas —a quick and easy recipe

Don’t forget to connect with me on INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST, for your daily dose of healthy delicious recipes! 

Buttermilk Chicken
Buttermilk Chicken

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24 comments

Lisa Huff August 19, 2020 - 5:15 pm

5 stars
Ohhh that lemon herb mixture looks perfect for chicken! Saving this delicious looking chicken recipe for fall!

Reply
Capri Lilly August 19, 2020 - 11:14 pm

Hi Lisa! Sounds good to me!

Reply
Traci August 19, 2020 - 5:35 pm

5 stars
Now this is my idea of chicken dinner! I love the flavor of ALL the fresh herbs…and how simple, yet elegant, this is. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
Capri Lilly August 19, 2020 - 11:13 pm

Hi Traci! So glad you like! The fresh herbs definitely elevate this dish!

Reply
Jessie August 19, 2020 - 5:41 pm

5 stars
That chicken looks amazing! I love how easy it looks to prep ! I’m totally making this recipe this week!

Reply
Capri Lilly August 19, 2020 - 11:13 pm

Hi Jessie! It is super easy to prepare! I hope you enjoy!

Reply
ali randall August 19, 2020 - 5:44 pm

5 stars
I have never spatchcocked a chicken but your recipe looks delicious and it’s going on my dinner menu this week. The lemon herb sauce sounds like the perfect compliment for this dish.

Reply
Capri Lilly August 19, 2020 - 11:13 pm

Hi Ali! I hope you enjoy!

Reply
Neli Howard August 19, 2020 - 5:52 pm

5 stars
Roast chicken is part of our Sunday night dinner rotation. Classic and always fantastic. Yours is beautiful! It’s no fuss and we all need dinners like that.

Reply
Capri Lilly August 19, 2020 - 11:12 pm

Thank you, Neli!

Reply
Renia August 19, 2020 - 5:53 pm

5 stars
I would have never known the offical name for “busting open a chicken,” had I not found your recipe! Very simple and delicious. Once I broke the chicken down it was smooth sailing.

Reply
Capri Lilly August 19, 2020 - 11:12 pm

Hi Renia! “Busting open a chicken” works too! lol. I am glad you like the recipe!

Reply
Samantha August 23, 2020 - 5:53 am

5 stars
Thank you for the detailed and clear instructions on how to spatchcock a chicken!

Reply
Capri Lilly August 25, 2020 - 4:45 am

No problem Sam! Glad the directions helped!

Reply
Desirée August 24, 2020 - 2:53 pm

5 stars
The seasoning combination for this recipe was perfect! Thanks for sharing!

Reply
Capri Lilly August 25, 2020 - 4:44 am

You’re welcome, Desiree! Glad you liked!

Reply
Mila August 24, 2020 - 3:20 pm

5 stars
Spatchcocked chicken is a favorite around here! I love the seasonings for this! Totally delicious!

Reply
Capri Lilly August 25, 2020 - 4:43 am

Hi Mila! I am glad you liked the flavor. I love using tons of fresh herbs and lemon to elevate this chicken dish!

Reply
Marta August 25, 2020 - 4:14 pm

5 stars
Call me psychotic, but I thoroughly enjoy spatchcocking chicken. This recipe makes for a very quick roast chicken, which is great for a busy weeknight.

Reply
Capri Lilly August 27, 2020 - 9:56 pm

Haha, Marta! You sound Brilliant to me! Spatchcocking chicken is honestly the best!

Reply
Chenée August 25, 2020 - 4:19 pm

5 stars
This was my first time spatchcocking a chicken and I’ll never go back! It came out perfect and the seasonings were amazing!

Reply
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