Roasted Spatchcock Chicken

Active Time:

30 mins

Total Time:

1 hr 10 mins



A spatchcock chicken only looks intimidating. But in fact, spatchcocking is one of the easiest, best techniques for roasting a chicken. Here, we’ll explain.

A whole roasted chicken can be tricky. The chicken needs to roast long enough to make sure the dark meat is cooked through, but you don’t want to dry out the rest of the bird while doing so. Avoid this dry meat dilemma with our roasted spatchcock chicken.

Achieve the ultimate crispiness when roasting a chicken without worrying about dryness by butterflying the bird. Also called spatchcocking, the process removes the backbone (something your butcher can assist you with) to flatten out the chicken. This allows the breast and legs to cook at the same level on your pan, resulting in meat that cooks quicker and more evenly.

Southern Living Roasted Spatchcock Chicken in the pan ready to serve

Plus, the exposed surface on the pan will create a wonderfully crispy chicken skin. Roast your spatchcocked chicken alongside Brussels sprouts, carrots, and garlic for a one-pan supper that’s simple enough for weeknights and pretty enough for parties.


  • 1 (5-lb.) whole chicken
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp. (3 oz.) salted butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest, plus 3 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 2 lemons), divided
  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 12 oz. small red new potatoes, halved
  • 8 oz. small carrots with tops, trimmed
  • 8 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved


  1. Prepare oven and chicken:Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse chicken, and pat dry.
  2. Remove backbone:Place chicken, breast side down, on a cutting board. Using poultry shears, cut along both sides of backbone, and remove backbone. (Discard or reserve for stock.)Southern Living Roasted Spatchcock Chicken cutting out the backboneBRITTANY CONERLY; FOOD STYLIST: KAREN RANKIN; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA BROCKMAN
  3. Press against breastbone:Turn chicken breast side up, and open the underside of chicken like a book. Using the heel of your hand, press firmly against breastbone until it cracks.Southern Living Roasted Spatchcock Chicken breaking the breastboneBRITTANY CONERLY; FOOD STYLIST: KAREN RANKIN; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA BROCKMAN
  4. Place chicken on baking sheet:Place chicken in a large rimmed baking pan. Tuck wing tips under chicken so they don’t burn.
  5. Make garlic-herb butter:Combine garlic and salt on a cutting board. Using the flat edge of a knife, mash into a paste. Combine garlic paste, butter, thyme, zest, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the garlic mixture. Rub remaining garlic mixture under skin of chicken breasts and thighs.Southern Living Roasted Spatchcock Chicken on the pan with the wing tips tucked underBRITTANY CONERLY; FOOD STYLIST: KAREN RANKIN; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA BROCKMAN
  6. Roast chicken:Bake chicken in preheated oven 10 minutes.
  7. Add vegetables to baking pan:Bake chicken in preheated oven 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Reduce heat to 400°F. Arrange potatoes and carrots around chicken; return to oven, and bake 20 minutes.Arrange Brussels sprouts around chicken, and spread remaining 2 tablespoons garlic mixture on breasts; return to oven, and bake until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°F, about 20 minutes.Southern Living Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with the vegetables added to the panBRITTANY CONERLY; FOOD STYLIST: KAREN RANKIN; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA BROCKMAN
  8. Add lemon juice, and serve:Drizzle with lemon juice, and let stand 10 minutes. Carve chicken, and serve with pan juices.