How to Debone Chicken: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow this guide to learn how to break down a chicken, then watch our how-to video.

Save money and get more use out of a chicken by learning to break it down yourself.

Step 1: Remove the Legs
First, remove the legs. Make the first cut at the natural crease between the leg and the body.

Step 2: Cut to the Bone
Cut down to the bone.

Step 3: Pop Out the Thigh
Now, pop the thigh out of the joint.

Step 4: Cut Off the Oyster
Be sure to get the oyster — it's part of the leg, but it lies on the back. Run your knife along the backbone at the leg joint to separate.

Step 5: Cut Off the Wings
Next, cut the wings off. Find the joint between the bones again. If your knife hits bone, move it and eventually you'll find a joint. Folding the wing tip back makes for a nice presentation. Tip: Use good food-safety practices. Wash your hands and equipment after preparing raw chicken.

Step 6: Break Down the Body
Cut between the front and the back ribs.

Step 7: Remove the Rib Cage
Pull back on the rib cage to remove it.

Step 8: Make a Notch
Flip it so the chicken is rib side up. Make a notch in the cartilage at the top of the sternum.

Step 9: Pop Out the Breastbone
Then, pop out the breastbone. Use a towel if the breastbone is too slippery to grab.

Step 10: Bone-In Chicken Breasts
Separate the breasts with your knife. Now you've got bone-in chicken breasts.

Step 11: Separate the Legs and Thighs
Flip them over. You're looking for the space in the joint like before — this is called the fat line. It's nature's way of outlining where you need to cut. Again, if you hit resistance, reposition the knife to slip through the joint.

Step 12: Save Money
You can break down a raw or cooked chicken this way, and you'll save some cash by doing these steps at home. Watch our how-to video for more.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Butterfly a Chicken: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow our simple steps to master this technique, then watch our how-to video.

How to Make Chicken Stock: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making homemade chicken stock from scratch is surprisingly easy and way more flavorful than using store-bought. Follow these simple steps and stock up on stock.

How to Grill Chicken: A Step-by-Step Guide

Use these tips to get juicy chicken cooked all the way through with perfectly crisp skin.

The Basics of Steaming: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these techniques to make simple and healthy dishes, then watch our how-to video.

How to Make a Roux: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn simple how-tos for making a roux from butter and flour, then watch the video.

How to Peel and Devein Shrimp: A Step-by-Step Guide

Save money by peeling and deveining shrimp yourself.

How to Make Meringue: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these step-by-step tips to learn how to make two styles of meringue: French (as used on a pie) and Swiss (which is cooked and used, for example, in buttercream); then see more in a how-to video.

How to Make Vinaigrette 3 Ways: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these simple steps for making a vinaigrette three different ways, then watch our how-to video.

How to Bake a Cake: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow this easy guide for mixing, prepping and baking a cake, then watch our how-to video.

How to Deep-Fry Fish and Chips: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these simple tips and you'll deep-fry like a pro.

Get Cooking