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

Follow our simple steps to master this technique, then watch our how-to video.
Related To:
Your chicken will cook faster and more evenly this way.

Step 1: Dry the Chicken
Butterflying a chicken, also known as spatchcocking, is a great technique for the grill or for roasting in the oven. First, pat your chicken dry.

Step 2: Remove the Backbone
To butterfly, you'll need to remove the backbone. Flip the chicken so its back is up. Poultry or chicken shears are the best tool for the task. Cut along each side of the spine. Tip: Freeze the extra bones for stock.

Step 3: Make a Notch
Lay the chicken flat. Make a notch in the white cartilage (it's in the breastbone at the neck end). Make a slit on each side of the cartilage.

Step 4: Pop Out the Breastbone
Pop out the breastbone and remove it entirely. Tip: Butterflying exposes more of the bird to the heat source, so it cooks about 25 minutes faster.

Step 5: Tuck in the Wings
Tuck the wings to keep things neat. Now your butterflied chicken is ready for the grill or the oven, and your dinner will be on the table before you know it! Watch our how-to video for more.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Dressing Up Rotisserie Chicken

When it comes to store-bought options, a rotisserie chicken can be one of the healthiest ways to get lean protein on the table, fast! Don’t settle for plain chicken, dress it up.

Chicken: Good or Bad?

Chicken is considered a lean protein, but many folks are concerned about how chickens are raised and fed. Can this popular poultry be part of a healthy diet?

Chicken Parmesan, Lightened Up

Classic chicken Parmesan comes breaded, fried and smothered in mozzarella cheese and then served alongside a plate of pasta. An order at some restaurants can tip the scales at 1,500 calories and 80 grams of fat per serving. Here's how to get the same flavor minus the extra fat.

Spotlight Recipe: Garlic & Citrus Chicken

Garlic, lemon and orange infuse this chicken with colossal flavor. Roasting a whole chicken might sound daunting, but make it for dinner on a Sunday night and have leftovers for lunch all week.

Chicken Salad, Lightened Up

Though chicken is a lean protein, chicken salad isn't always a healthy meal. Find out common pitfalls and how to add special flavors that everyone will love.

Spotlight Recipes: More Chicken Ideas

You can never have too many yummy chicken recipes. A lean protein, chicken is packed with energy-boosting B-vitamins and the mineral selenium (which research may help stave off cancers, according to some research). Don’t forget to remove the skin before digging in to get rid of most of the artery-clogging saturated fat.

50 Chicken Dinner Recipes

Food Network Magazine created dozens of recipes using a favorite weeknight staple: chicken breasts.

Grilled Chicken 5 Ways

Plain old grilled chicken breasts are a tasty and healthy option, but there are so many other ways prepare this lean protein. Fire up the grill for these five fabulous recipes.

Latest Stories