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Spatchcock chicken roasted with with a flavorful garlic herb butter and potatoes will quickly become your favorite way to roast a whole chicken. It cooks faster and more evenly and with a deliciously crispy skin.
A perfectly seasoned, beautifully roast chicken with brown crispy skin in about an hour? With this spatchcock recipe, roasting a chicken just became a whole lot tastier!
Add a side salad or some steamed green beans and this recipe is perfect for impressing company or as an easy Sunday supper.
Table of Contents
What is Spatchcock Chicken?
Spatchcock chicken is a method of cooking a whole chicken where you remove the spine, allowing you to butterfly the chicken and flatten it on a baking sheet, roasting pan or grill.
When roasting a whole chicken, the breast meat cooks faster than the legs and thighs, and can easily dry out out before the dark meat is fully cooked. Removing the backbone from your chicken and butterflying it before roasting allows the breasts sit level with the legs, so all of the meat cooks more evenly, for moist, tender and juicy results.
This Spatchcock Chicken Recipe:
- Cooks faster and more evenly.
- Has a crispy skin while the meat is tender and juicy.
- Is easier than it looks!
- Uses a flavorful garlic herb butter and aromatics to create the best flavor.
How To Roast Spatchcock Chicken
This is a condensed version of the process, including photos. You’ll find a complete ingredients list and more detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
- Prep. Make the compound butter by mixing softened butter with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and chopped herbs. Preheat the oven to 425℉.
- Spatchcock the chicken. Place the whole chicken breast side down on a large cutting board and use kitchen shears to remove the backbone. Flip it over and press down with your palm to crack the breast bone and help the chicken lay flat.
- Add the Garlic Butter. Separate the skin from the breast meat and spread some of the garlic herb butter underneath. Be extra careful not to tear the skin or remove it completely.
- Pat dry. Using paper towels, pat the chicken dry as much as possible. This will help give you a crispier skin. Rub the remaining butter all over the skin.
- Prep the potatoes and aromatics. Toss the potatoes, heads of garlic, lemon halves and onions with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Scatter around the chicken on the rimmed baking sheet.
- Roast. Slide the pan in the oven and roast the chicken and potatoes for about an hour. Start checking the temperature at about the 45 minute mark. The meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone) should register 165℉.
- Rest and carve. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.
After you remove the pan from the oven, you can squeeze out the garlic from the heads and toss with the potatoes. I like squeezing the lemon over the chicken and potatoes too.
Once you’ve carved the chicken, it’s time to eat! But what do you serve with it? Well, you can skip the potatoes and go for some creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese or a Hashbrown Casserole. Or, add some of our favorites on the side:
- Honey Roasted Carrots
- Garlic Green Beans
- Beer Bread
- Homemade Parker House Rolls
- Wedge Salad with Thousand Island Dressing
- Easy Copycat Olive Garden Salad
- Fresh herbs: Add some more aromatics around the chicken mixed in with the potatoes, like fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary. For the butter, the best herbs to use would be thyme, rosemary, parsley, tarragon, marjoram, and sage. Any combination of these herbs would be perfect, but go light on the rosemary and the sage (no more than 2 teaspoons), as their flavor is bolder and can be overwhelming if too much is used.
- More veggies: Add some more vegetables to the pan, like carrots or brussels sprouts. If you have a convection oven, you can roast a whole pan of vegetables at the same time.
- Citrus: Add some lemon or orange zest to the butter mixture.
- Potatoes: Any waxy type potato can be used here, such as the yukon gold, red bliss or fingerling. These potatoes will stand up to the long, high heat without becoming mushy or falling apart like a starchy russet potato would.
Storage and Reheating
Refrigerating: Store leftover chicken and potatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Freezing: Cool completely and place leftovers in a freezer safe, airtight container. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheating: Reheat gently in the microwave. Chicken, especially white meat, can dry out quickly when reheated.
Repurposing leftovers: Use the leftovers for pita pockets, chicken salad, wraps, tacos, soup and more. The backbone and other bones can be used to make a homemade chicken stock.
- Bringing your chicken up closer to room temp by letting it sit out for 30 minutes before preparing this recipe will help your chicken cook more evenly. You can let the chicken sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Invest in a good pair of kitchen shears. They are vital to this recipe, and I use mine all the time.
- If your chicken is getting too brown on top, you can loosely tent it with foil for the remainder of the cooking process. Conversely, if your chicken isn’t getting brown enough, you can place it under a broiler for a few minutes after roasting to crisp up the skin. Patting the outside skin dry before adding the compound butter to the skin will help to brown the chicken skin.
- The recommended internal temperature for chicken is 165℉. I usually try to pull my chicken out of the oven when the internal temperature reaches 160℉ to let it rest – it will continue cooking and the temperature will continue to rise 5-8 degrees.
More Chicken Recipes
- Hungarian Chicken Paprikash
- Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders
- Teriyaki Chicken Bowl
- Greek Yogurt Marinated Chicken Thighs
- Honey Lemon Roast Chicken
- Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken with Pasta
For the compound butter:
- 4 tablespoons salted butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs parsley, thyme, rosemary
For chicken and potatoes:
- 5 pound fryer chicken
- 1 ½ pounds baby potatoes halved if large
- 2 lemons halved
- 2 garlic heads top ⅓ cut off
- ½ large onion sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- fresh thyme sprigs for garnish
- To make the compound butter: In a small bowl blend the butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and chopped herbs. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425℉.
- Place the chicken breast side down on a sheet pan or plastic cutting board. Spatchcock the chicken by removing the backbone with sharp kitchen shears. Start at the tail end of the bird and cut up one side of the backbone all the way through the neck, repeat on the other side of the bird to fully remove the backbone. Open the bird and place the bird breast side up in front of you. Place your hands over the breast bone and firmly press down with even pressure to crack the breast bone and help the chicken lay flat.
- Separate the skin from the breast by opening the skin at the bottom of the breast and using the back of a teaspoon, wiggle the spoon up between the skin and the breast meat, all the way to the top, without ripping or tearing the skin.
- Place 1 tablespoon of compound butter in the pocket of skin of each breast and smooth to coat the breast meat with the butter. Pat the chicken skin dry, and cover with the rest of the compound butter.
- In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes, garlic heads, lemon halves, and onion sliced with the oil, salt and pepper. Place on the baking sheet around the chicken.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165℉. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Squeeze out roasted garlic and toss with potatoes. Serve with lemon halves.