Learn how to roast a whole chicken in only 45 minutes with this Spatchcock Oven Roasted Chicken recipe. Dressed in a garlicky marinade and fresh herbs, this is a flavor-packed and foolproof chicken dinner your family will be requesting for months!Jump to Recipe
Watch how to spatchcock chicken video
Easy oven-roasted butterflied chicken
Are you sick and tired of dried-out roast chicken? Or having to spend countless hours preparing a whole chicken for family dinners? I have great news for you: This Spatchcock Oven Roasted Chicken always turns out juicy and cooks in half the time of a regular roasted whole chicken!
How is this possible? It’s all thanks to two cooking secrets: (1) the spatchcock (butterfly) method and (2) a flavorful, savory marinade.
Secret #1: Oven roasted spatchcock chicken begins by removing the chicken’s backbone, then pressing it down to lay flat. It’s the same method I use to make my juicy Peruvian-Style Grilled Spatchcock Chicken. Once flat, the heat reaches every side of the bird while only taking about 45 minutes to cook.
Secret #2: A quick marinade made from oil, garlic, lemon, and salt coats the outside and inside of the chicken, as well as under the skin. Finish it off with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and tarragon, and the bird is packed full of extra flavor.
Want even more flavor? I’ll show you how to roast hearty vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, and brussels sprouts at the same time and on the same pan as the chicken. It’s a dinner you and your family will be talking about for months!
What is spatchcock chicken?
Spatchcock chicken is another term for butterflied chicken. The backbone of a whole chicken is removed before it’s pressed flat, then grilled or roasted. It’s a simple method that helps heat circulate evenly around the bird, resulting in juicy chicken that cooks half the time.
How to spatchcock a chicken
You can spatchcock a whole chicken by yourself with minimal mess and time using just a sharp pair of kitchen shears or scissors. Here’s how it’s done:
- Turn the chicken upside down so the legs are facing you.
- Locate the backbone. Use sharp poultry shears or kitchen scissors to cut along both sides of the backbone and up through the ribs. Be sure to save the removed backbone to make homemade chicken stock.
- Flip the chicken over so its skin side up. Press down hard on the breastbone to flatten it out.
If you need extra instructions, this short video will show you exactly how to butterfly a chicken.
Ingredients and substitutions
You don’t need any complicated ingredients to season the spatchcock chicken. Only pantry staples:
- Whole chicken – You can make this spatchcock chicken recipe with a 5 to 7-pound whole chicken or turkey. Keep in mind that the smaller the bird, the quicker it will cook.
- Garlic – This recipe uses a whopping 10 garlic cloves! They’re blended together with oil, salt, and lemon to create a simple, savory, and flavor-packed sauce used to coat the chicken.
- Lemon – You need both the lemon zest and juice. White wine would make for a lovely substitute.
- Oil – This is the base of the spatchcock marinade and is what makes the chicken golden brown and crispy. Either use light olive oil, avocado oil, or butter.
- Fresh thyme and tarragon – Thyme is slightly woody with an almost sweet finish, whereas tarragon is very bright and licorice-like. Placing both of these fresh herbs instead of just one underneath the chicken skin will infuse the bird with dynamic flavors.
Want to make this meal extra hearty and filling? Roast potato wedges, green beans, brussels sprouts, carrots, onions, fennel bulb, or celery at the same time as the chicken. More on this in the Tips section below.
How to roast a spatchcock chicken in the oven
First, make the marinade by adding the garlic, olive oil, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice into a wide-mouthed mason jar. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. If you don’t have a immersion blender, do this in a blender instead.
Pat the whole chicken dry with paper towels before butterflying it (see instructions above) and pushing it down flat. Transfer it to a baking sheet.
Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the meat over the breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. Spread the marinade over the top of the chicken and under the skin of the spots you loosened. Repeat on the other side.
To finish, add sprigs of thyme underneath the skin on top and tarragon under the breast and thigh skin.
Roast the spatchcock chicken in the oven until the thickest part of the bird reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF. It will continue to cook for 5 to 10 degrees after it comes out of the oven, eventually reaching a sweet spot of 165ºF. Watch the bird as it roasts and adjust the cooking time as necessary (especially if it’s smaller than 5 or 6 pounds).
Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes. Slice and serve with steamed vegetables, potato wedges, or Greek chopped salad, then enjoy!
Tips and tricks
- Always let the bird come down to room temperature before roasting to ensure even cooking. Letting it rest on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes should do the trick.
- Season the inside of the chicken as well as the outside. Once it has been spatchcocked, there’s so much more surface area to add seasonings!
- Roast the chicken on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet if you want. This method helps to circulate even more heat and air around all sides of the bird, helping it crisp up and cook more evenly. You can even roast vegetables on the sheet pan while the chicken roasts above (those chicken drippings over the veggies are heavenly).
- To roast vegetables at the same time as the chicken, add them 15 to 20 minutes into the cooking time either on the same sheet pan or on a separate one. This way your whole meal will cook at the same time.
- Never skip the rest! Letting oven-roasted chicken rest after coming out of the oven will seal in the amazing flavors and natural juices.
Make this oven-roasted spatchcock chicken a meal with extra roasted vegetables (like cauliflower steaks, crispy smashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, or carrots) on the side. Bonus: Save time by roasting them at the same time as the chicken on the same or a separate baking sheet (see the instructions in the Tips section above).
Make the meal complete with a few other light and healthy side dishes. The chicken pairs perfectly with my Roasted Cauliflower Salad, Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes, and Creamy Cauliflower Mash.
Want more easy chicken dinners?
You’ll love the easy prep and quick cook time of these tasty chicken dinners while your family won’t be able to get enough of the juicy, vibrant flavors. Try one (or more) tonight:
- Creamy Garlic Tuscan Chicken
- Grilled Chicken Kabobs
- Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi
- Easy Chicken Piccata
- Crispy Chicken Tacos
If you try this Spatchcock Oven Roasted Chicken let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Spatchcock Oven Roasted Chicken (VIDEO)
- 10 cloves garlic peeled and trimmed
- ½ cup extra light olive oil or use avocado
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt
- 6 pounds whole chicken spatchcocked
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 8 sprigs fresh tarragon
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Add a cooling rack to a baking sheet. Set aside.
- Make the marinade by adding the garlic, light olive oil, salt, lemon zest, and juice into a wide-mouth mason jar and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. You can also do this in a blender. Set aside.
- Pat the chicken fully dry with a paper towel. Spatchcock the chicken by removing the backbone with kitchen shears, then do a shallow cut along the breast bone, flip over and break the breast bone using the palm of your hands, and push firmly over the breast bone forcing the chicken to lay completely flat.
- Add the chicken to the baking sheet. Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the meat over the breast, thigh, and drumstick areas, this will help loosen the skin so you can season the chicken inside.
- Now add the marinade on top of the chicken and rub it in well, add the marinade under the skin of the breast and thighs and using your fingers, spread it around inside. Flip over and repeat.
- Add the thyme under the cut side of the chicken. Flip the chicken back and stuff the tarragon under the breast and thigh skin.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. Using an instant read thermometer, check the temperature by inserting it into the thickest part of the breast. It should read 160˚F. (Don’t over-bake or the breast will be dry. Keep in mind internal temp will rise another 5-10 degrees after it comes out of the oven.) If your chicken is smaller, check the temperature at 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and rest uncovered for 10 minutes on the cooling rack before serving. This will help to keep the juices in. Drain the juices from the baking sheet to use as sauce.
- Tip: If you want to cook any side dishes like potatoes or other veggies, add them 15-20 minutes into cooking time in the same sheet pan or in a separate one. This way your whole meal will cook at the same time.
- Let the raw chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking for even baking. This is a great time to prep the sauce and preheat your oven.
- Don’t overcook the chicken. I would recommend taking it out when the internal temperature is at about 160 F because when you cover the chicken to rest, the internal temperature will rise another 5-10 degrees F.
- You will need a very sharp pair of kitchen shears to cut through the chicken to remove the spine. It will make the process feel effortless. Don’t use a knife.
- Make sure to season the inside of the chicken. Once it has been spatchcocked, there’s so much more surface area to add seasonings!
- Patting the chicken dry helps to give you crispy skin in the oven.
- Don’t skip resting the chicken before you cut into it after it cooks. When it is resting, the juices inside the chicken are redistributed back throughout the meat.
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