How to Butterfly a Chicken

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

How To: Butterfly a Chicken

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!