Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
Active Time
30 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 10 Mins
Serves 4

Removing a chicken's backbone—a technique called spatchcocking (or butterflying)—ensures juicy meat and golden crisp skin in less time than roasting a whole bird. Although it does require some simple knife skills, it's the best and fastest way to roast a chicken. Plus, you can save the backbone to make a great chicken stock. This is the kind of sheet pan dinner you'll want to make all fall and winter long. 


How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse chicken, and pat dry. Place chicken, breast side down, on a cutting board. Using poultry shears, cut along both sides of backbone, and remove backbone. (Discard or reserve for stock.) Turn chicken breast side up, and open the underside of chicken like a book. Using the heel of your hand, press firmly against breastbone until it cracks. Place chicken in a large rimmed baking pan. Tuck wing tips under chicken so they don't burn.

Step 2

Combine garlic and salt on a cutting board. Using the flat edge of a knife, mash into a paste. Combine garlic paste, butter, thyme, zest, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the garlic mixture. Rub remaining garlic mixture under skin of chicken breasts and thighs.

Step 3

Bake chicken in preheated oven 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Reduce heat to 400°F. Arrange potatoes and carrots around chicken; return to oven, and bake 20 minutes. Arrange Brussels sprouts around chicken, and spread remaining 2 tablespoons garlic mixture on breasts; return to oven, and bake until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°F, about 20 minutes. Drizzle with lemon juice, and let stand 10 minutes. Carve chicken, and serve with pan juices.

Ratings & Reviews

Great techniques, delicious chicken!

January 10, 2018
I love this recipe! The use of the garlic butter thyme paste beneath the skin is terrific. Really got the flavor into the meat. Next time I don't think I'll include the lemon rind or juice, but that is just my personal taste. I had to use dried thyme, but otherwise followed the recipe as written. I spatchcocked my turkey this past Thanksgiving, so I wasn't afraid of that technique and honestly, I prefer it to a traditional roast. Reduces cooking time and truly ensures an evenly cooked, juicy bird.Small note: I cooked the chicken for the full amount indicated and the temp was over 188 degrees, so consider checking the temp after ten minutes (of the final twenty) just to be on the safe side.

First bird success!

January 25, 2018
My first attempt at roasting a chicken. The spatchcocking took me a while (and I'm still not entirely sure I did it right) being my first time and I wasn't quite sure how to get the butter under the skin but I managed to get it in the oven! It actually took about 20 min longer for it to be cooked all the way but the skin came out crunchy and golden and the lemon was definitely my favorite part of the flavor. I put some balsamic and cranberries in with the Brussel sprouts and it complemented nicely. Excited for leftovers!


October 11, 2016
This was delicious and easy to put together on a week night. Only changes I made were using light butter and I didn't drizzle with the lemon juice. I'll definitely make it again.