Are you looking for a creative way to cook chicken? Then, it’s time to try this harissa spatchcock chicken (butterflied chicken). It's juicy and tender, has the crispiest skin, and is packed with flavor from red pepper harissa paste and seasonings. Plus, by butterflying this chicken, you can grill or roast it in under 45 minutes, while still getting the added flavor from being cooked on the bone. You need this on your dinner menu tonight.
Why You’ll Love Harissa Spatchcock Chicken
- A creative way to cut and cook chicken. When you spatchcock a whole chicken, you’re essentially butterflying it so that it will cook faster and more evenly, reducing cooking time—and the guessing game that can come with it. You can cut down on cook time but still reserve the amazing flavor that comes from chicken cooked on the bone!
- It’s seasoned with harissa paste. This harissa spatchcock chicken is also unique because of its seasonings! Harissa is a spicy chili pepper paste that originates in Tunisia in North Africa and very popular in Morocco. Blended with other flavors like cumin, garlic, and paprika, the harissa in this chicken recipe makes for a flavorful and slightly spicy meal.
- You have cooking options. We are sharing two cooking options for making this delicious whole chicken: oven-baking and grilling. Both options deliver incredible flavor with slightly different textures, so I recommend you try both!
To make this delicious harissa spatchcock chicken, you will need the following ingredients:
- whole chicken
- harissa paste - harissa is a Moroccan red pepper paste that is going to completely elevate this chicken. You can use homemade or store-bought harissa paste. I used this one by Mina Harissa.
- olive oil
- ground cumin
- garlic powder
- salt and pepper
You will also need a grill if grilling, or a grill pan or cast-iron skillet if roasting in the oven.
How to Spatchcock a Chicken
- Use a paper towel to pat dry the whole chicken completely before adding seasoning. This helps create extra crispy skin when roasting.
- Place chicken breast-side down on a clean and dry chopping board (wearing disposable gloves helps with easy handling). Cut along the backbone in the middle with kitchen scissors and remove the backbone, which is about 1-inch wide.
- Make a small cut with a knife along the white cartilage that connects the breastbone and remove the breastbone by pulling it out through the cut.
- Turn the chicken over with the breast-side up and flatten it out. Tuck the wings under the chicken breasts.
- Pat dry the spatchcock chicken again to remove any excess liquid.
How to Make the Best Harissa Spatchcock Chicken (Butterflied Chicken)
- Make the seasoning rub. In a small bowl, mix well to combine olive oil, harissa paste, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, until smooth. Reserve 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture and set aside.
- Season the chicken. Generously smear rest of the harissa seasoning mixture over the whole chicken inside and out and let it rest on a clean plate for at least 15 minutes. Make sure the seasoning covers the entire whole chicken including the inside cavity.
Two Ways to Cook
You can cook this chicken on the grill or in the oven.
To grill the chicken:
- Preheat the grill over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Place the chicken on the grill and grill for 15-20 minutes on each side until nicely charred and cooked through (and until the internal temperature reaches 165F as read on a meat thermometer).
- Baste the chicken on both sides evenly with the remaining harissa paste during grilling.
To roast in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Heat an ovenproof grill pan or cast-iron pan on the stove for 5 minutes over medium-high heat (or preheat the pan in the oven for 5 minutes). Once sizzling hot, sear the chicken breast side down in the hot skillet for 3-5 minutes, until the skin gets a little crispy.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes until the skin on the breasts turns golden brown. You can add an oven-safe weight over the chicken such as a Dutch oven lid to promote browning.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and turn the chicken over with the breast side up. Brush the remaining harissa mixture over the chicken breasts.
- Transfer the skillet back into the oven and continue to bake the chicken for another 10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165F as read on a meat thermometer.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and place it on a large plate. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes.
Serve with lemon wedges and extra harissa sauce, if desired.
How to Store
- How to store: Store the leftover butterflied chicken in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. While you can leave it on the bone, you can also shred it or cut it ahead of time for easy meal prep. If you make sandwiches or add leftover harissa spatchcock chicken to salads, you don’t need to reheat it.
- How to reheat: It’s easy to overcook chicken when reheating and end up with a dry cut of meat. To avoid this, heat the chicken in a preheated 325F oven until warmed through. Wrap it in aluminum foil and add drippings or broth to keep it moist.
- Tips for cooking a larger chicken: If you have an exceptionally large chicken, you may need to add cooking time. When grilling, I recommend covering the pan with a lid to help raise the overall temperature of the chicken. This helps it cook all the way through, even in the thickest parts.
More Whole Chicken Recipes
- Roasted Spatchcock Chicken (Butterflied Chicken)
- Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken
- Greek Lemon Garlic Whole Roast Chicken
- Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.