Easy roasted spatchcock chicken (butterflied chicken) seasoned with garlic and thyme is super juicy and tender with a crispy skin and packed with incredible flavour. This quick and easy method of roasting a whole chicken takes just 40 minutes to cook with minimal prep. It's even perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.
What is a Spatchcock Chicken?
A spatchcock chicken, also known as butterflied chicken, is a whole that is cooked while flattened out. When you butterfly a chicken into this position, you need to remove the backbone and the breastbone. Since the chicken lays down flatter, it also means that the chicken cooks evenly so that every piece is juicy, moist and tender.
Using this method also allows you to cook the chicken a lot faster compared to cooking a whole roast chicken with all the bones in tact. It takes just 40 minutes to roast this spatchcock chicken.
This spatchcock chicken requires just a few simple ingredients which yields such a flavourful and well seasoned meal. You will need the following ingredients:
- whole chicken
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
How to Spatchcock a Chicken
It may seem a little intimating to spatchcock a chicken, if you have never done it before. But it is actually quite simple to do in just a few minutes.
Before you start, make sure to pat dry the whole chicken with a paper towel before adding seasoning. You want the chicken to be completely dry, as this helps create an extra crispy skin when roasting.
Now, let's get started.
- 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 Roasted Spatchcock Chicken (or Butterflied Chicken)
Prepare the seasoning by stirring together olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Generously smear the seasoning mixture over the whole spatchcocked 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.
Heat a cast-iron skillet on the stove for 5 minutes over medium high heat (or preheat the iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes). Once the skillet is sizzling hot, sear the chicken by placing chicken breast side down in the hot skillet for 3-5 minutes, until skin gets a little crispy.
Transfer the skillet to a preheated 450 F oven and bake the chicken for 30 minutes until the skin on the breasts turns 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. Tuck whole garlic cloves and sprigs of rosemary and thyme underneath the chicken to add flavour.
Combine the remaining oil, chopped thyme and minced garlic in a small bowl and brush the seasoning mixture over the chicken breasts. Transfer the skillet back into the oven and continue to bake for another 10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165F when measured on a digital meat thermometer.
Remove the chicken from oven and place it on a large plate. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes. Then, carve and serve.
How to Serve Butterflied Chicken
Serve butterflied chicken with creamy mashed potatoes, nutty green beans, and a 30-minute butternut squash soup on the side. It is also the perfect meal to serve when hosting a smaller Thanksgiving dinner, when a whole roast turkey is just too big for your party.
How to Use Leftover Spatchcock Chicken
There are so many ways to use up leftover roasted chicken. Here are some of my favourites:
- Soups and stews. Shred the chicken and add it in lemon chicken orzo soup or even in Indian butter chicken. It makes those recipes so much easier when using leftover chicken.
- Salad. Throw some chicken into a fall harvest salad with butternut squash or a goat cheese and tangelo winter salad.
- Pasta. Try it in baked pasta with chicken or creamy alfredo with spinach and mushrooms.
- Toppings. Use it as a topping in 30-minute BBQ chicken pizza, as a topping in BBQ chicken stuffed potatoes, or in butternut squash quesadillas with chicken.
More Chicken Recipes
- Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken
- Slow Cooker Whole Chicken (coming soon!)
- Meal Prep Sheet Pan Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables
- One Pot Spanish Chicken and Rice
- Roasted Balsamic Chicken with Cranberries
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.