How to Roast a Butterflied Chicken

Whole chicken on the BBQ
A roasted whole chicken on a wooden cutting board. (Image: CCat82/iStock/Getty Images)

While it is often more affordable to purchase a whole chicken than to buy pre-cut meat, cooking a whole bird can take up to two hours. Butterflying a chicken before roasting shortens cooking time and ensures more even cooking, thereby keeping even thinner portions of the chicken moist and delicious. By roasting at a high temperature for a shorter period, you are also able to crisp the skin without drying out the meat. Serve with vegetables and potatoes to feed a family of four.

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.

Step 2

Butterfly your whole chicken by placing the bird on a cutting board, breast side down, and cutting along each side of its backbone with kitchen shears.

Step 3

Throw away the backbone, then pull the chicken apart with your hands, similar to how you would open a book.

Step 4

Flip the chicken over and press down against the breasts with the palms of your hands until you hear a crack and the chicken lies flat against the cutting board.

Step 5

Lift up the skin of the chicken and rub the meat with a light coating of olive oil mixed with pepper, salt and your choice of seasonings. Garlic, thyme, lemon and rosemary work well with chicken. Smooth the skin.

Step 6

Place the butterflied chicken on a broiler pan with the cut side of the meat lying flat and the skin side facing up. Make sure the bottom is attached to the broiler pan, as the chicken will release juices when cooking.

Step 7

Roast the chicken for 45 minutes.

Step 8

Check for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, making sure the thermometer does not touch bone. The thermometer should read 165 degrees F if the chicken is fully cooked.

Step 9

Allow the chicken to stand for about 10 to 15 minutes before carving and serving.

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen shears

  • Cutting board

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • Broiler pan

  • Meat thermometer

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