Spatchcock chicken is the easiest way to roast a whole chicken, with the simple, zesty flavors of lemon and mustard.
What is Spatchcock Chicken?
A spatchock chicken is a whole chicken with its backbone removed and laid flat, for faster and more even cooking. It’s the perfect way to achieve a juicy, crispy-skinned, and flavorful roasted chicken.
How to Spatchcock a Chicken at Home
I highly recommend buying your chicken already “spatchcocked” in the grocery store, but if you can’t find it, here’s how to spatchcock a chicken at home.
- Place the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board.
- Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut along both sides of the backbone, starting from the tail end up to the neck. Remove the backbone.
- Flip the chicken over and press down firmly on the breastbone to flatten the chicken. You may hear a slight cracking sound.
- Tuck the tips of the wings behind the chicken’s back for even cooking.
- Spatchcock Chicken – You can usually find a spatchcock chicken in your local grocery store near the regular whole chickens.
- Lemon Juice & Zest – Lemon juice adds a bright flavor while the zest gives a burst of freshness.
- Grainy Dijon Mustard – Dijon mustard adds texture and slightly spicy flavor making the perfect glaze in combination with lemon juice.
- Minced Garlic – Garlic never needs an explanation!
- Dried Tarragon – Tarragon and chicken are like peanut butter and jelly. This herb is a perfect match for spatchcock chicken.
How to Make Spatchcock Chicken
Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!
Turn your oven 425°F . I don’t usually line my baking sheet, but you can with aluminum foil if you’d like.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, dried tarragon, and salt & pepper to taste.
Place plain spatchcock chicken in the oven, skin side up with NO glaze for 40 minutes. This is key to achieving crispy skin.
After 40 minutes, pour marinade over the chicken generously and brush ensuring it is evenly coated.
- Second Roast
Turn the oven to 350°F and place chicken back in for 5-10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the skin is golden brown and crispy.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Save the juice! Pour over the plated chicken for extra flavor.
What to Serve with Spatchcock Chicken
Below are some fantastic side dishes that perfectly complement the succulent spatchcock chicken.
- Simple salad
- Sauteed Spinach
- Mashed Potatoes
- Crispy Brussel Sprouts
- Apple Bacon Scalloped Potatoes
- Maple Glazed Carrots
Storage: Store leftover spatchcock chicken in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Reheating: Reheat spatchcock chicken pieces in a sealed foil package at 350 degrees for 10-20 minutes until hot. You can also microwave chicken if needed in a pinch. Microwave in increments of 30 seconds until hot.
Freezing: Freeze chicken for up to 3 months in a freezer safe bag or container. Thaw chicken in the refrigerator before reheating for best results.
- Honey Mustard: Use this honey mustard chicken recipe and add the honey mustard glaze to the spatchcock chicken with 5-10 minutes left of roasting!
- Teriyaki Sauce: Store-bought teriyaki sauce provides a sweet and savory glaze.
- Barbecue Sauce: A classic barbecue sauce can add smoky and tangy flavors. Choose a spicy version for an extra kick!
- Citrus-Glazed: Look for citrus-based glazes like orange or lime, which can provide a zesty and refreshing twist. Check the condiment aisle or marinade section of your local grocery store.
- Sweet Chili: Sweet chili sauce offers a balance of sweetness and heat. It can be used as a glaze or served as a dipping sauce alongside the roast chicken.
Other Chicken Recipes You’ll Love
- BEST Shredded Chicken Tacos
- Italian Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Parmesan Crusted Chicken (Crispy!)
- Simple Grilled Chicken Thighs
- Juicy Baked Chicken Meatballs
- 4 pound spatchcock chicken usually sold right next to the whole chickens in the grocery store!
- 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- For the lemon-mustard glaze: In a bowl, mix together the zest of 1 lemon, the juice of 2 lemons, grainy mustard, garlic, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- To roast: Place spatchcock chicken on a baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Place chicken directly in the oven (with nothing on it!) for 40 minutes. At 40 minutes, pull oven rack out and spoon mustard mixture evenly over chicken.
- Turn oven down to 350°F. And let chicken roast for 5-10 more minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken breasts reach at least 165°F. I usually roast chicken to 170-175°F.
- Let chicken rest on counter for 10 minutes before carving, spoon extra juice over the top of each plate!
- If your oven typically runs hot or cold, reduce or add roasting time accordingly (usually by 5-10 minutes)!
- Some of the mixture will fall over the sides of the chicken on to the baking dish. Not to worry! The bits will caramelize, and you can spoon them onto the chicken when serving!