Spatchcock Chicken With Herbed Butter

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Spatchcock Chicken is the perfect way to roast a whole chicken. This simple and delicious recipe with herbed butter is bound to become a family favorite!

Whole roasted chicken surrounded by herbs

Roasting a whole chicken may sound intimidating, but once you make this recipe a time or two, you’ll see how simple (and delicious) it really can be. We make this recipe quite often at home. In fact, the first time I tried this method, it was on a 20+ pound turkey! If I could do that, I have full confidence you can do it too! In the recipe below, I’m going to walk you through how to prepare, season, and roast your spatchcock chicken.

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Tools I used:

  • Sharp kitchen shears or very sharp knife
  • Roasting pan or large baking pan (We use these multiple times a week)
  • Meat thermometer
  • Cooling rack (optional)
  • Garlic mincer (optional)
  • Zester (optional)
  • Small bowl for herbed butter

How to prepare a spatchcock chicken

My favorite way of roasting a whole chicken is to use the Spatchcock method. The name is funny, but it makes an excellent dinner! To do this, you cut out the backbone and lay the chicken in an almost “butterfly” position. Don’t worry, I explain in more detail below.

Measure out your salt for Dry Brine

You want to start by measuring out your salt and placing it in a small dish so it’s easily accessible when you need it. 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pound of chicken is the perfect ratio! I learned this the hard way, and let me just say that you CAN use too much salt! I also add a couple twists of pepper from our pepper grinder to my little salt bowl. This is your dry brine.

Close-up of raw chicken on a cutting board and salt in a bowl
Remove chicken backbone
Woman using kitchen shears to cut backbone of raw chicken
Spatchcock or “butterfly” Chicken

Flip chicken over so the cavity side is down. Apply pressure to the topside of the breast (think CPR), allowing the chicken to lay in a sort of butterfly position (you may hear some cracking from the bones as you do this and the breastbone may split a bit – that’s ok!).

Hands pressing on raw chicken with a bowl of salt and scissors next to it
Remove excess moisture and speparate skin

After this, pat down the chicken on both sides with paper towels to remove excess moisture. I also like to take an added step here and separate the skin from the meat on the breasts, thighs, and legs. 

Woman using hand to separate skin from chicken breast meat
Apply Dry Brine and rest

Here’s where the dry brine comes in! Rub the salt mixture (dry brine) onto the chicken. Do this on the top, bottom, and in the “pocket” you created between the meat and skin. Place in roasting pan and let rest at room temperature for one hour before seasoning. 

Hands rubbing salt on raw chicken sitting on a wire rack above roasting pan
Optional 24 hour rest

Place the chicken elevated on a cooling rack in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. Make sure to place it over a roasting pan or cookie sheet with sides to catch the drippings. The next day, pull the chicken out to rest at room temperature for one hour before moving on to the next step (seasoning).

How to season a spatchcock chicken

I like to mix up an herbed butter to slather all over my chicken before roasting it. A great ratio is 1/2 Tablespoon of butter to 1/2 teaspoon of herbs for every pound of chicken. So, if you have a 6 pound chicken, you will use 3 Tablespoons of butter and 3 teaspoons of herbs.

Rosemary, thyme, basil, and sage make a delicious combo for poultry! I also like to add some minced garlic and lemon zest (we love this zester).

Take a chunk of the herbed butter (1/2 – 1 Tablespoon) and place it in the “pocket” between the skin and meat. Pat the rest of the butter on the top of the chicken. It’s very messy and doesn’t stick well, but it will be delicious-I promise! I also like to finish the top off with a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Picture of whole raw chicken covered in herb butter and olive oil

What temperature do you roast a spatchcock chicken at?

Bake at 400 degrees in a preheated oven.

How to know when a spatchcock chicken is done

Have you ever wondered what temperature to cook a whole, roasted chicken to? Chicken should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. However, you can take your chicken out of the oven at 155 degrees and let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes. The chicken will continue to cook and should reach 165 degrees…make sure to check it to be sure.

How do you check the temperature on a spatchcock chicken?

We use a very simple meat thermometer that we purchased at our local store. To check the temperature of the chicken, I like to insert the thermometer into the breast as that is the thickest part and I want to make sure all of the meat has come to a temperature of 165 degrees (or 155 degrees if I plan to let it continue “cooking” on the counter).

What to eat with spatchcock chicken?

We love to serve roasted chicken on a bed of rice with a side of vegetables. Some of our favorite veggies are roasted broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed green beans, and pan-fried asparagus. It’s also great to know what veggies are in season in your area becasue you will gain the most nutrition and flavor from in-season produce. Here’s a great resource to see what’s in season in your area.

What to do with leftover spatchcock chicken?

One reason I love to roast a whole chicken is that it usually leaves us with some leftovers! love making a roasted chicken go as far as possible by using the leftover meat for other meals.

Some great options are:

  • Shredded chicken in a rice and veggie bowl
  • Southwest chicken casserole
  • Chicken Pot Pie (recipe coming soon!)

Make sure to save the bones for nourishing bone broth. I usually pop the bones from the roasted chicken (yes, even after I’ve baked them), along with the raw backbone and any organs that came with the chicken in the freezer to make broth with at a later time.

If you make this recipe and love it, I’d love for you to give it 5 stars! Tag me on Instagram @sweetmeadowfarmhouse with your delicious creation and let me know!

Yield: 1 Whole Chicken

Spatchcock Chicken with Herbed Butter

Roasted chicken with fresh herbs on a white plate

Simple and delicious oven roasted spatchcock chicken! Perfect for a family dinner!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes


  • 6 lb whole chicken (see notes below for smaller or larger birds)

Dry Brine

  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Herbed butter

  • 3 Tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon ground rosemary (or fresh and use a mortar and pestle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (or zest from 1/2 lemon)


  1. Mix together salt and pepper for the dry brine.
  2. Cut out backbone from whole chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Flip chicken over so the cavity side is down and apply pressure to butterfly the chicken.
  3. Separate skin from above breast, thigh and leg meat to create a "pocket" for herbed butter.
  4. Rub dry brine on meat in the "pocket" space as well as on top and bottom of chicken and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. OPTIONAL: Place chicken elevated on a cooling rack (but still over the roasting pan to catch the drippings) in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. The next day, pull chicken out to rest at room temperature for 1 hour before seasoning.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Place chicken directly in roasting or baking pan.
  8. Mix herbed butter ingredients. Place 1/2 - 1 Tablespoon of butter mixture in the "pocket" between the skin and meat and spread around (I press it around from the outside of the skin after placing the butter in the "pocket"). Pat the rest of the butter over the top of the chicken. I also like to finish the top off with a little more salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
  9. Bake in oven for approximately 7-10 mintues per pound. So in the case of a 6 lb chicken, check temperature at 45 mintues. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. You want to check the temperature in the thickest part of the bird, the breast.


To adjust this recipe for a smaller or larger chicken change salt, butter and herb amounts as stated here:

Dry Brine: 1/2 teaspoon salt per pound of chicken

Herbed Butter: 1/2 Tablespoon butter per pound of chicken, 1/2 teaspoon combined herbs per pound of chicken

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