Do you like to roast chicken? Have you ever butterflied your chicken before roasting?
This butterflied roast chicken recipe will blow you away with it's flavors and impress you with tenderness!
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Why should you prepared chicken in this way?
I first liked the idea of butterflying chicken before roasting because it's so much easier to carve. Then I realized that it cooks much more quickly and evenly. With butterflied roast chicken there is less chance of overcooking the breast before the thighs are cooked. So it's really a win win.
Don't be intimated. Take strong kitchen scissors and cut either side of the backbone starting at the tail. Remove the backbone then flatten by snapping the breastbone with the heel of your palm.
Butterflied Roast Chicken deserves to be the happiest chicken.
As I write this, I think it sounds a bit gory - all this removing backbones and crushing breastbones! But that's nothing when you grow up in a family that raised meat chickens. I have vivid memories of all the chickens hanging by their feet after having gone to "chicken heaven". Strangely I never appreciated the homegrown chickens and just wanted one that came wrapped in plastic. Aaaggh, what was I thinking. Now, I look for organic and free range chickens and happy chickens make delicious Butterflied Roast Chicken because the meat is much more flavoursome and juicy.
Now, I've given you all the tips and tricks you need for making the best butterflied roast chicken you will ever eat. Just serve with Crunchy Roast potatoes or Stuffed Baked Tomatoes for a perfect meal.
Comment below or contact me if you have any questions. Of course, you may just want more chicken recipes, if that's the case you must try my Easy Italian Chicken with Potatoes and Rosemary which is a wonderful slow cooked chicken recipe.
As always, I'd love to hear from you.
Let me know what you'd like see or what Marcellina in Cucina recipes you have made.
Butterfly Chicken Recipe
- 4 lb (1.8kg) chicken (fresh, preferably organic)
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup fresh herbs (see notes)
- 4 garlic cloves (maybe more depending on size)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- freshly ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1 teaspoon salt (extra)
To butterfly chicken
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and turn the chicken breast side down on the board. Using strong kitchen scissors ( the Jamie Oliver ones I have are great), start at the tail and cut up each side of the backbone and cut the backbone out.
- Turn chicken breast side up and press down with the heel of your palm onto the breast bone until you hear a snap.
- The chicken should now be flattened and ready for flavor bombing!
How to flavor and roast the butterflied chicken
- Preheat oven 400ºF/200ºC
- Take a long strip of rind off the lemon using a potato peeler (or as much lemon as you want). You don't want any white pith. Reserve the lemon.
- Using a mini food processor or similar appliance, process lemon rind, herbs, garlic and chilli flakes, if using, with ¼ extra virgin olive oil until finely chopped and looks a bit like pesto.
- Season with 2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground pepper
- Place the chicken in a roasting pan breast side down. Squeeze over the juice half of the lemon,
- Spoon a ⅓ of the herb/oil mixture over the chicken and spread evenly and into all crevices.
- Turn chicken over breast side up. Squeeze over the juice of the remaining lemon half.
- Slip your fingers gently between the breast and the skin to make a pocket to fill with goodness.
- Spoon some of the herb/oil mixture into the pocket you have just made then spoon and spread the rest over the chicken.
- Drizzle over remaining oil and sprinkle with extra salt (or to your taste).
- Roast for 1 hour. Check at 50 minutes. (see recipe notes)
- When cooked, remove and cover with loosely with foil to rest for 10 minutes.
- Any fresh herbs can be used - I like to use a combination of basil, parsley and at least 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves. If I have fresh tarragon or thyme that's lovely too. But the bulk of the herbs are made up of basil and parsley.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge for 20-30 minutes so that it can come to room temperature. Obviously, be sensible about this, if it's a stinking hot summers day the chicken will come to room temperature as you prepare it. The main thing is that a cold chicken will take longer to cook and you will have to adjust times to suit and then you risk drying out the breast meat.
- To know if the chicken is done, you can use a thermometer. I have read that you should check in the thickest part of the thigh which should read somewhere between 165ºF/75ºC - 175ºF/80ºC. Which is fine but use your commonsense. If the juices run clear, that's done and the meat should be firm not jiggly. I like the blood near the bone to be cooked and that only happens at about 185ºF/85º.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (75 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
Nutritional Information Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.
Beautiful, simple chicken with a foolproof recipe for a moist, delicious result everytime.
My brother does this a lot, but I never have and do not know why! Love the idea, and will have to do it next chicken I buy. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂 Looks delicious!
Christina, I love roasting chickens like this - it's quicker and the meat stays juicer.
I've always been terrified of butterflying a chicken - it's a job I leave for my husband! But your tips have shown me its not so hard, so I am definitely giving this a try soon. Thanks for sharing 🙂
That's great! Don't be nervous - you can do it!
I just made a similar recipe that had heating of a heavy skillet with the oven. The butterflied chicken was put breast side down and cooked for only 30 mins before turning over and cooking a further 10 mins. So same thing really cooked in 40 mins. Yuum.
That sounds like a great idea to heat the skillet first to speed up cooking even more!
I will try today on a snowing night,
Here in Toronto.
I let you know.
I actually made this today. It was a rainy day in North Queensland. I'd love to see a pic of your Butterflied Roast Chicken, Franco!
Fran @ G'day Souffle'
Marcellina, I'm actually visiting Hamilton Island now- in your neck of the woods (sort of)! You've inspired me to again make a butterflied chicken- the last time was years ago when I made a Piri-Piri chicken. Not to brag (ha,ha) but once I actually de-boned an entire duck! Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe!
Welcome to North Queensland, Fran! Lovely time to be here! I hope you have a great stay. Oooh, boned a chicken but never a duck. Actually I haven’t cooked a lot with duck but I love eating it!
Fran @ G'day Souffle'
I remember butterflying a chicken to make Piri-Piri chicken years ago- I agree it's not that hard and you've inspired me to try this again! (BTW- I pinned your photo)!
I'm 40 and I STILL haven't roasted a whole chicken and I don't have a good answer as to why that is. So that means, I need to get with the program and follow your recipe/techniques. Thank you for the inspiration!
You should try, Christina. It’s not that hard. Let me know how it turns out xx
Stacey @ The Sugar Coated Cottage
This roasted chicken looks like the perfect dinner! I like that you removed the back bone, I've always wanted to try this. Yum! Take care.
Thank you, Stacey! You should try. It’s not that hard. xx
I have never butterflied my chicken before... you have encouraged me to try Marcellina... thanks for the inspiration ♥ Your chicken looks perfectly roasted. Can't wait to see your chicken sauce.