How to Cook a Whole Chicken
in Half the Time with Tyler Florence

Cook chicken in half the time with this simple technique!

by Tyler Florence & Kira Akerstorm

Butterflying (aka spatchcocking) a chicken is an easy technique that all home cooks should learn how to master. By removing the backbone (aka spine) of the chicken, you’ll be able to cut the cooking time in half, and it also allows the chicken to cook more evenly resulting in an extra crispy skin.

Chef Tyler Florence teaches us how to butterfly a chicken and gives us his three favorite quick and easy sheet pan recipes for Butterflied Birds.

Butterflying Chicken:

1. Place breast side down. Start by flipping the bird breast side down, tail facing toward you, on a cutting board.

2. Remove the spine. Grab a pair of kitchen shears or scissors and start cutting on either side of the spine until you reach the neck. Repeat on the other side. The spine should now come off easily. Tip! Freeze the spine and use later to flavor homemade stocks and broths. Check out this recipe for homemade chicken broth.

3. Flatten chicken. Use your palms to flatten the chicken gently.

4. Ready to cook! Great job - your chicken is now ready to be seasoned and cooked.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of butterflying a chicken, learn how to create these three easy and healthy, one-pan meals that your family is guaranteed to love. Best of all, these meals only take an hour or less to cook.

Butterflied Sheet Pan Chicken With Garden Vegetables

60 min

total time

15 min

active time

4-6

serving size

Marinade for Chicken

  • 1/2 bunch Oregano
  • 1/2 bunch Thyme
  • 5 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Whole Chicken

Garden Vegetables

  • 3 Zucchinis
  • 4-5 Tomatoes
  • 1 Russet Potato
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 bunch Thyme
  • 1/4 bunch Oregano

Optional For Serving

  • Italian Parsley

Instructions

1. Make Marinade and Prepare Chicken

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Pick leaves from ½ bunch oregano and ½ bunch thyme by sliding your fingers through the stem, roughly chop the herbs. Finely chop 5 peeled garlic cloves. Place everything in a large bowl. Zest 1 lemon into the bowl, making sure to only zest the yellow part which holds all the flavor; the white pith is bitter. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Add ¼ cup olive oil, 1 Tbsp. salt and ½ tsp. black pepper, and stir to combine.

Follow instructions above on how to butterfly 1 whole chicken. Add the butterflied chicken into the bowl of marinade and rub evenly to coat chicken. Place chicken, breast and legs facing up, onto one side of a sheet pan. Drizzle the remaining marinade from the bowl onto the chicken. Place the chicken on the middle rack, and cook for 15 minutes while you prepare the vegetables.

2. Prepare Vegetables

Slice 3 zucchinis, 4-5 tomatoes (depending on size) and 1 Russet potato into 1/4 inch rounds.

Take the par-cooked chicken out of the oven and arrange vegetables on the other side of the sheet pan. Drizzle vegetables with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and season with 2 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. black pepper. Pick the leaves from ¼ bunch thyme and ¼ bunch oregano, and sprinkle on top of vegetables.

Place the sheet pan back into the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or until the thickest part of the chicken breast registers between 155-165F, and the thigh registers 165-170F. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

3. Carve Chicken & Plate

Carve the chicken by placing it breast side up on a cutting board. Start by pulling one leg away, then cut through the connective tissue until the leg separates. Repeat with the other leg. Cut through the legs, between the drumstick and the thigh, to separate them (or keep them intact if desired). To separate the breasts, slide your knife alongside the breast bone, and at the same time pulling the breast gently away from the bone. You can now choose to remove the wings from the breast or keep them intact. Don’t forget to pick all the meat from the carcass.

Arrange chicken pieces on a plate or platter together with the vegetables. Spoon over pan sauce and garnish with parsley if desired.

Butterflied Sheet Pan Chicken with Shawarma Seasoning

60 min

total time

15 min

active time

4-6

serving size

Marinade for Chicken

  • 1 Tbsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground Cardamom
  • 2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Whole Chicken

Tzatziki

  • 1 cup Plain, Full-fat Yogurt
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1/2 English Cucumber
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1-2 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 bunch Dill
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

Vegetables

  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce
  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes

Optional For Serving

  • Store Bought Pita Bread
  • Lemon

Instructions

1. Make Marinade and Prepare Chicken

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine 1 Tbsp. ground cumin, 1 Tbsp. ground cardamom, 2 tsp. smoked paprika, and ½ tsp. cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Zest and juice in 1 lemon. Peel and grate in 1 garlic clove (by grating the garlic, the natural oils will release and add more flavor to the marinade). Add ¼ cup olive oil, 1 Tbsp. salt, and ½ tsp. black pepper, and stir to combine.

Follow instructions above on how to butterfly 1 whole chicken. Add the butterflied chicken into the bowl of marinade and rub evenly to coat chicken. Place chicken, breast and legs facing up, onto a sheet pan. Drizzle the remaining marinade from the bowl onto the chicken, adding additional olive oil if needed. Roast for 35 minutes, or until the thickest part of the chicken breast registers between 155-165F, and the thigh registers 165-170F. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

2. Prepare Tzatziki & Vegetables

While chicken is cooking, prepare the tzatziki and salad. Add 1 cup yogurt to a medium bowl. Grate 1 peeled clove of garlic and ½ english cucumber into the bowl. Add zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½ lemon. Season with 1-2 tsp. cumin. Chop ¼ bunch dill and add to bowl. Drizzle in 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and season with ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper. Mix to combine.

Prepare the vegetables by trimming the stem, and shredding 1 head of romaine lettuce. Slice 2 tomatoes. Set aside.

3. Carve Chicken & Plate

Carve the chicken by placing it breast side up on a cutting board. Start by pulling one leg away, then cut through the connective tissue until the leg separates. Repeat with the other leg. Cut through the legs, between the drumstick and the thigh, to separate them (or keep them intact if desired). To separate the breasts, slide your knife along side the breast bone, and at the same time pulling the breast gently away from the bone. You can now choose to remove the wings from the breast or keep them intact. Don’t forget to pick all the meat from the carcass.

Arrange chicken pieces on a plate or platter together with pita bread (optional), lettuce, tomatoes, and tzatziki. Spoon over pan sauce and garnish with a lemon wedge if desired.

Butterflied Sheet Pan Chicken With Fajita Seasoning

60 min

total time

15 min

active time

4-6

serving size

Marinade for Chicken

  • 1.5 Tbsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 2 Limes
  • 1/4 bunch Cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Whole Chicken

Vegetables

  • 2 Ears of Corn
  • 3 Bell Peppers
  • 5 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 bunch Cilantro

Optional For Serving

  • Tortillas
  • Avocado
  • Lime

Instructions

1. Make Marinade and Prepare Chicken

Preheat oven to 400F.

Add 1.5 Tbsp. cumin and 1 Tbsp. chili powder into a large bowl. Zest and juice in 2 limes. Chop ¼ bunch cilantro and add to the bowl together with ¼ cup olive oil, 1 Tbsp salt and ½ tsp. black pepper. Stir to combine.

Follow instructions above on how to butterfly 1 whole chicken. Add the butterflied chicken into the bowl of marinade and rub evenly to coat chicken. Place chicken, breast and legs facing up, onto one side of a sheet pan. Drizzle the remaining marinade from the bowl onto the chicken. Place the chicken on the middle rack and roast for 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the vegetables.

2. Prepare Vegetables

Husk and trim the ends of 2 ears of corn, and cut each ear of corn into 3 pieces. Halve 3 bell peppers, remove the seeds and white pith, and julienne. Peel 5 garlic cloves and smash them with the back of your knife. Peel and slice 1 yellow onion.

Take the par-cooked chicken out of the oven and arrange vegetables on the other side of the sheet pan. Season vegetables with ¼ tsp. black pepper and 2 tsp. Salt, and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Tear ¼ bunch cilantro on top the vegetables.

Place the sheet pan back into the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or until the thickest part of the chicken breast registers between 155-165F, and the thigh registers 165-170F. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

3. Carve Chicken & Plate

Carve the chicken by placing it breast side up on a cutting board. Start by pulling one leg away, then cut through the connective tissue until the leg separates. Repeat with the other leg. Cut through the legs, between the drumstick and the thigh, to separate them (or keep them intact if desired). To separate the breasts, slide your knife along side the breast bone, and at the same time pulling the breast gently away from the bone. You can now choose to remove the wings from the breast or keep them intact. Don’t forget to pick all the meat from the carcass.

Arrange chicken pieces on a plate or platter together with tortillas, avocado and lime wedges (optional).

Tips:

1. Add vegetables. Feel free to use your family’s favorite, seasonal vegetables. Almost all vegetables that are suitable for roasting will work in these recipes. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

2. Season to your taste. Feel free to also switch out any herbs or spices for the marinade according to your family’s taste preferences.

3. Make chicken broth or stock. Be sure to save the backbone and the roasted carcass to make a yummy, homemade chicken broth or stock.

4. Don’t overcook. Invest in a meat thermometer to ensure a perfectly cooked chicken each time.

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