If you want the juiciest chicken with crispy skin and the most incredible flavor, then you have to make this lemon herb spatchcock chicken!

When I was pregnant with our second child I was not in any kind of position to cook, eat or even think about either thing. But it was like taking a surfer away from the ocean, I was determined to make better than ever meals when I had the baby. And spatchcock chicken was strangely at the top of my list. I have absolutely no idea why I hyper-fixated on chicken, but it ended up being a blessing. It gave me something to look forward to. To decide without ever deciding that I was going to not only survive, but thrive post traumatic pregnancy.

a photo of a spatchcock chicken that is golden covered in herbs and slices of lemon.

I’m not saying that anyone who is going through something hard should just think about chicken to fix things, because again, I WOULD NOT think about chicken during that time. But maybe there’s something about positive psychology that could take us from A-B that is found in the kitchen. So without telling you what I think… yet… what is the happiest memory you have around food?

Why does food more often attach itself to happiness than sadness?

I’ll move on, I know you just want the recipe, but it’s something to think about. Is there a secret about food and cooking that might make a difference in your happiness in the midst of your trial?

What is a Spatchcock Chicken?

A spatchcock chicken is the same thing as a butterflied chicken. It is a method for cooking chicken where you remove the backbone of a whole chicken and flatten it so that it lays flat and roasts more evenly. For some reason, this little bird’s legs curled up again at the end, but otherwise it will lay far more flat than this.

a photo of juicy tender sliced chicken breasts with crispy skin.

Why Do You Spatchcock a Chicken?

When you roast a whole chicken, the chicken breasts sit higher and cook first and dry out while the rest of the chicken comes to temperature.

With a spatchcock chicken, everything is at the same level and roasts evenly resulting in juicy chicken breasts, thighs, legs…the whole bird!

And the skin gets so crispy and delicious! I dare say that once you spatchcock, you’ll never go back to roasting a chicken any other way.

Do You Flip a Spatchcock When Cooking?

No, a spatchcock does not need to be flipped while cooking. You roast it with the meat side up and it will come to temperature just fine without flipping.

a photo of a large circular white platter with a broken down chicken separated into sliced chicken breasts, thighs, whole legs surrounded with roasted sliced lemons and fresh herbs.

What Do I Need to Make Spatchcock Chicken?

All you need to do is grab a whole chicken and then hit the produce section for some fresh herbs and citrus. You’ll likely have everything else you need in the pantry already. BONUS…this recipe is so budget friendly! Here is what you will need:

  • Whole Chicken: a 4-5 pound chicken works best, skin on
  • Kosher Salt: adds flavor
  • Pepper: adds flavor


  • Olive Oil: acts as the base for the marinade and helps the chicken stay moist while the skin gets crispy
  • Garlic: adds flavor
  • Fresh Rosemary: fresh is preferred but use dried if you need to
  • Fresh Parsley: fresh is preferred but use dried if you need to
  • Lemons: You will want to fully zest 1 lemon and juice 1-2 lemons. The third lemon will be sliced and placed on top of the chicken as it roasts.
  • Lime Juice: fresh is by far the best option here
  • Orange Zest: you will need the zest from 1 orange
  • Orange Juice: you should only need 1 orange to get the juice you need and fresh is best of course
  • Honey: adds natural sweetness

The measurements for every ingredient can be found in the recipe card below along with instructions for making the whole recipe.

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

The overall idea is to remove the backbone using very sharp kitchen shears and then flatten the whole chicken. To do this, you will place the chicken with the breast-side down with the neck facing you. Then using the kitchen shears, you will cut through the ribs on both sides of the spine removing the backbone.

Next you will open the rib cage and score the sternum with a heavy knife on the inside of the chicken. This will help when you flip the chicken over to flatten the chicken. Before flipping it over, season the inside with salt.

Now you will flip the chicken over so the breast-side is up. Then using the palm of your hand, push down firmly on the breast bone so that the chicken lays completely flat. You have now spatchcocked the chicken and it is ready to place in the marinade.

a photo of juicy roasted sliced chicken breasts topped with fresh herbs and surrounded by slices of lemon.

What to Eat with Roasted Chicken

I love this chicken with my whole soul, but I love finding the best sides to go with it even more! Here are a few of our favorites:

Ideas for Using Leftovers

This chicken recipe makes such delicious and moist chicken, you will want to use all the leftovers (if there are any!). You can eat it as is or you can repurpose it to other recipes like our out-of-this-world chicken pot pie, Hawaiian haystacks, chicken noodle soup or pesto chicken pasta. And those are just 4 possibilities! I could list probably a hundred more. Do a search on the blog for rotisserie chicken and you could use this chicken to replace rotisserie chicken in any recipe.

How to Store, Reheat and Freeze Roasted Chicken

Storing: Keep the chicken in an airtight container and it will keep for up to 3 days.

Reheating: You have a couple options when it comes to reheating chicken. One is to warm it up in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the chicken in an oven safe dish, add a half cup of chicken broth to keep it moist and cover the dish with foil. It will take about 20 minutes for it to heat through. This option will keep the skin crispy and not dry the chicken out.

The second option is to use the microwave. Place the chicken on a plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave it for a couple of minutes and it should be ready to go. The skin will lose some of its crispiness, but it is quick and easy option for reheating.

Freezing: This chicken freezes really well. I like to use the food saver to save any leftovers, and it will keep for up to 3 months. If you don’t have a food saver, you can just use a ziplock bag and press as much air out of it as possible.

a photo of a roasted spatchcock chicken that has been broken down on a large platter with the chicken breasts sliced and crispy skin on top.

Once you go spatchcock, you’ll never go back! That is a guarantee from me! And I also promise that making this spatchcock chicken is easy and eating it with the ones you love will bring comfort, happiness and a full belly!


Lemon Rosemary Spatchcock Chicken Recipe

4.25 from 8 votes
Servings: 6 people
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Marinating Time and Resting Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 25 minutes


  • 4 lb Whole Chicken
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper


  • 5 Tablesoons Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 3 Lemons
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 3 Tablespoons Orange Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey


Prepare the Chicken

  • Place chicken breast-side down with the neck facing towards you. Using kitchen shears, cut through the ribs on either side of the spine. Open the rib cage and use a heavy knife to score down the sternum. This will help pop out the breast bone and flatten chicken. Season inside the chicken with 1/2 of the teaspoon of salt and the pepper.
  • Flip the chicken over breast side up and using the palm of your hand, push firmly over the breast bone to force the chicken to lay completely flat.


  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the marinade ingredients, including zest of 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Cut 3 slices from the other lemon and set aside.
  • Pour into a ziploc and add the chicken, smooshing the bag to coat the chicken. Let rest in the fridge for a few hours, up to overnight.

Cook the Chicken

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  • Place the whole, raw chicken, cut side down on a cookie sheet. Scoop any marinade onto the top of the chicken and set 3 lemon slices on the bird and slide into the oven.
  • Bake uncovered at 425˚F for 45 min or until instant read thermometer reads 160˚F when inserted into thickest part of chicken breast. Remove from the oven and rest uncovered for 10 minutes on a cutting board before slicing.


Serving: 6ouncesCalories: 354kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 28gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 492mgPotassium: 391mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 366IUVitamin C: 38mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 2mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: Mom’s Best 100 Easy Chicken Recipes, Over 500 Family Dinner Recipes Ideas
Cuisine: American

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a photo of juicy roasted sliced chicken breasts topped with fresh herbs and surrounded by slices of lemon.