This spatchcock chicken recipe is the best way to roast a whole chicken. Perfectly cooked, tender, juicy garlic herb roasted chicken with crispy, schmaltzy potatoes is the perfect one pan meal to feed the whole family.
What’s for dinner tonight? Is there anything better than a tender and juicy roast chicken? Actually, yes. It’s roasted chicken and roasted potatoes all cooking together in the same pan. We’re talking juicy meat, crispy skin and delicious, crispy potatoes flavored with all of the pan drippings. Serve it with a simple green salad and some wine for a complete meal and you’ve got a great recipe for a dinner party or weekend roast.
If this is your first time spatchcocking and roasting a whole chicken, you might feel a little intimidated. Do not worry! This will quickly become one of your go-to recipes that will make it easy for you to impress. All you need is a large roasting pan or cast iron skillet and a pair of sharp kitchen shears and you’re on your way. Let’s spatchcock a chicken!
Why you will love this recipe
If you’re always buying a rotisserie chicken to have on hand for a weeknight dinner, this will quickly become your favorite recipes. I love to make a whole roast chicken on a Sunday to enjoy and then use the leftover chicken in salads, tacos, bowls, whatever for the next few days. It really helps me feel like I’ve done something to set myself up for success early in the week.
You might be wondering, what does it mean to spatchcock a chicken and why should you never cook a whole chicken any other way. Honestly, once you spatchcock your first chicken, you’ll never go back!
Spatchcocking a chicken (or turkey!) means removing the backbone and breaking the breastbone of the bird so that it lies flat. Spatchcocking is the best way to cook a whole chicken or turkey for several reasons:
- Whole chicken roasts evenly
- Crispy skin and juicy meat
- Much shorter cook time
I love this recipe because everything cooks at the same tine in one pan for easy clean-up and it makes for great leftovers the next day!
How to spatchcock a chicken
Spatchcocking or butterflying a chicken is not as scary as it looks. Once you learn how, you’ll be doing this all the time.
Remove the giblets from the inside of the bird. Thoroughly pat chicken dry with paper towels. Make sure the chicken is breast side down on your cutting surface. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along each side of the backbone from the tail to the neck. You can save the backbone piece to make stock or throw it away.
Once the backbone is removed, flip the chicken over, grab the wings and breast meat on each side and bend the chicken inwards until the breastbone cracks. Push down on the top to flatten out the bird. Congrats, you did it!
It should be noted that some pros recommend snipping the cartilage beneath the breastbone and removing it entirely. This does help the chicken lay even flatter, but I personally don’t see any difference in how a baked chicken turns out with this extra step.
Ingredients and Variations
This is an easy recipe for flavorful garlic herb chicken. Feel free to put your own spin on it and change up the flavors!
- 3-4 pound whole chicken – at the grocery store, this size chicken will be labeled as a broiler or fryer. Roaster chickens are a bit larger, often weighing over five pounds. I find that this recipe works best with a broiler or fryer. For great quality meats, I use ButcherBox and always select a whole chicken as one of my cuts!
- Baby potatoes – I love to use the Boomer Gold baby yellow creamer potatoes from Little Potato Company. They are the perfect size and just so adorable. If you can’t find potatoes this small, you can halve or quarter larger baby potatoes. The most important thing is that they are about an inch in diameter so that they are ready at the same time as the chicken. I love yellow creamer potatoes for this recipe but you could also use red potatoes or fingerling potatoes.
- Fresh garlic – we’re using four garlic cloves and I prefer the flavor of fresh. You can absolutely season to taste with garlic powder if that’s easier for you.
- Herbs – I use a combination of dried and fresh herbs all the time depending on what I have on hand. You can experiment with whatever flavors you like including dried or fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme or just some good old Italian seasoning.
- Butter and olive oil – I prefer to use both in this recipe as I find that imparts the most flavor, keeps the meat moist and helps make the skin super crispy!
- Variations to try – If you want to get fancy with it, you can roast a whole garlic bulb in the pan with the chicken and potatoes or add some lemon juice or lemon zest to your garlic butter butter mixture or throw some whole lemons in the pan to roast up. It’s your world!
How to roast a whole spatchcock chicken with potatoes
Once your chicken is spatchcocked and prepped, the oven does all the work!
Use a food processor or mash together softened butter, olive oil, garlic and herbs. Using your hands, spread the garlic herb butter mixture all over the chicken. Use your fingers to gently pull up the skin and stuff some globs of butter under the skin of the chicken. Working the mixture underneath the chicken skin helps to make it perfectly brown and crispy and ensures that the meat stays tender and juicy!
Place potatoes in the pan, drizzle with olive oil and toss. Place the whole chicken breast side up in the same dish, moving the potatoes around the bird so that the chicken makes contact with the pan.
Roast chicken and potatoes together at 425 degrees until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the breast measures 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.
Remove chicken from the pan and transfer it to a cutting board. Tent it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before serving. Always let your chicken rest. This preserves the juiciness of the chicken. While the bird is resting, I like to put the potatoes back in the oven to keep them piping hot and make them even crispier.
What to serve with roast chicken and potatoes
This meal is simple, elegant and pairs perfectly with easy sides. Try it with:
More one pan meals to try
- Sheet Pan Teriyaki Salad with Baby Bok Choy
- Sheet Pan Sausage Potatoes and Green Beans
- Sheet Pan Shrimp and Asparagus
Spatchcock Roast Chicken and Potatoes
- 1 whole chicken 3-4 pound broiler or fryer
- 1.5 pounds baby potatoes yellow creamer
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Thoroughly pat whole chicken dry with paper towels. Spatchcock (remove the backbone) the chicken using sharp kitchen shears. Season butterflied chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
- In the bowl of a food processor add softened butter, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, fresh garlic cloves and herbs. Process until everything is well incorporated.
- Spread garlic herb butter mixture all over the chicken. Gently separate the skin from the meat and stuff some of the butter mixture under the skin.
- Add the baby potatoes to the roasting pan, drizzle with remaining olive oil and toss to coat.
- Move potatoes to the perimeter of the pan and place buttered chicken, breast side up, in the middle of the pan.
- Roast chicken and potatoes for 40-50 minutes or until the temperature reads 165 degrees on a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
- Remove chicken from the pan and transfer to a cutting board to rest. Tent with foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes before serving. While the chicken is resting, you can put the potatoes back into the oven to keep them piping hot and make the skins even crispier.