Lemon Roasted Spatchcock Chicken


Total Time:

1 hour 5 minutes



We’re spatchcocking today!! Get excited. This Lemon Roasted Spatchcock Chicken is coming your way and it’s a great way to meal prep for the week.

Lemon Roasted Spatchcock Chicken from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

In case you haven’t heard of spatchcocking – it’s basically splitting the chicken by removing the backbone and flattening it out so it roasts much faster. And while that might sound complicated – we’ve got a step by step photo tutorial on how to do it!

Growing up, my parents would always make whole roasted chickens on the regular. They were amazing to say the least. And let’s not even start on the crispy chicken skin – I’d demolish that by myself no problem. The whole house would smell fantastic and if there were leftovers, my mom would throw them into one of my favorite casseroles for the next night.

Lemon Roasted Spatchcock Chicken from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

These days, I make my own roasted chicken a few times a month. And when there are leftovers, I’ll throw them into the same casserole that my husband is now obsessed with or put them into a salad of some sorts. Last weekend we were in a bit of a rush to head over to a friends party, but I was determined to roast one off for the week to use as leftovers. So instead of roasting it whole, I spatchcocked it! GENIUS! Way less time and just as delicious.

Lemon Roasted Spatchcock Chicken from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Spatchcock is just a fancy way of calling a chicken or a turkey that’s been butterflied. The backbone is removed so you can open it up and roast the entire thing so it’s extra crispy.  I roast mine with tons of lemons, salt, pepper, garlic and whatever herbs I have on hand, plus some potatoes to catch any of the drippings and soak up all that flavor.

Once it’s done, not only will your house smell absurdly delicious, but you’ll have one good looking dinner and hopefully leftovers! Carve it up, shred it up, toss it into some enchiladas and never fear about having time to roast and entire chicken ever again!

And while this is a tutorial for a Spatchcock Chicken, you can do the same thing with a turkey! And you can spice either differently depending on what you plan on using the meat for.

Lemon Roasted Spatchcock Chicken

A super easy and foolproof way to make a Lemon Roasted Spatchcock Chicken!
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people


  • 1 4-pound whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 heads garlic, sliced in half
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 2 cups baby potatoes


  • Preheat the oven to 400°. Using poultry shears, cut along each side of the chicken backbone and remove it. Turn the chicken breast side up and press on the breastbone to flatten the chicken. Rub the chicken all over with the olive oil, oregano, thyme, lemon zest, juice and rosemary. Generously season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the chicken to a large cast iron skillet, skin side up with the garlic and lemon halves tucked in under the chicken. Scatter the potatoes around the chicken and drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper..
  • Roast for 45-50 minutes, until the skin is golden browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in an inner thigh registers 165°. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before serving

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Recipe Rating


  1. Monika

    I love the butterfly idea, and a great way to use up my lemons without making lemon squares!

  2. Kelsey

    Well this looks and sounds fabulous, but I can understand why’d you’d wait to share it with us! Congratulations on your engagement!! Lots of happiness to you and your fiancé!

  3. Becki’s Whole Life

    This sounds wonderful. I love the smell of a chicken roasting too – esp. when there is citrus and herbs involved! I just need to find a place to butterfly my chicken:-).

    • Dennis

      Do it yourself. It’s time to learn. Besides how bad can you mess it up. It’s just chicken.

  4. Téo

    Fiancé! The same casserole that my fiancé is now obsessed with…


  5. marla

    Not sure i can even say that name “Spatchcock” but I really love the idea of this! My kiddos would too 🙂

  6. Valentina

    this looks divine! one of my favorite parts of fall is filling the entire house with the aroma of roasting foods! yum!

  7. Russell at Chasing Delicious

    I love roasted chicken! I’ve never tried it butterflied or spatchcocked. Looks scrumptious. I love the lemon. Do the mere lemons make a big difference?

  8. Anna

    I rememeber when I was much younger the house smelled like roasted chicken, I can bet there will be guests arriving in a while. Now that there are a lot more kitchen gadgets (thanks to them!) roasted chicken does not mean a special occasion anymore. It can just be a great dinner for a great household who wants to enjoy great food. Thanks for sharing this magnificent recipe!

  9. Carol

    Just wondering on the size of your cast iron skillet Your Spatchcock Chicken sound amazing. Thank you.

  10. Willie Allen-Faiela

    5 stars
    This was soooo delicious! The chicken was juicy and tender and the sauce complemented it perfectly! I cheated a bit and bought a pre-spatcocked chicken from Whole Foods — definitely worth it as it made it far less labor intensive

  11. Monika

    5 stars
    I am so excited to try this, and the tutorial was VERY helpful. I love having the chicken done and using it in different things throughout the week.

  12. Anne Dick

    Can’t wait to try……..random question, do you ever freeze your basil vinaigrette?

  13. Lisa

    5 stars
    We made this last night, really really good! But it took the chicken almost 1.5 hours to be fully cooked, any idea why so much longer than expected?

  14. Sharie Montgomery

    5 stars
    I’ve made this dish several times and it’s so easy and tastes great. Definitely fancy enough for company.

  15. Jeanne Paderofsky

    5 stars
    I used a 4 lb chicken. It was already spatchcocked so I got to skip that step! Unfortunately due to the stay-at-home order I was out of potatoes. I was also out of lemons. I had plenty of garlic! So this is what I did, I opened up about eight cloves of garlic and smash them I put them at the bottom of the pan and put the chicken on top. I was fortunate enough to have herbs from my own garden that were dried. I had some frozen lemon cubes so I defrosted some and put them over the chicken and in the pan. the whole thing was totally awesome I was so excited I can’t wait to make it again and again.

    Sometime when I get out I will buy some potatoes to put in. This is extremely close to my favorite Greek restaurant except that they closed leaving me in the dust!
    Highly recommend this recipe.

  16. Kate

    Hey!! I have a chicken but it’s only about 2 pounds, do you think I could still make this an just adjust the cooking time? Or would you recommend not spatchcocking it because it smaller?

    • Gaby

      you could do it! just make sure to use an internal thermometer and take it out once it reaches the proper temp so you don’t overcook

  17. Tanja Booth

    5 stars
    Omg! The BEST! My first try at this turned out AMAZING!. Added carrots since I was low on potatoes. The lemon and garlic turned my broth into something GREATNESS! I also used my infused hot olive oil…I like a little kick. So many uses after I have my yummy meal!I wish I could post my out come! Thank you !

  18. Emily Laguna

    5 stars
    Best roasted chicken I’ve ever made! Love the herbs and lemon combination, and the chicken came out perfectly. Thanks!

  19. Patricia Trillich

    I’m doing this dish now – it smells heavenly & in 45 minutes, hubby & I are digging in

  20. Jacqueline Nussbaum

    4 pound chickens are not available at the supermarket- just 5 pound plus.
    I wish the master chefs would be realistic.

    • Gaby

      flattered you think I’m a master chef!! 4 lb birds are available at my market – but a 5 lb bird works too!! Just will need a little bit longer in the oven. I’d suggest having a meat thermometer to tell when it’s perfectly done!

  21. Ali

    5 stars
    Delicious recipe! I will definitely cook this again!!! My apartment smelled delicious 🙂

  22. Emily Laguna

    I LOVE this recipe! It has become part of our rotation, and it never disappoints, both for ease and deliciousness. I used to occasionally try to roast a whole chicken and almost always overcooked the white meat. This method cooks the whole chicken perfectly. I am the only one in my family who will eat the garlic cloves, but I will gladly carry that mantle 🙂 Thank you Gaby!!

  23. Judith Scott

    5 stars
    This recipe is the same as my Mom’s/she use to do this for the weekend Love it AWESOME! Thank you for having this and sharing it as l have looked everywhere for her’s this is the one..Thank you again so much.