This oven roasted butterfly chicken, also known as spatchcock chicken, is so easy to make and absolutely delicious! It’s cooked on one sheet pan with roasted brussels sprouts and potatoes, so it’s a complete meal that’s Whole30, Paleo, GF, and WW friendly!
You guys know I love super easy recipes. But even though this chicken dish looks fancy, it’s actually quick and simple (plus it tastes absolutely wonderful), so it’s great weeknight meal. Best of all, this entire meal is cooked on one sheet pan, so there’s hardly any cleanup!
You might be thinking, “What is butterfly chicken?!” The name is a little funny, but it’s just another name for split chicken or spatchcock chicken.
I use the term because I think it’s a little whimsical, but a butterfly (or butterflied) chicken is just a whole chicken with backbone removed that has been pressed and flattened.
Butterflied chicken will cook quicker and more evenly than a whole roasted chicken, the skin will get super crispy, and the meat stays moist and super juicy.
It can be grilled or oven roasted, making it the perfect way to cook a whole chicken when you want something fabulous! And while it’s served with veggies already, you can also serve it with whatever side dishes you have on hand, like my air fryer garlic mushrooms or roasted broccoli.
Get your grocery list ready, because here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe at home! As is, all the ingredients in the recipe are Whole30, Paleo, WW friendly and Gluten Free friendly.
- Whole Chicken: Butterfly chicken works best with small to medium sized chickens, so look for a bird that’s between 3.5 and 4 pounds. Trim the excess fat and pat it dry with a few paper towels.
- Olive Oil
- Seasonings: This recipe calls for salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano, but you can adapt this recipe to use any flavors you enjoy, like rosemary, thyme, or dill. If you have a gluten sensitivity, be sure to check your seasonings for GF certification!
- Produce: Lemon, brussels sprouts, and potatoes. You can substitute any vegetables you like here that call for similar cook times – some good choices would be diced butternut squash or broccoli.
*For a Keto/Low Carb adaptation, omit the potatoes and substitute radishes.
How to Butterfly a Chicken
You’ll be surprised at how simple it is to butterfly a chicken! It only takes about 2-3 minutes in total. Even novice cooks can learn this skill, but if you’d rather skip it, just ask your butcher to butterfly the chicken for you!
- Place the chicken with the breasts facing up. Use a sharp scissors to cut along one side of the backbone from end to end.
- Cut along the other side of the backbone, removing about about 1 inch of spine in width.
- Completely remove the spine section from the chicken. Either save the backbone to roast along with the chicken carcass when you make stock, or discard it.
- Lay the chicken flat and use your hands to press down firmly, flattening the chicken. You’ll hear a crack, and that means you’ve done it! You can tuck the wings underneath or not (I don’t).
Step by Step Instructions
First, season and marinate the chicken. Lay the butterflied chicken on a parchment or foil lined sheet pan. Be sure to pat it dry with a few paper towels, then rub it all over with the oil and seasonings, using your fingers to rub it under the skin too.
Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, but you can marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, wash the vegetables. Remove the large stems from the Brussels sprouts and cut into halves. Cut the potatoes into quarters. Cut the lemon into quarters.
Transfer the vegetables to a bowl, and toss with the remaining oil and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables and lemon pieces on the sheet pan.
Set in the oven and cook for about 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into it.
Note: The Brussels sprouts become very crispy cooked at this temperature for 40 minutes. If you like your Brussels sprouts a little firmer, simply remove the sheet pan from the oven after about 30 minutes.
Use a spatula to remove the vegetables, setting them on a plate. Put the chicken alone back into the oven for another 10 minutes, until cooked to proper temperature.
- How to Grill Butterfly Chicken: Oven roasting isn’t the only way to cook butterfly chicken! If you’d like, you can cook the chicken on the grill rather than in the oven! Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, and place the rack about 5 inches from the flame.
Lightly brush the grill with oil, then place the seasoned chicken skin side down on the grill and close the cover. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the skin is starting to crisp and it easily releases from the grill grates.
Flip the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to test the temperature is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part of the thigh.
- To store leftover chicken: If you have extra leftover roasted chicken, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Alternately, you can freeze leftover chicken for use within 4 months, per USDA. To repurpose the leftover chicken, make my Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers!
Making this recipe? Tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom so I can see your creations!
Oven Roasted Butterfly Chicken
- 1 3.5 – 4 lb. chicken
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 cups brussels sprouts
- 3-4 medium potatoes
- 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Butterfly the Chicken
- Place the chicken with the breasts facing up. Use a sharp kitchen shears to cut along one side of the backbone from end to end. Cut along the other side of the backbone, completely removing about about 1 inch wide portion of the spine. Turn the chicken over and use your hands to press down firmly, flattening the chicken until you hear the crack of the breastbone. Optionally, you can tuck the wings.
Marinate the Chicken
- Lay the butterflied chicken on a parchment or foil lined sheet pan. Pat it dry with a few paper towels, then rub it all over with 2 Tablespoons of oil and seasonings, using your fingers to rub it under the skin too. Let the chicken marinate in the seasonings for at least 30 minutes, but you can marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Prepare the Dish
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, wash the vegetables. Remove the large stems from the Brussels sprouts and cut into halves. Cut the potatoes into quarters. Cut the lemon into quarters. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl, and toss with the remaining oil and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables and lemon pieces on the sheet pan.
- Set the sheet pan in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, using a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature has reached 165 F at the thickest part of the thigh. Allow the chicken to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.