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Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken

This Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken is an easy recipe that will show you how to butterfly a whole chicken in the air fryer on a flat surface. It cooks at an even and consistent temperature, resulting in tender and juicy meat!

spatchcock chicken in air fryer

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What is a Spatchcock Chicken?

Have you seen all of those photos of beautiful whole chickens on social media and in magazines? The breasts are perfectly cooked and the chicken’s legs look perfectly crafted. Spatchcock chicken allows the chicken to cook more evenly on a level surface. It’s also sometimes called splotched chicken.

It’s a cooking method that will butterfly the chicken and allow it to cook faster. With a regular roasted chicken, you typically run the risk of burning the wings and/or legs much faster than the breasts will cook. This method will help a lot with that!

To do this, you will have to remove the backbone from the chicken. This will open it up and allow it to lay flat. I like to use these cooking shears from Amazon. You can also use a knife, be careful!

You will save at least 20 minutes in comparison to roasting a chicken in the air fryer the typical way. This method is also so much better for tender meat! No overcooked chicken.

This same method will work for cornish hens!

What Type of Chicken to Use

You will want to grab a whole chicken, most will be young birds and range from 4-5 pounds. My 5.8 quart air fryer can fit a chicken up to 5 pounds. The one used in this recipe weighed 4 1/2 pounds and is an organic chicken from Butcher Box.

If you have an air fryer smaller than 5.8 quarts the chicken may not fit.

raw whole chicken in a glass bowl and a bowl of seasonings

Giblets Inside Chicken Cavity

Most whole chickens will come with the giblets already removed from the inner cavity of the chicken. Sometimes the butcher or store will include a pouch of the giblets for you. You can use these to make gravy, bone broth, etc.

If your chicken does not come with the giblets removed, you will have to remove them prior to air frying. (Hopefully, you will have noticed them while removing the backbone).

The giblets are the gizzards, liver, heart, etc of the chicken. (They can be pretty yucky to look at). It’s important to remove them because if they have been left in a plastic bag inside the chicken while it cooks, it will melt inside the chicken. The plastic contains chemicals that can spread to the chicken.

What Type of Seasoning to Use

I recommend a couple of different ways to season the chicken. One of my favorites that only requires a handful on ingredients is Creole Seasoning, smoked paprika (great for amazing color), salt, and pepper.

You can also season it the classic way with thyme, rosemary, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

How to Cook Spatchcock Chicken in the Air Fryer

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Pat the chicken dry.
  2. Place the chicken breast side down and locate the backbone of the chicken. It runs down the middle of the back and below the neck.
  3. Glide your sharp cooking shears or knife along the side of the backbone and cut to remove it. Do this for both sides of the backbone to remove it completely.
  4. Flip the chicken over and flatten the breasts of the chicken you should hear a crack. Turn the drumsticks so that they are positioned properly. I like to tuck the wings back below the breast. This helps keep them from browning quickly and is great for presentation.
  5. Rub the chicken in olive oil and spices.
  6. Air fry.
collage of 4 photos demonstrating how to cut the backbone off a whole chicken
person holding chicken backbone with cooking shears

Air Fryer Temperature

I recommend 350 degrees.

Cook Time/How Long to Cook

The chicken will need to cook from 35-45 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. Use a meat thermometer. This is important because you don’t want to guess if the chicken is done and sacrifice safety.

To test the internal temperature of the rotisserie chicken, place the thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken. This is typically the chicken thigh. You can read more about Thermometer Placement for Chicken here.

I often cook the chicken for longer than 165 degrees just to be sure every inch has cooked on the inside. You don’t want to slice into the chicken and see areas that aren’t cooked. You could simply place the chicken back in the air fryer, but this can be avoided.

Once the chicken has reached 165 degrees of temperature, monitor the skin and ensure it doesn’t burn or overcook and use your judgment on if the chicken needs additional time.

raw spatchcock chicken on a cutting board

Do You Need to Flip the Chicken?

No, that’s the beauty of the spatchcock method. The chicken cooks on one side.

raw seasoned spatchcock chicken on a cutting board

Allow the Chicken to Rest Before Slicing

You will need to let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes prior to slicing. While the chicken rests, moisture is redistributed. back into the meat. If you slice into it immediately, the juice will run out and you will end up with dry chicken. You can read more about the Science of Resting Meat here.

How to Store Leftovers

Leftover chicken can be stored in the fridge tightly sealed for 3-4 days. I love to use leftovers to make my Chicken Salad Recipe.

raw spatchcock chicken in air fryer
spatchcock chicken in air fryer with a meat thermometer showing 171 degrees

How to Reheat

The best way to reheat the chicken is in the air fryer. That will help keep it from drying out. Dark meat (richer in flavor and retains moisture) tends to be better for leftovers. If you know you are planning to have leftovers, maybe eat the breasts and wings first.

Freezer Tips

You can freeze the chicken, tightly sealed, for up to 4 months.

seasoned spatchcock chicken on a white plate
seasoned spatchcock chicken on a white plate

Pair With These Side Dish Recipes

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Roasted Ranch Potatoes
Air Fryer Green Beans
Air Fryer Asparagus
Air Fryer Roasted Potatoes
Air Fryer Glazed Carrots

Creamy Ranch Mashed Potatoes
Air Fryer Lobster Tails

seasoned spatchcock chicken on a white plate

More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes

Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
Air Fryer Cornish Hens
Air Fryer Fried Chicken Wings
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich
Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Wings
Air Fryer Cornish Hens
Air Fryer Chicken Kebabs
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
Air Fryer Buffalo Wings

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders
Ninja Foodi Grill Chicken Breast

seasoned spatchcock chicken on a white plate

Pair with my Dry Rub for Chicken, Southern Chicken Spaghetti or Air Fryer Frozen Burgers.

spatchcock chicken in air fryer
Print Pin
5 from 11 votes

Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken

This Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken is an easy recipe that will show you how to butterfly a whole chicken in the air fryer on a flat surface. It cooks at an even and consistent temperature, resulting in tender and juicy meat!
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword air fried spatchcock chicken, air fryer spatchcock chicken, how to air fry spatchcock chicken
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 5 servings
Calories 340kcal

Ingredients

  • 4.5-5 pound whole chicken Ensure the giblets have been removed.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil Use enough to completely cover the chicken.

Creole Seasoned Chicken

Traditional Chicken Seasoning and Rub (You can use your favorite store-bought chicken rub if you wish).

Instructions

  • Ensure the giblets have been removed from the inside of your chicken.
  • Pat the chicken dry. This is important because it will help the spices adhere to the chicken for optimal flavor.
  • Place the chicken breast side down and locate the backbone of the chicken. It runs down the middle of the back and below the neck.
  • Glide your sharp cooking shears or knife along the side of the backbone and cut to remove it. Do this for both sides of the backbone to remove it completely.
  • Flip the chicken over and flatten the breasts of the chicken you should hear a crack. Turn the drumsticks so that they are positioned properly. I like to tuck the wings back below the breast. This helps keep them from browning quickly and is great for presentation.
  • Rub the chicken down with olive oil and sprinkle the spices throughout. Rub the spices into the chicken.
  • Air fry for 35-45 minutes on 350 degrees.
  • Your cook time will vary based on the size chicken you have and the air fryer you use. You will need to test if the chicken is done by using a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest area of the chicken. This is often the thigh. Ensure the temperature has reached a minimum of 165 degrees. I typically test multiple areas of the chicken to be safe. (See notes.)
  • Allow the chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes prior to slicing. I allow it to rest in the air fryer basket outside of the air fryer unit.

Video

Notes

  • Use enough spices to ensure the chicken is fully coated. Adjust and add more if necessary.
  • The best way to flatten the breast bone is to snip the cartilage. With the back exposed after you remove the backbone, you will see a white area near the breast of the chicken. Use a knife or shears to snip the cartilage of this white area of the breast. It will allow the breast to lay flat immediately.
  • You will not need to flip the chicken while cooking.
  • I often cook the chicken for longer than 165 degrees just to be sure every inch has cooked on the inside. You don’t want to slice into the chicken and see areas that aren’t cooked. You could simply place the chicken back in the air fryer, but this can be avoided. Once the chicken has reached 165 degrees of temperature, monitor the skin and ensure it doesn’t burn or overcook and use your judgment on if the chicken needs additional cook time.
  • You will need to let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes prior to slicing. While the chicken rests, moisture is redistributed. back into the meat. If you slice into it immediately, the juice will run out and you will end up with dry chicken.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 22g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
Recipe Rating




Erin Lee

Saturday 12th of March 2022

I finally worked up the nerve to spatchcock a chicken myself. I appreciate the video. My teenage son said the chicken was bussin bussin.

Thursday 10th of March 2022

This was the best roast chicken ever! Thank you so, so much!

staysnatched

Friday 11th of March 2022

You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Connie Crossley

Sunday 6th of February 2022

Cooktime was longer but that was stated. Chicken was great! Juicy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and the seasoning had my tastebuds going crazy! Will be adding this to my recipe list!

staysnatched

Monday 7th of February 2022

Glad to hear it will be on the list.

Ashley

Friday 14th of January 2022

This is THE way to air fry a chicken! It turned out fantastic. I really appreciated the supplemental video you made being a first time spatch cooker too. Thanks again for another new family staple recipe.

staysnatched

Thursday 20th of January 2022

I’m glad to hear it will be a staple!

Carnyel Curry

Thursday 13th of January 2022

Another winning recipe with great information & notes to help perfect it. We've never spatchcocked a chicken but the video and pictures made it easy breezy. Brandi is always helping us level up the game!

staysnatched

Friday 14th of January 2022

I'm glad the notes were helpful!