Our favorite way to grill a whole chicken, Grilled Spatchcock Chicken cooks in half the time it takes to cook a whole roasting chicken with tender, juicy, flavorful results. Rubbed with a light garlic herb oil blend before cooking, this simple chicken recipe is the best of the grilling season.

Overhead shot of grilled spatchcock chicken on a white platter with lemons.

Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

Chicken reigns supreme during the summer months of grilling and we’re always looking for more ways to cook it up so it doesn’t get boring. A whole chicken on the grill is one of life’s simple pleasures but it takes forever and is hard to cook it evenly. Enter the Spatchcock Chicken. You’re going to love it.

Spatchcock sounds like such a funny word but it’s the magic word when it comes to cooking a whole chicken on the grill. This butterfly technique is simple to do and gives you the most flavorful, juicy grilled chicken you’ll ever sink your fork into.

We love cooking this chicken recipe for guests during the summer months because it’s super simple with minimal cleanup and you can season it with so many things. For this recipe, I used a simple garlic herb blend which is similar to my favorite Garlic Butter Sauce which you can also use. Then, drizzle the remaining all over the cooked chicken right before serving. Drooling yet?

What is Spatchcock Chicken?

A spatchcock chicken is, basically, a whole chicken with the backbone removed and then butterflied by pressing down on the breast bone until it’s flat. 

It sounds complicated but it’s actually quite simple to do. The benefit of making a spatchcock chicken is it cuts the cooking time in half while the chicken stays juicy and tender.

You can roast spatchcock chicken, too but we really love cooking it on the grill.

The term “spatchcock” is said to be a 17th century shorthand for “dispatching the cock”, meaning to open a chicken carcass in order to cook it.

Overhead shot of grilled spatchcock chicken on a white platter on a blue background.

How to Spatchcock a Chicken

This technique is really simple to do and all you need is a good pair of kitchen shears to get the job done.

  1. Place the chicken flat on a cutting board breast side down.
  2. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along the outside of the backbone and then repeat on the other side.
  3. Flatten the chicken by opening up the sides and flip it over on the cutting board, breast side up.
  4. Press down on the center of the breastbone to flatten completely.
  5. Cut the wing tips off at the first joint so they don’t burn while cooking.

Now you spatchcocked your chicken and you’re ready to grill it!

How to Grill a Whole Chicken

You can easily season your chicken with whatever you like but for this recipe I like to use a really great olive oil blended with minced garlic and Italian seasoning. It’s really flavorful all on it’s own so I like to dress it simply.

Sometimes, we like to use this rotisserie seasoning blend over and under the skin or you can get creative by using something else like ranch seasoning or even our favorite BBQ seasoning.

  1. Season your chicken over and under the skin, as well as, the inside of the chicken.
  2. Prepare your grill.
  3. Place the chicken skin side up on the indirect side of the grill with the legs facing the hotter side of the grill. (The legs take longer to cook than the breast.)
  4. Cover and cook until an instant read thermometer reads 150˚F.
  5. Move to the chicken to the direct heat side of the grill and cook for 3-4 more minutes.
  6. Flip the chicken over and cook for 4-5 minutes to crisp up the skin.
  7. Flip the chicken once more and check for doneness. If the temperature reads 165˚F, you are done.
  8. Transfer to a platter and cover with foil.
  9. Rest the chicken for 10 minutes before serving.
Overhead shot of spatchcock chicken on a white platter with lemons.

What To Serve It With

We love to keep things simple when serving our Grilled Spatchcock Chicken and it goes really well with these Grilled Potatoes with onions and garlic. We also love it with it with grilled asparagus and parmesan corn on the cob.

Or start things off with a Wedge Salad and pile high a mountain of German potato salad!

More Chicken Recipes

Looking for more easy Chicken recipes for summer…..we love this easy chicken breast recipe that you can make indoors or out. 

This easy Parmesan Chicken is one of our all time favorites and this Cast Iron Chicken is nothing short of amazing.

If you’re looking for a smaller version with the same great flavor, these Cornish Hens are definitely the way to go.

Amp up the flavor of any chicken recipe with this easy Chicken Brine!

Sliced baked chicken breast being basted with a blue silicone basting brush on a foil lined baking sheet.


Overhead shot of spatchcock chicken on a white platter with lemons.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Spatchcock Chicken Recipe

The fastest way to cook tender, juicy chicken on the grill. Easy Spatchcocked Chicken is a whole chicken you can cook on the grill in half the time it takes to roast a whole chicken.
5 from 3 votes


  • 1 whole chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds spatchcocked
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper


  • grill
  • kitchen shears


  • Using kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut the chicken alongside the backbone and repeat with the opposite side to remove the bone.
  • Pull out the spine, flip the chicken over and press down on the breast bone of the chicken to flatten it. You will hear the bone snap and the chicken will easily flatten.
  • Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Place the chicken in a large resealable plastic bag and place the bag in a bowl to prevent leakage.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken. Seal the bag and rotate it around to evenly distribute the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season generously all over with salt and pepper.
  • Allow the chicken to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to remove the chill and allow it to cook evenly.
  • Prepare a grill for medium indirect heat
  • Place the chicken skin-side up on the indirect side of the grill with the legs facing the hotter side.
  • Cover and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (avoiding the bone) reads 150˚F (almost cooked through), about 50 minutes.
  • Move the chicken to the direct-heat side of the grill. After 2-3 minutes, flip the chicken over to crisp the skin side, another 3 or 4 minutes.
  • Check the temperature in the thigh to be sure it reads 165˚ F. If not, move the chicken back to the indirect side, cover and cook until the final temperature is reached.
  • Remove from the grill; let rest for 10-20 minutes before carving.


Chicken can be left in the marinade for up to 24 hours.
All grills are different. Cooking times may vary, so adjust as needed.
Calories: 214kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 71mg, Sodium: 358mg, Potassium: 219mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 155IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 36mg, Iron: 1mg