So you want to spatchcock a chicken, do you? This Flat Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes is the perfect recipe for a spatchcocked chicken! Who knew that roast chicken on a weeknight could be so easy?

Pieces of Flat Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts served in a white oval serving platter.

So, I spatchcocked my first chicken a couple of months ago. 

And I KNOW that sounds horrific if you’ve never heard the term before. But in no uncertain terms, it means that I flattened a chicken. And honestly, it was way more difficult that I thought it was going to be.

Up until now, when I’ve wanted to grill a whole chicken, I’ve had the butcher do the hard work and not only take out the backbone, like I did here for this recipe, but bone the whole chicken as well.  (Or is it de-bone? I know it’s not [ahem], de-thaw, but how does it work with bones?)

ANYwhooo, when I mentioned this on Facebook the night that I made this flat roasted chicken with teeny tiny potatoes, some of you said you spatchcock on a regular basis. 

Guys, maybe it’s because this was my first time, but it took me nearly 15 minutes to cut out the backbone. Is this normal?? Do I need a sharper pair of kitchen shears?

How to Make Flat Roast Chicken

In any event, once I got the chicken butterflied, this recipe was smooth-sailing. You’ll season the chicken with salt and pepper and lay the chicken out in a roasting pan.

Then, like any good one pan recipe, you’ll add some things to the pan. First, toss some potatoes (and whatever other veggies you have hanging out in the fridge) with melted butter around the chicken. 

As the chicken cooks, the juices flavor the potatoes and you’ve got yourself a classic French street food dinner in one pan, in perhaps a little over an hour.

Because the chicken is flattened out, it takes a little less time to cook than a fat, round roast chicken does, and if I’m able to manage roasted chicken on a weeknight, I’m a happy, happy woman!

Pieces of Flat Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts served in a white oval serving platter.

Flat Roasted Chicken with Tiny Potatoes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Flat Roasted Chicken is simply a whole spatchcocked chicken that's had the spine removed and opened up flat in a pan. For this recipe, you'll add a bunch of tiny potatoes around the chicken, which will cook in melted butter and the chicken drippings. The whole meal is ready in under 1 hour and it's phenomenal!!


  • One 3 to 3 ½ lb whole chicken
  • Table salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ lbs fingerling, tiny yellow, or baby red potatoes
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh herbs for finishing like thyme, parsley, or rosemary


  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  2. Using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, cut out the backbone of the chicken. If you've never done this before, flip the bird so it is breast-side-down and from the neck cavity, cut along one side of the backbone. This is going to take some muscle so be prepared. Then cut along the other side and snip off the backbone. Either discard or freeze it to use for chicken stock at a later time. If you can't bring yourself to try this - though I suggest you do! - have your butcher do this for you.
  3. Flatten out the chicken and sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Lay the bird breast-side-up in the roasting pan. Nestle the potatoes around the outside of the chicken, squeezing them all into the pan and perhaps slightly underneath the chicken if need-be. Drizzle the potatoes with the butter and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken (when you stick the meat thermometer into the thigh) is 165° F. It's always a good idea to check the temperature of a whole chicken no matter how long you cook it for - they can be tricky sometimes.
  5. Once the chicken is finished, transfer it from the pan to a carving board. Cut off the chicken pieces and arrange them with the potatoes on a large serving platter. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the chicken and sprinkle with the fresh herbs. Serve hot.


adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

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Leave a Comment

  • February 18, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Well, now I won’t be offended when I hear the term spatchcocked, now that I know what it actually means. 🙂

  • February 18, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    I *love* flat roast chicken! It definitely took me a long time to cut the backbone out the first few times I made it, but it gets easier with practice. And yes, sharp scissors definitely make a world of difference.

  • February 19, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    I love this recipe! It was the first thing I made out of Deb’s book and it worked like a charm. I’m intrigued by the Brussels sprouts in your picture – you don’t mention them in the recipe. Did you toss them under the chicken with the potatoes or cook them separately? They look like a great addition to the dish!

    • February 19, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      Kristin, I just cut a bunch of Brussels sprouts in half and tossed them in with the potatoes. They browned up really nicely and soaked up all of the chicken goodness. 🙂

  • February 19, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Every time I see this in SK I want to make it, but I never have much luck with whole chickens to begin with! But seriously, this looks so delicious that I’m sure one day I’ll try it!

  • February 19, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    my husband & i love making a whole roasted chicken on sunday afternoons…but this would be a whole new game for us! i’m a little scared of the cutting, if you know what i mean. 🙂 but i’m sure it’s amazing!

  • bmk112302
    February 19, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    I’m also a big fan of flat roasted chicken. I’ve made a few recipes including this one. It should take you all of 5 minutes or less to get the backbone out. Sharp scissors help but you need to make sure you are cutting along the right lines. If you are, it should be really easy. I watched a YouTube video before I did my first one and it was really helpful.

  • February 22, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    I’ve always wanted to make a flat-roasted chicken, but cutting the backbone out really skeeves me out for some reason. This looks so so good though, and I actually picked up some tiny potatoes from whole foods last week, so maybe I’ll give it a try…

    Great photo too!

  • February 25, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    I’m a spatchcock virgin (Good gracious, that word sounds so dirty!) but this recipe may have just convinced me to go for it. It looks delish, especially with those Brussels sprouts!

  • February 25, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    To, roast chicken is one of the quintessential comfort foods. And this one looks fantastic. I love the potatoes and brussel sprouts with it!

  • taraliptak
    April 17, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    Oh yeah – I bet brining makes a huge difference. I love love love brined chicken. Good to know about the cartilage also. I haven’t spatchcocked a chicken since I made this recipe so I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks!