Save money on your chicken dinners
Buying a whole chicken is cheaper than buying pieces, and the leftover parts are ideal for making backbone of soup stocks. The same cutting method can be used for other fowl like duck or squab. We'll show you how to cut up a whole chicken in just 4 easy steps.
How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken
You'll need a large, sharp knife and a sturdy, washable cutting board. Top tip: Always cut through the joints rather than the bonea. The joints are easy to identify because that's where the legs, thighs, and wings bend. The only time You'll cut through the bone is when you cut the whole breast into two halves.
1. Clean out the cavity. Place the chicken breastbone-side up on a clean, flat cutting surface and reach inside the opening of the chicken to remove the neck and/or giblets that might be in there. You can set these pieces aside (except for the liver) to make homemade chicken stock. This is also a good time to pull off any excess chicken fat.
2. Cut off the legs. Working with one leg at a time, pull the leg away from the body and cut through the joint where the leg is attached to the body. After they're removed, you can cut through the joint to separate them into drumsticks and thighs.
3. Cut off the wings. Working with one wing at a time, pull the wing away from the body and cut through the joint where the wing is attached.
4. Cut off the chicken breasts. Turn the chicken breast-side down and remove the backbone by making a cut down both sides of the backbone. When the backbone is removed, you can keep the breasts turned skin-side down and cut lengthwise down the center of the breast to make two breast halves.
The backbone, neck, and giblets can be used to make homemade soup stock:
Here's how to debone chicken breasts and chicken thighs:
Put your chicken pieces to good use in these recipes:
- Crispy Oven-Roasted Rosemary Chicken with Sausage and Potatoes
- Coq au Vin alla Italiana
- Chicken Paprikash
- Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings
- More Chicken Recipes
More to Explore
See how Chef John cuts up a whole chicken using kitchen shears.