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How to Cut a Whole Chicken

  • Kate Francis

    Step 1: Cutting Chicken Legs

    Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place on a cutting board with the wings away from you. Gently pull leg away from side of breast and slice through skin and meat.

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  • Kate Francis

    Step 2: Separating Legs and Wings from Chicken

    Bend leg joint away from body. Insert knife and cut down through joint in one quick motion, separating whole leg from body. If desired, repeat with wing on same side of bird, slicing down through joint closest to body.

  • Kate Francis

    Step 3: Separating Thighs and Drumsticks

    If you want to leave the chicken leg whole, omit this step. If not, turn leg over so it sits skin-side down. Slice along fat line between thigh and drumstick. Cut cleanly through leg joint. Repeat steps with opposite leg and wing, if desired.

  • Kate Francis

    Step 4: Cutting the Body

    Starting at pointed end of breast, slice down through body cavity towards thickest part of breast, separating from backbone (save for making stock or discard).

  • Kate Francis

    Step 5: Splitting Chicken Breast

    Turn breast skin-side down and split in half along breastbone (this will require firm pressure).

  • Kate Francis

    Step 6: Cutting Breast Pieces

    Turn over breast pieces and cut each in half, to create a total of 10 chicken pieces (2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and 4 breast pieces).

    Originally published on, February 2010.