Spatchcocked Chicken with Lemon-Caper Butter

By Marge Perry & David Bonom

Skillet-roasting spatchcocked chicken does nearly magical things to an ordinary chicken: the result is golden crisp skin and juicy tender meat. In fact, because of the way the bird sits in the pan, the breast cooks to an ideal 160 degrees and the thigh to 170-175 F in the same amount of time. 

  • Yield: Makes 4 servings
  • Cuisine: American
  • Course: Dinner

All you need for this recipe and more...


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 (4 pound) whole chicken

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 tablespoons drained nonpareil capers

8 sprigs fresh thyme


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Rub the oil over the inside surface of a Cast Iron Skillet. 

2. Remove the backbone from the chicken: cut lengthwise along each side of the back bone with a sharp knife, discard and open the chicken like a book with the skin side facing down. Use the tip of your knife to score the cartilage that runs down the center, being careful not to cut through it, so that the chicken lies very flat. Season the chicken all over with the salt and pepper. 

3. Heat the skillet over medium heat until hot. When the oil is hot but not smoking place the chicken skin side down in the skillet. Cook until the underside is browned and no longer sticks to the surface of the skillet, about 10 minutes. Carefully transfer the chicken to a plate, skin side up. 

4. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter, lemon juice, chicken broth and capers to the skillet; bring to a boil and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the surface, until the liquid has reduced by about half, 2-3 minutes. Add half of the thyme sprigs to the skillet and place the chicken on top, skin side up. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170°F, about 33-35 minutes. 

5. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons butter into the pan juices until melted. Spoon sauce over chicken, add remaining thyme sprigs and serve.