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Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken
$10.15 Recipe/$1.69 Serving
Air fryer spatchcock chicken is so simple to make and ready in under an hour. Crispy skin, juicy, tender chicken that turns out perfectly cooked everytime! Perfect for Sunday dinner or weeknight meals.
Start by measuring out the salt and any spices you will use. Put them in a small bowl so you don’t cross contaminate anything when seasoning.Also I like to grab a bowl to put at my work station to collect any of the chicken or packaging I want to discard to try to reduce my trips to the trashcan. This helps to keep the kitchen clean and avoid any contamination. Also, use a plastic cutting board so you can immediately put it in the dishwasher.
Next, removing the packaging and the giblets from the cavity of the chicken (if they are included). Cut away any excess fat/skin you see atthe top/bottom of the chicken.
Flip the chicken to ensure the backbone is facing up.
Use sharp kitchen shears, start on one side of the backbone and cut down, tracing where you believe the vertebrae for the backbone end. You will be cutting through ribs and eventually have to crack through the joint that connects the legs to spine. Typically, I cut down from the neck towards the tail and stop when I feel the resistance at the joint. Then I flip the bird so the tail end is closer to me. This makes it easier for me to pop that joint vs. trying to cut through those larger bones.
Once you have one side of the backbone removed, cut the other side as well using the same technique.
After the backbone has been removed, flip the chicken over. Grab the chicken with both hands around the breast/wings and fold the chicken into itself, cracking the ribcage to help flatten the chicken. You can also put your weight into the chest to crack the breastbone.
Once the chicken is laying flat on your plastic cutting board, use your fingers to carefully separate the skin from the meat. This allows you to place the seasoning directly on the meat so the meat will be full of flavor, not just the skin.
Combine the seasoning and sprinkle small amounts of spice mix into each area of the chicken under the skin, using your fingers to distribute it under the skin as well as possible. Flip the chicken over and sprinkle the rest of the seasoning onto the backside of the chicken including the legs and thighs.
Once the chicken has been well seasoned, place it in the airfryer basket.
Put the basket into the air fryer and turn on the air fryer to 360F for 45 minutes (can take up to 55 minutes depending on the size of the bird and how it fits in your air fryer basket).
Letthe chicken cook in the air fryer for the first 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, pause and check the internal temperature. The chicken needs to be at 165F. I like to check the thighs and the breast in multiple spots to get a good reading.The rest of the cooking time will depend on the temperature reading.
Once the chicken is done (crispy on the outside, 165F temperature at multiple points), allow it to rest in the air fryer basket at least 10-15 minutes. This allows the basket to cool slightly and also allows the meat to rest and the juices to redistribute into the meat so that are locked in when you cut into the chicken.
Carefully remove the chicken (I use my hands as we gave the basket time to cool) or you could use tongs but the chicken could fall apart.
Be mindful at the store that your bird needs to fit in your air fryer basket. I like to choose birds around 4 pounds (or a little less) because our air fryer basket is on the smaller side. Most air fryer baskets should be able to cook a 4-5 pound chicken.
Put salt/spices under the skin to ensure the meat gets nice and flavorful. Spices on the outside of the bird can burn with the heating element of the air fryer.
When checking the temperature be sure the thickest part reads 165F (this is typically the thighs or the breast). I find that the chicken breast tend to be the last to come to temperature so I like to check the chicken in multiple spots to get a good indication that everything is well cooked. Also be sure you don’t hit a bone when you are taking temperature as that can really mess up the measurement.
Allow the chicken to rest 10-15 minutes to ensure all the juices find their way back into the meat.
Be sure to wash hands and use a plastic cutting board that can go in the dishwasher when handling raw chicken. I put a large bowl to the side to catch any scraps/the backbone so I can throw everything away at once and not be making trips to the trashcan dripping chicken juice everywhere.
Getting the chicken out of the air fryer basket can be tricky. I let the chicken and basket cool together (10-15 minutes) then lift the chicken out with my hands to ensure it doesn't fall apart.
Can use the backbone and other bones collected after cooking to make your own stock or bone broth
You can also make spatchcock Cornish hens in the air fryer in 20-30 minutes depending on their size.
Other spices you could use
Cajun seasoning – instead of Italian seasoning, you can instead use cajun seasoning
Smoked paprika + garlic powder – this is a super simple seasoning that can help the chicken taste like rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. You will want to use 1 tsp. garlic powder + ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika in place of the Italian seasoning.
Greek – add ½ teaspoon of oregano to the Italian seasoning to give it more of a Greek vibe.
Taco – use taco seasoning in place of the Italian seasoning.
Curry – use 1 teaspoon curry powder + ½ teaspoon cumin in place of the Italian seasoning.
Za’tar – use za’tar seasoning in place of the Italian seasoning
Ranch – use 1 tablespoon of ranch seasoning in place of the Italian seasoning.
Fridge: Store leftover chicken in a well sealed container for up to 3 days in the fridge. It’s easiest to remove the chicken from the bones when the chicken is still warm/room temperature, so be sure to remove the chicken from the bones before putting into the fridge.
Freezer: Freeze leftover chicken in a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months. Be sure to remove the chicken from the bones first. Label the freezer bag to include name, date and use by date.
Reheating leftover spatchcock chicken
Air fryer – Reheating food the same way it was cooked helps ensure it doesn’t overcook. Reheat leftover spatchcock air fryer chicken in the air fryer at 350F for 7-10 minutes.
Microwave – if you have removed the skin, you can simply microwave your leftover chicken for 1-2 minutes until warmed through. The skin will not get crispy when microwaving.
Stovetop – reheat cooked chicken in ¼-1/2 cup of liquid (water, stock, sauce) over medium low heat for 4-5 minutes until heated through. The added liquid can help ensure the chicken doesn’t dry out.