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Roasted Half Chicken

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Roasted half chicken recipe, crispy skin, and juicy, tender meat. What would you ask more from a simple chicken?

We love chicken. I’ve been roasting, frying, poaching, sauteing chicken in so many ways over the years, I cannot even remember all the different recipes I’ve ever made. Try some potato-crusted chicken, some balti chicken curry, or some cast-iron chicken thighs, for instance.

roasted chicken pieces on a vintage plate

But roasting chicken halves is something I do regularly, a recipe I know by heart. So is it a recipe after all? More of a method. Pretty straightforward: split the bird if it is not already cut in half, season and bake. That’s pretty much it!

The results are always delightful, exactly what you would ever wish when having roasted chicken: tender, juicy meat and crispy skin, a lot of flavors, and heartiness. And that expressly, you will definitely need less time for roasted half chicken than you would need for a whole chicken.

thighs and drumsticks on a vintage plate

How to cut a chicken in half?

  • You will need a large cutting board, a really sharp small knife, a large chef’s knife, and kitchen shears. (1)
  • Place the bird breast-side down and with the neck end closest to you. (2)
  • Remove the backbone by cutting it all the way down with the kitchen shears. (3)
  • Turn the cutting board so that the legs are closest to you now and open up the bird. (4)

cutting a chicken in half with shears and knife

  • Remove the white cartilage that joins the bones by cutting on either side of it. When you can get a hold of it, lift it with your hand and cut around it until it is released. (1,2)
  • Flip the bird skin-side up and press it down with your hands to flatten it on the board.
  • Now it is butterflied or spatchcocked, and you can use it like that for other recipes.
  • To cut it in half, use a large chef’s knife. Start at the neck and cut all the way down. (3)
  • Never throw away the backbone and all the rest. Use them to make stock. (4)
  • Check Nando’s Butterfly Chicken to learn how to butterfly chicken breast.

cutting a chicken in half step by step


  • I keep it simple most of the time: a mixture of olive oil, sweet ground paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • I often add a touch of hot or smoked paprika (either sweet or hot) and some garlic powder.
  • You can also use your favorite spice blend for poultry or try some curry powder for an exotic touch.

brushing meat with seasoning on the baking tray
close up chicken thigh with crispy skin

How long to bake chicken halves?

  • The chicken halves I normally have weighed about 1 kg/ 2.2 lb.
  • Let sit on the counter for about 30 minutes; they should not be refrigerator cold.
  • In the meantime, preheat the oven.
  • Brush well with the seasoning mixture on both sides and under the wings and legs as well.
  • Bake in the preheated oven at 180 C/ 350 F for 35-40 minutes until golden and cooked through.
  • You can turn on the grill function during the last 1-2 minutes of the cooking time, if the skin should get even crispier and if your oven allows it. In this case, keep a very close look on the bird, not that the skin becomes too dark.
  • I didn’t use the grill, but you can see that the skin is as crispy and nice as it can be.
  • It is best to check the inner temperature with a meat thermometer; it should be 74 C/ 165 F. You can also check by piercing it in the thickest part of the thigh with a toothpick; the juices should run clear (Amazon affiliate link).
  • Let the roasted half chicken rest for about 5 minutes and serve.

pile of meat on a plate with polenta in the back

What to serve with it?

baked chicken halves on a plate with polenta

What to do with leftovers?

  • Leftovers can be reheated in the oven at about 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit until heated through.
  • They can also be served without reheating.
  • Use meat pieces to add to soup, make enchiladas or tortillas, stuff into sandwiches, make a chicken salad, and so on.

More baked chicken:

roasted chicken pieces on a vintage plate

Roasted Half Chicken

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Roasted half chicken recipe, crispy skin, and juicy, tender meat. What would you ask more from a simple chicken?


  • 2 chicken halves, weighing between 1-1.2 kg/ 2.2-2.6 lbs each
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sweet paprika (or 2 teaspoons if using only sweet paprika)
  • ¼ teaspoon hot paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, optional (either hot or sweet, to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • some black pepper


  1. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. If you need to cut a whole chicken in half, see the instructions in the blog post. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the olive oil and all the spices. Add a little more oil, if necessary, to obtain a mixture that is easy to brush.
  3. Place the chicken halves on the baking tray skin-side down. Brush the chicken generously with the spice mixture. Flip the halves and brush the skin all over, including under the wings and under the legs. Arrange them on the tray, making sure that they don't touch each other.
  4. Roast for 35-40 minutes and check if the chicken is cooked through. It should be golden brown and crispy, and the inner temperature should be 74 C/ 165 F. You can also check by piercing the chicken in the thickest part of the thigh with a toothpick; the juices should run clear. For extra color and crispiness, you can turn on the grill function of your oven for the last 1-2 minutes of the cooking time. In this case, keep a close watch; you don't want the skin to scorch. Let rest for about 5 minutes and serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 of the chicken
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 520mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 41g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Michael Marr

Thursday 27th of May 2021

35-40 is so far off . Just plain wrong at this temp .


Thursday 27th of May 2021

Well, it works for me and for all the other people who already cooked this recipe. Did you at least try it?


Wednesday 26th of May 2021

Hi Adina, great recipe! Could you please add a note about cooking with foil - are the numbers the same? I ask because I cannot abide chicken that feels dry, so covered cooking followed by a quick blast from the grill seems ideal, but I'm not sure of timings and temperatures.

As for the trolls, ignore them. Usually what we see is their own weaknesses reflected back at us.


Monday 31st of May 2021

Hi Zan. Sorry about the delay, your comment landed in spam and I only found it now. I cannot really help regarding the foil, because I've never used it for this recipe. The temperature should be the same, but the chicken might take longer to cook, best thing is to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. However, don't worry about this being dry, if you don't overcook it will be perfectly moist.


Sunday 28th of March 2021

Thank you for sharing!!


Sunday 28th of March 2021

Thank you for your comment. :)

Philip Drosdik

Sunday 14th of March 2021

I’m going to give it a go tonight. On rudeness, I think a lot of people are apt to be thoughtless or even mindless but there are rude people too. Being kind, gentle and thoughtful is contagious and makes you stand out

Christopher Lowell

Saturday 10th of April 2021

@Philip Drosdik, That’s so true. On my site I don’t allow visible comments because, with the vale of anonymity, people push and feel entitled. I make them write a note in a reply box that goes directly to me so I can monitor what others on my site see. The goal is a simple line of defense to assure that folks know they’re in a safe place. Until we relearn boundaries and manners. It’s all we can do. Shine our best light.

As for the recipe, it’s just fine. I actually do the same one but do half butter half olive oil. Then add whatever herbs you like. You can also up the temperature to 375 and even 400 if you have a good hood vent. Just keep checking on it.


Sunday 28th of March 2021

@Philip Drosdik, you couldn't of said it better.


Monday 15th of March 2021

Thank you, Philip. :)


Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Lol ^ Why are people so rude *ahem Rick*?


Sunday 28th of March 2021

@Don, l agree....


Sunday 28th of March 2021



Thursday 14th of January 2021

Must show that they are better, they are not, we all got here the same way, and will leave the same way.

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