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Here’s how to carve a chicken with confidence! This guide walks you through each step, from separating parts to slicing like a pro.

Rotisserie Chicken
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Got a whole chicken and not sure what to do next? Whether it’s a rotisserie chicken from the store or a whole roasted bird, carving a chicken can be daunting. In fact, it’s taken us a while to master this skill. But it’s simple once you try it a few times! Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to carve a chicken. Get ready to impress everyone (and avoid kitchen meltdowns) with your carving mastery!

How to carve a chicken

All you need to carve a chicken is a cutting board and a large chef’s knife. Get a platter ready and some aluminum foil to keep the pieces warm as you cut them off. Here’s how to carve a chicken:

  1. Allow the chicken to rest: Before carving, let the chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes tented with foil after removing it from the oven. This helps the juices distribute throughout the chicken and ensures that the meat remains juicy.
  2. Remove the legs: Place the chicken on the cutting board, breast-side up. Pull the leg away from the body and locate the seam between the thigh and the chicken body.

    Use a sharp knife to cut through this seam, pulling the leg away from the body with the fork as you slice. When you reach the joint connecting the thigh to the body, pop it out and cut through the joint. Repeat on the other side.
    How to carve a chicken: removing leg
  3. Separate the drumsticks from the thighs: For each piece just removed, find the joint connecting the drumstick to the thigh by bending the drumstick backward slightly. Cut through this joint to separate the drumstick. Repeat with the other thigh.
    How to carve a chicken: separating drumstick
  4. Remove the wings: Pull the wing away from the body to locate the joint, and cut through the joint to remove the wing. Repeat for the other wing.
    How to carve a chicken: removing the wings
  5. Remove the breast meat: Locate the breastbone that runs vertically along the middle of the chicken. With the knife angled slightly away from the breastbone, make long, smooth cuts down on one side of the breastbone to remove the whole breast. As you cut, gently pull the meat away from the bone until it is fully removed. Repeat on the other side. If desired, slice the breasts across into strips.
  6. Serve: Use your fingers to remove any remaining pieces of meat on the top and bottom of chicken (eat them now or save them soup or leftovers later). Transfer the carved pieces to a serving platter and serve immediately.
    How to carve a chicken: carved chicken on tray

Leftovers and storage

A craved chicken is a great meal in itself, and even better is the leftovers! Leftover cooked chicken can be stored for up to 3 to 4 days, refrigerated. Eat it with a few sides, or make it into other recipes!

A note on organic chicken

If you can, buy organic chicken when you roast a whole chicken. This ensures that it is the highest quality meat that was raised sustainably, and it is also free of chemicals and additives so it’s the healthiest option for eating. It also tastes better!

Per the USDA, organic chicken must be raised in living conditions that accommodate their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not given antibiotics or hormones.

More chicken recipes

There are so many great chicken dinners to try! Here are a few more ideas:

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How to carve a chicken

How to Carve a Chicken


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: N/A
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 1 whole chicken 1x

Description

Here’s how to carve a chicken with confidence! This guide walks you through each step, from separating parts to slicing like a pro.


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Allow the chicken to rest: Before carving, let the chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes tented with foil after removing it from the oven. This helps the juices distribute throughout the chicken and ensures that the meat remains juicy.
  2. Remove the legs: Place the chicken on the cutting board, breast-side up. Pull the leg away from the body and locate the seam between the thigh and the chicken body. Use a sharp knife to cut through this seam, pulling the leg away from the body with the fork as you slice. When you reach the joint connecting the thigh to the body, pop it out and cut through the joint. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Separate the drumsticks from the thighs: For each piece just removed, find the joint connecting the drumstick to the thigh by bending the drumstick backward slightly. Cut through this joint to separate the drumstick. Repeat with the other thigh.
  4. Remove the wings: Pull the wing away from the body to locate the joint, and cut through the joint to remove the wing. Repeat for the other wing.
  5. Remove the breast meat: Locate the breastbone that runs vertically along the middle of the chicken. With the knife angled slightly away from the breastbone, make long, smooth cuts down on one side of the breastbone to remove the whole breast. As you cut, gently pull the meat away from the bone until it is fully removed. Repeat on the other side. If desired, slice the breasts across into strips.
  6. Serve: Use your fingers to remove any remaining pieces of meat on the top and bottom of chicken (eat them now or save them soup or leftovers later). Transfer the carved pieces to a serving platter and serve immediately.
  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Carving
  • Cuisine: Chicken
  • Diet: Gluten Free

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!