How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken: A 6-Step Video Tutorial

A whole chicken is a great staple ingredient for weekly meal prep or a dinner that provides leftovers for later. But how do you turn that whole chicken into manageable parts? While it may seem intimidating, cutting up the bird is quick and easy when you know what to hold and where to put the knife. Here are the simple six steps to cut up a whole chicken at home. Watch the video for a visual guide.

How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken

1. Place the chicken breast-side up and cut each leg and thigh quarter from the body. Place your hand on the leg and pull it away from the body. With a chef's knife, place the blade where the thigh connect to the rest of the body. Cut straight down through the meat and thigh joint.

Tip: You're not cutting through the thigh bone. Your knife should make contact with the joint itself, where you should press down firmly until the thigh (and attached leg) easily releases from the rest of the chicken.

2. Separate the thigh and drumstick from each other by bend the two at the connecting joint (at the top of the drumstick) to pop the bones out of the joint. Then, just as before, press down through the joint — do not cut through the bone.

3. Remove the wings. Grab a wing with your hand and bend it from the body so the bone pops from the joint. Place your knife on the joint and cut down until the wing release. You can leave the wings whole or separate.

Tip: To easily separate the wing drumstick from the wing flat, use kitchen shears.

4. If you want skinless chicken, use a sharp knife to separate the skin from the meat, and then peel it back.

5. Separate the backbone from the breast by standing the chicken vertically, bottom end up. Cut down along each side of the back bone and remove it.

Tip: Keep the back bone to make stock!

6. For boneless breasts, carefully cut the breast meat off the bone into two halves.

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