This delicious Greek spatchcock chicken has many cloves of garlic, lots of lemon, and fresh herbs all over. Enjoy!
Roasted chicken always reminds me of Sunday lunches at my family's home. We would gather around the table and enjoy it with a simple green Greek salad, feta cheese and really nice bread. I would dip my bread directly in the pan to get the divine garlicky lemon and olive oil sauce. A glass of red wine would complete the meal.
What is spatchcock chicken?
This Greek spatchcock chicken is a little different from the traditional chicken roast my family made.
Spatchcocked means removing the backbone and flatten the chicken for roasting or grilling. The chicken cooks more quickly and evenly and gets golden and crisp.
How to spatchcock a chicken?
Set a cutting board inside a rimmed baking sheet (it will help catch liquids). Remove any chicken giblets. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
- Use good kitchen shears or poultry shears. Starting at the thigh-end of the chicken, cut along one side of the backbone with the shears. Turn the chicken around and cut along the other side. Save the backbone for stock if you like.
- Flip the chicken over and open it like it's a book. Using the ball of your hand, press pretty firmly on the breastbone to flatten it.
- You can fold and tuck the wing tips behind the breasts if you are concerned they will burn while roasting. You can also wrap them in aluminum foil when you uncover the chicken in the last 20 minutes of cooking to protect them from the high heat.
Let's make this Greek spatchcock chicken
This lemon chicken has a marinade with LOTS of garlic, extra virgin olive oil, plenty of lemon zest and lemon juice, fresh oregano, sage, and thyme, as well as honey and mustard. The result is really fabulous.
Chicken. I like to use a 4 pound chicken with the giblets and everything removed. If you use a smaller bird, be sure to adjust roasting time!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The only vegetable oil Greeks cook with.
Lemons. This recipe calls for the juice and the zest of two lemons.
A bouillon cube. Preferably one without palm oil. If you don't have any available replace the water in the recipe with two cups of chicken or vegetable stock.
Herbs. We’re going to use fresh thyme, oregano, and sage. Also using some dry oregano, a staple in Greek cooking.
Garlic. I add at least 6 garlic cloves to the marinade. As far as garlic is concerned, the more, the better in my book 🙂
Potatoes. Greeks always add potatoes with roasted chicken. They cut them as wedges, and they cook with the chicken.
Salt & freshly ground pepper. Necessary to enhance and bring out flavors.
Detailed measurements and instructions can be found on the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Here is my process
- Add the water, olive oil, bouillon cube, dry oregano, fresh herbs, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, and honey in your food processor. Pulse until everything is well mixed and garlic is fully minced.
- Pour marinade all over the chicken. Make sure it gets everywhere, in any nook and cranny. You can cook the chicken right away or let it marinate for a day in the fridge. The longer you leave the marinade on the juicier the chicken will be. Don't marinate longer than two days.
- Heat 4 tbsp olive in a large pan (I used a large cast-iron pan). Add the potatoes, season with salt, pepper, a generous pinch of dry oregano. Add a couple of thyme sprigs to the pan. Cook potatoes until they are golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add the potatoes to the baking pan of your choice. (I used the same large cast iron pan for roasting so I left potatoes as they were.) Place spatchcocked chicken on top of the potatoes. Pour leftover marinade all over.
- Cover with aluminum foil and cook in your 390 F preheated oven for 45 min. Uncover and cook for another 20 min or so. Keep basting the chicken with the marinade juices from the pan. Cook until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
What to eat with this lemon chicken
Pair this lovely lemon chicken with the traditional Greek tomato salad. Add these delicious roasted beans as a side dish. You now have a very Greek dinner table!
Spatchcock chicken Q&A
Chicken can marinate in the fridge for up to two days. Toss any extra uncooked marinade, don't use it again.
Chicken is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F.
Stick it in the innermost part of the thigh and wing. If you are cooking pieces of chicken, check the thickest part of the piece.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Place the chicken in the center of the baking sheet. To help keep the skin crispy, brush it lightly with olive oil. Cover the chicken tightly with aluminum foil and place it in the oven.
Reheat the chicken until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 F.
Cooked chicken can last in the refrigerator for approximately 3 to 4 days
Tip & Tricks
- Buy a whole organic chicken at the grocery store and have the butcher spatchcock it (take the backbone out.)
- You can also use a whole chicken cut into pieces. Use exactly the same method to season and roast it.
- If you don't have any fresh herbs just use dried ones, whatever you have in your pantry is fine. Just dry oregano, lemon, and olive oil is a classic Greek combination.
You may also like:
- The Greek lemon chicken soup - kotopoulo soupa avgolemono is a much loved traditional Greek soup.
- This delicious roasted stuffed chicken has all the flavors and scents of the Mediterranean.
- This parmesan-crusted chicken is so easy, low carb, and absolutely delicious.
- The Greek herb chicken is juicy and full of flavor.
Check out my Greek pantry staples
Cooked this? Rate this recipe! You can also leave a comment below. I love hearing from you!
WANT TO EAT LIKE A GREEK? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
Greek Spatchcock Chicken with Lemon & Garlic
- large baking pan
- large skillet
- 4 lbs chicken Like a medium free range chicken
- 6 potatoes cut in wedges
For the marinade
- 4-5 thyme sprigs just the leaves and soft sprigs
- 5 fresh oregano sprigs
- 7-8 sage leaves
- 2 tablespoons dry oregano
- ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
- 2 lemons juiced and zested
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons mustard
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 cup water
- freshly ground pepper
- sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 390 F.
Spatchcock the chicken
- Place the chicken breast side down, on a large pan or work surface.
- Starting at the thigh end, cut along one side of the backbone with your kitchen shears.
- Turn the chicken around and cut along the other side. Save the backbone for stock if you like.
- Flip the chicken over and open it like it's a book. Press pretty firmly on the breastbone to flatten it. Chicken is ready.
Make the marinade
- Add the water, olive oil, bouillon cube, the dry oregano, fresh herbs, mustard, lemon juice and lemon zest and honey in your food processor. Pulse until everything is well mixed and garlic is fully minced.
- Pour marinade all over chicken. Make sure it gets everywhere, in any nook and crany.
Prepare the potatoes
- Heat 4 tbsp olive in a large pan (I used a large cast iron pan)
- Add the potatoes, season with salt pepper, a generous pinch of dry oregano. Add a couple of thyme sprigs in the pan.
- Cook potatoes until they are golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare for oven
- Add the potatoes in the baking pan of your choice. I used the same large cast iron so I left potatoes as they were.
- Place spatchcocked chicken on top of the potatoes. Pour left over marinade all over.
- Cover with alumimum foil and cook in the oven for 45 min.
- Uncover and cook for another 20 min or so. Keep basting the chicken with the marinade juices from the pan. Cook until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
- You can cook the chicken right away or let it marinate for a day in the fridge. The longer you leave the marinade on the juicier the chicken will be. Don't marinate longer than two days.