How to Cut a Chicken




Introduction: How to Cut a Chicken

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Easy step-by-step picture for how to cut a whole chicken into pieces for frying, stock, or baking.   Buying whole chickens is far cheaper than buying them pre-carved.  At my local shop, a whole chicken is ~$2.99/lb, where as once the pieces are separated, they go for up to $8.99/lb!  So save yourself some serious cash and take pride in learning how to break down your own poultry.  The added benefit is having an endless supply of homemade chicken stock from all of the left over pieces!

So grab a chicken, a cutting board, and a sharp knife, and you're on your way.

special thanks to canida for providing the hands and technique!

Step 1: Remove Excess

Remove the innards and any extra fat around the opening of the bird.  

Step 2: Remove Thighs and Legs

Using a sharp knife, slice the skin in between the drumstick and body. 

Find the joint and pop it out of it socket with your hands.

Finish the cut to remove the leg from the body.

Cut through the joint between the thigh and the leg.  You can also use your hands to pop this joint out of its socket first.

Repeat on other side!

Step 3: Remove the Spine

Slice down each side of the ribs with a sharp knife.  It starts to look like a scene from Alien at this point.

Continue cut to remove entirety of spine.  This is a great piece to save for making chicken stock!

Step 4: Separate Breasts

Place knife on the breastbone and apply pressure to cut the breast into two halves.

Step 5: Remove and Separate Wings

If you wish to remove the "drumette" part of the wing, you can do this step first, but we left it attached to the breast.  This is optional. I've heard it referred to as an "Airline Cut."

Finding the joints, remove the wing and wing tip from the breast.  Use the tips in your stock.

Cut each breast in half crosswise to create evenly-sized pieces.

Repeat with other breast.

Step 6: Finis!

Now that you've cut your chicken into perfect pieces, isn't it time to try your hand at an Easy Fried Chicken Recipe?

Congrats - you're a chicken carving master!

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    6 years ago

    got it! Thank you!

    Cool. I usually just cut it into the eight basic parts and then throw the pieces into the oven after a bit of basting. Ironically, quite a bit of my family is or was in the restaurant and or catering business. Never cared for cooking till the last few years. Wished I had learned how years ago. Most of it is so easy. Money savings are awesome.


    9 years ago on Step 6

    Even with as many chickens that I've cut, I seem to want to do it differently every time. This looks easy and straight forward to follow. I have downloaded the PDF and I will add it to my kitchen cookbook to ACTUALLY USE and learn some consistency with my cutting. Thanks!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great 'ible. Do you know how to debone a whole chicken too? It might make for a good follow up to this one.