How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken (VIDEO)
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Cutting a whole chicken is easier than you think! Watch the video tutorial for how to cut a whole chicken and learn how to debone a chicken! You will save money and have a carcass left over for the most incredible chicken bone broth! It is absolutely worthwhile to buy a chicken and cut it yourself.
All you need to cut a whole chicken in a sharp knife, and a chicken of course (and don’t worry, you don’t have to go hunting. Every grocery store (except maybe the gas station) sells whole chickens. I would not recommend shopping for chickens at a gas station. lol.
I love to buy the double packs at Costco – they are bigger (more meat!) and the best price I have found for organic whole chickens. I buy them, slice them up, just like in the video below, then seal and store the parts in the freezer until I need them.
Watch How to Cut a Whole Chicken:
How easy is that?! Did you know the fat lines in a chicken serve as a roadmap for where you should cut? You’ll be slicing up your chicken like a pro in no time! If you’re curious, this is the knife set that we use and love (Amazon affiliate link).
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How to Cut a Whole Chicken:
Here is a quick visual reference on how to debone a chicken.
DON’T WORRY! Our chicken was not harmed in the making of this video. She’s still running around happily and laying eggs. Our chickens are for eggs and Costco supplies our whole chickens for cooking. 😉
1 whole chicken yields 10 chicken pieces:
2 chicken breasts
2 chicken wings
2 drum sticks
1 back bone and 1 breast bone (used for homemade bone broth)
Print-Friendly Tutorial for How to Debone a Chicken:
How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken (VIDEO)
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 sharp knife
Pat dry chicken with paper towel. Place chicken breast-side-up and first remove the whole legs (drumsticks with thighs attached). Make a slit just behind the drumstick separating the drumstick and the breast, just cutting through the skin to expose the meat underneath. Pull leg away from the chicken and pop hip bone out of it's socket just below the breast. Cut with a knife just past the joint, getting as much meat as possible including small meaty "oyster" section next to the tail.
To separate drum from thigh, cut along the fat line and you should cut right between the joints - if you feel resistance, shift your knife around until it slides through fairly easily.
Place breast side up with wings away from you. To remove the wings: feel for the joint then cut through the skin and through the joint (not the bone) - shift knife around slightly if you get resistance until it goes through easily. Pull wing up away from chicken for greater control while cutting.
To remove the chicken breast: Turn chicken on it's side and cut along fat line on the side of chicken carcass with kitchen shears, snipping right through the ribcage. To debone chicken breast, cut through center of the skin over the chicken breast - locate the breastbone and cut the chicken away from the bone with long strokes (not a sawing motion) and cut all the way down which should completely debone the chicken breast.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen
Did this tutorial give you any “AHA!” moments? If you’ve never given it a go, I hope you’re excited to cut your first chicken after watching this.
If you have any tutorial requests, let us know and we’ll do our best to get your burning cooking questions answered! 😉
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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review
This was such a great help! So easy to read along and follow as I cut up my whole chicken. Definitely doing this more; it was so easy. Thanks, Natasha’s Kitchen!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Cecenee!
excellent video; very easy to understand, She made it look so easy. And, it was!
Thank you, Phyllis! I’m glad it was helpful.
Thank you for this new life skill! I’m a newlywed with lots of room for growth in the kitchen. I know my husband will be impressed that I did this on my own instead of asking him to do it. Im so proud of my self and can’t thank you enough!
Congratulations on your nuptials, Meg! I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying my recipes!
Hi Natasha, I absolutely love your videos and recipes. I’ve made so many of your recipes. You site is my first go to to find a recipe. With all due respect, I have to say I cringe when seeing raw chicken on a wooden cutting board. In my mind you can never get it clean enough afterward or sanitary enough. I’m sure you have a secret to cleaning it afterward. Thanks
You’re so nice, Kathy! Thank you so much for sharing that with me!
What brand of knives do you use? The link to amazon is no longer good so I can’t find out which ones to order. But I do get a cute picture of the dogs of amazon. 😉
Hi Genna, the brand is Wusthoff. Try this link HERE.
Thank you For your video on cutting up a whole chicken. It was so informative and now I can finally know where and how to cut up my chicken without having bones poking out and raggedy meat portions. You helped me so much ! Loved your video, very easy to see where exactly to cut and in what direction to hold the chicken. Really Helpful !
Hi Linda. Thank you for sharing, I’m so happy you found it helpful.
Hi Natasha thanks for all the great videos so helpful I was wondering with the whole chicken can I use kitchen shears
I was also wondering if you had a video for chicken parmesan and if you had a video for a homemade tomato sauce
Hi Melven! I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying my videos! You can find the Chicken Parmesan Recipe HERE. We also have a homemade Marinara Sauce recipe HERE. Enjoy!
This was a great help! Thanks!!
That was great but what about the Tenderloin?
Hi Meredyth, the tenderloin is usually attached to the chicken breast and can easily be pulled off.
V. That was my good, but I. like to cut out the pully bone. That was my Mothers piece. I got the leggy bone
Thank you for this tutorial very clear and helpful!
I’m so glad that was helpful, Angelina!
Made cutting up a chicken a little easier
Please, folks, spell the possessive “it’s” without an apostrophe: its, as in his, hers, theirs.
Great video for this clueless bachelor!!
You’re welcome. It’s always a pleasure to help!
Perfect illustration. Thank you!
I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe, Diane!
Awesome video and super helpful!
Natasha, you simplified the chicken/turkey deboning method and removed all fear from the process. Well done! Signed – A Hungarian Butcher’s Daughter 👍🏻😊
I’m happy you enjoeyd that! Thank you for that wonderful compliment, Mary Ann!
That was a great video and made cutting the chicken so easy. Thank you for sharing!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it!
to save money on the budgeting I use to buy whole chicken, but never able to cut so well as you.
Just learned something.
Hello Claudia, I’m glad you learned something new today!
Dear Natasha thank you for showing us something that I thought I can never master chopping a chicken to perfection! After I watch your tutorials I feel more confident in my kitchen!!b
So great to hear that! I’m happy that you learned so much from this tutorial.
Hi Natasha, Thanks for showing how to cut up a chicken. You taught me a few things I did not know.
Once again, I love to watch your video’s. I am still waiting anxiously for you to produce a cookbook. Thanks. Rosie Bonesteel
You are most welcome, Rosie. Thank you for patiently waiting, I promise it will be worth it when it’s done.
Hi Natasha, I need help in knowing how to insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken thigh, which I’ll apply to a turkey, too. Can you do a brief video? Such a simple thing but the descriptions just don’t help me. Love your videos and recipes – I’ve had so many successes with them!
Thank you for that suggestion and idea Barb, I’ll add it to my list. I do recommend looking at our latest turkey recipes.
Awesome video. Easy and well explained!
Thank you so much, Melanie. I appreciate it!
Great easy way! Thanks!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe David!
At our house in the 50s and 60s, we fixed the back as a piece to eat…
Thank you so much for sharing that with me!
Great! Now I know how to do it!
I hope you love this recipe Darryl!
Thanks for the tutorial and all your recipe – I am an ardent devoted fan – However STOP ! In your video you use shears to remove the ‘bottom’ of the carcase and then set it aside (probably for stock or soup) but you are wasting what is THE best bit of the chicken. . . . beneath the thigh is a small (avocado stone size) portion we in the UK call the ‘oyster’ it is the tenderest sweetest meat ever – whenever you de-bone a chicken save them in a freezer until you have enough for you favorite chicken treat.
My job at Thanksgiving (because I volunteer) is to put the leftover turkey away and I always, ALWAYS take those two nuggets. It’s my favorite part!
Thank you for sharing that with us!
Thank you, Natasha. I always buy whole chickens because of their lower price and am not great at cutting them up. I really needed this tutorial. I just bought new knives and will try them out on a chicken tonight. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I’m so glad this is helpful! We look forward to your feedback once you try it.
Tried out my new boning knife with this. Very simple steps to follow! great thank you
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it!
You cut that chicken in peaces so easily. I wish i can do that.
Hi Lapik, it definitely helps to have a sharp knife. Check out our knife sharpening video.
So happy to see this video! I was just complaining that I used to be able to easily find a package of a whole chicken cut into pieces – not anymore! Now I feel like I have to buy three or four packages so that everyone can have their favorite. You took the intimidation out of doing it myself with this video!!! Can’t wait to give it a try! Thank you!!!
I’m so inspired reading your review. Thank you!
5 Stars because I love your detail. I am trying this this evening, as I just bought 2 whole chickens. Love to make fried chicken as well as yummy broth. I will let you know how I come out with this….I have only done it once in my lifetime. Sidenote on your gas station chicken comment…..there is an Exxon station here in Farmersville, TX that has HANDS DOWN the best fried chicken ever!!! Thats my go to when I do not have the time to make my own….Not fresh whole chickens, but still the BEST!!
That’s just awesome Shannon! Who knew gas station chicken could be good! Thank you for stopping by with the best comment. I hope you love our recipe.
Here’s an interesting fact: in my faith, the chicken, or any animal such as cows, goats, sheep have to be sacrificed a certain way before they can be cooked and eaten.
Thank you for sharing that with us 🙂
Loved your easy instructions and your enthusiasm! You’re a blast in the kitchen!
I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing your great review, Rosemary!
Thanks for showing how to cut whole chicken up.
My pleasure Audrey! I’m glad you find the tutorial helpful!
Hi Natasha! So thankful for your videos. Was feeling so beat up giving in to the lies of me not being an adequate cooking wife. But God is faithful, and your videos are faithful too! Lol I’m so serious. 🙌Followed it to a T, paused after I cut every part of chicken and whallaaa. Loved it, super easy, thank you! 🙂 Do you think you can make a teaching video on how to cook each part of the chicken? Not like full out recipes with each (although you do have them) but on how for example, this morning I was about to marinade all the parts of the chicken and then just pop them in the oven. But there’s a difference in baking times and tenderness with each part of the chicken it seems. Just an idea bc I was so lost searching online the difference to baking thighs or breasts and why I couldn’t just put it all in the oven 😩lol there’s not much resources out there, there are but not easy ones like yours.
Hi Snizhana, if you wanted to bake all of the chicken parts together, it is do-able and the bake time will be consistent for all of the parts as long as you leave the bone on under the chicken breast. Also, leave the skin on all parts if you are roasting everything together. I usually use the chicken breast in recipes so I debone it completely but I do roast the thighs, drums and wings together. For example, if you used the marinated chicken drum-sticks, you could use that same recipe for all of the chicken pieces that are bone-in and skin-on.
Thank you so much! Very helpful tip I will remember!
You’re welcome! 🙂
You didn’t cut out the “pulley bone”
That was always the most fun to eat when I was a kid but don’t know how to get it.
Hi Darla, we never gave it much attention, just cut around it 🙂
I would cut around it if I knew where it is! Can you tell or show me please?
Hi Darla, it is at the top of the chicken breasts near the neck of the chicken. It’s easiest to see it in video. Just searching youtube, I came across this video which may help 🙂
I noticed that right away. I grew up on a farm the oldest of 5. I was responsible for the chickens most of the time. In order to have one chicken feed 7 people, the wishbone was always removed. If the chicken was a large one, the bones under that were cut away in one piece to make yet another piece of chicken.
Thank you Natasha! I hadn’t ever done this and tonight is the second time now I’ve done it. I play the video and pause it after each step. (And disinfect mt IPad after😊) Hopefully after a few more times I’ll have it memorized and won’t need the video anymore. Your video is much simpler and more concise than other videos I’ve tried to follow.
You’re welcome Jackie! I’m glad you find the video so helpful, thanks for sharing!
which brand of knives do you recommend to cook like a chef?
Hi Katerina, this is the brand we use and love 🙂
I’m just wondering, did you actually cut your own chicken. I know probabobly not but just wondering. And thanks for sharing , very helpful tutorial.
Oh ofcourse not :). Our chickens are only used for eggs and pets. Our chicken was not harmed in the making of this video. We purchase organic whole chickens at Costco for cooking 🙂
Thanks for the refresher course. I’d forgotten that was an option and so easy to do. My mom showed me many years ago and I’ve gotten lazy in my old years. LOL I give lots of thumbs up for all your recipes and helpful hints.
You’re welcome! I’m happy you found the tutorial helpful!
Thank you for this video. I knew how to cut up a chicken, but I did not realize how easy it was to de-bone the breast and thighs. You can add the wing tips to the back bone when making broth, also.
You’re welcome DeAnna! I’m glad you found the video so helpful. Thanks for sharing!
It is just like my grandmother did. And, yes, she made wonderful healing soup of what was left while the chicken was baking for Sunday lunch. Thank you so much for reminding me of her ways !
You’re welcome! I’m happy to hear it brings back fond memories!
Love this I never knew how and so never did!
It’s a worthwhile venture, especially so you can make bone broth with what’s left. Every part of the chicken goes to good use 🙂