WebstaurantStore / Food Service Resources / How-Tos / How to Cut a Whole Chicken
How to Cut a Whole Chicken." />

How to Cut a Whole Chicken

Last updated on 1/02/2019

Purchasing a whole chicken is often more cost effective than buying chicken that's already been butchered into separate parts. The most common way of breaking down a whole chicken is to separate it into 8 parts, which is also called an 8 piece cut. Cutting a whole chicken into 8 pieces will result in 2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 legs, and 2 thighs.

To learn how to cut up a chicken into parts, you can watch the video above or follow the step-by-step instructions below.

How to Cut Up a Chicken into 8 Pieces Step by Step

Here is how you cut up a whole chicken in 11 simple steps:

  • Person holding kitchen shears and a whole chickenStep 1.

    Lay the chicken breast-side down with its legs towards you. Locate the backbone running straight down the middle.

  • cutting the backbone from a whole chickenStep 2.

    Begin cutting along one side of the backbone down the entire length of the chicken. Do the same on the other side to fully remove the backbone.

  • You can discard the backbone or keep it to make delicious homemade chicken stock.

  • cutting the cartilage in a whole chickenStep 3.

    Make a 1/2” slit through the cartilage in front of the keel bone.

  • opening a whole chickenStep 4.

    Crack open the keel bone by folding the chicken outward.

  • The keel bone is another name for the breastbone and is found at the front of the bird, opposite the backbone.

  • Removing the keel bone from a whole chickenStep 5.

    Remove the keel bone by breaking the delicate skin on either side with your finger and pulling it out.

  • Cutting up a whole chickenStep 6.

    Flip the chicken over.

  • Spatchcocked chicken on a yellow cutting boardStep 7.

    Cut down the middle where the keel bone used to be, cutting the bird into halves.

  • Cutting a thigh from a whole chickenStep 8.

    Separate the thighs and breasts by cutting through the joint.

  • Cutting through joints is easy to do. However, if you try to cut through bone, it will be much more difficult. Always try to position your knife so you're cutting where the bones meet.

  • Cutting a chicken thigh from the drumstickStep 9.

    Cut off the legs, or drumsticks.

  • Cutting the wing tip off raw chickenStep 10.

    Cut off the wing tips. Discard.

  • Separating a chicken wing from a chicken breastStep 11.

    Separate the wings and breasts at the “shoulder” joint.

Other Ways to Butcher a Chicken

While this is one way to cut up a whole chicken, there are other options depending on how many pieces you want. Two other popular options are cutting chicken into halves and into quarters.

How to Cut a Chicken Into Halves

Cutting chicken into halves is popular when roasting chicken, and it results in an elegant presentation. To cut a whole chicken in half, begin by spatchcocking your chicken.

Once you have removed the backbone and keel bone, you can lay your chicken flat with the skin side up. Next, cut down the center of the chicken to create two halves.

How to Cut a Chicken Into Quarters

If you want to cut up your chicken into quarters, follow all the steps above to cut into halves. Then, there should be a crease where the breast meets the thigh. Cut along this ridge until the breast and wing are separated from the thigh and leg.

Once you have the desired number of chicken pieces, you can begin cooking. Additionally, you can also continue and debone your chicken or use it as is, depending on your recipe.

Related Resources

How to Clean a Cutting Board

Found in almost all commercial kitchens, cutting boards are one of the most commonly used tools for preparing food . Understanding how to properly care for these boards will not only increase their lifespan, but appropriate care also prevents bacteria from spreading and causing dangerous cross-contamination. Whether you run a small bistro, fast food restaurant, or upscale steakhouse, understanding how to clean and maintain your cutting boards is key to having a safe and sanitary foodservice operation. From wood to plastic, keep reading to learn how to clean your cutting board. You can also jump to a specific cutting board type below: Wood Bamboo Rubber Composite Flexible Plastic How to Clean Wood Cutting Boards Wood Cutting Boards from $7.7

Knife Safety Tips

Cutlery is essential to the operation of every commercial kitchen, so it is important to know how to hold a knife and use it correctly. Proper knife training can help minimize the risk of personal injury and keep your kitchen running smoothly. If you are just beginning to learn or simply need to brush up on your approach, keep reading for some helpful knife safety tips. 1. Use a Sharp Knife When you use a dull knife to cut, you need to apply more force. As a result, the knife is more likely to slip and this increases the risk of injury. Keeping your knives sharpened is one of the easiest ways to keep them safe. Simply use a sharpening stone or knife sharpener to maintain the original precision of the blade. If your knife needs just a touch

How to Prevent Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination of food can lead to serious health risks like food poisoning or unintended exposure to food allergens . If your kitchen staff members know how to prevent cross-contamination by correctly storing and preparing food, you can save the time and money that would be wasted on improperly handled food. By making the effort to separate your foods while storing and preparing them, sanitizing your kitchen surfaces and equipment, and practicing proper personal hygiene, you can create a safe and sanitary kitchen environment that is better for your customers, your employees, and your business. What is Cross-Contamination? Cross-contamination occurs when disease-causing microorganisms, like bacteria and viruses, are transferred from on

Subscribe now for great deals and industry tips! Sign up for our mailing list to have weekly discounts and industry knowledge sent right to your inbox.

From Our

At WebstaurantStore we love sharing our fun! Check out some of our weekly Instagram posts! We might even have a recipe or two to share!

View Posts
Display, merchandise, and serve a delicious variety of ice cream flavors with this Avantco ice cream dipping cabinet! Holding up to 12 ice cream tubs at a time, the unit is perfect for ice cream shops, candy stores, dessert bars, and cafeterias. The frozen storage space beneath the display even provides a convenient place for holding up to 8 tubs of back-up flavors, making it a convenient unit for businesses with limited space. Incorporate delicious beef recipes into your menu with this Knauss Foods 6 Ib. classic dried beef deli knuckle. It's ideal for crafting specialty sandwiches and subs or for putting together a tasty party tray with meats and cheeses. Simply cut it into a fine slice and spread softened cream cheese, worcestershire, scallions, and pepper on one side, then roll it up to create a tasty appetizer that's easy to grab and delicious to snack on. This beef accents any of your dishes with a mildly salty, yet beefy and smoky flavor profile that's especially delicious.â € Create signature cookies, easy pie crust designs, or fondant shapes for your bakery, restaurant, or cafe with this Ateco pineapple plunger cutter. Made of high-impact, food-grade plastic, this plunger cutter is perfect for daily use at your bakery. It's great for cutting, embossing, and pressing out fondant and gum paste decorations. Featuring a whimsical pineapple shape, this cutter ensures consistency of size while shortening preparation time. Fire up the grill and test your skills with these grilling techniques.
Food Service Resources

Tips, guides, & advice

Explore Resources
  • Visa
  • Discover
  • American Express
  • MasterCard
  • Paypal