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Whole chicken pieces
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How to Cut a Whole Chicken

Learn how to cut a whole chicken into 7 pieces. Step-by step instructions plus video so you can be your own butcher.
Active Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Yield: 1 chicken
Author: Nick @ walktoeat


  • Knife
  • Cutting board


  • 1 whole chicken


  • Position: Lay chicken on a cutting board, breast side up. Remove any giblets or other pieces inside the carcass.
  • Thighs: Pull leg away from body and slice through the skin where it attaches to the breast.
    how to cut a whole chicken thighs
  • Thighs (continued): Bend the hip joint back to pop it out of its socket. Cut through the broken joint as close as you can to the back to separate. Repeat for other leg.
    how to cut a whole chicken thighs
  • Wings: Grab a wing and bend it back from the breast. You should be able to see the joint. Cut through the joint to separate. Repeat for other wing.
    how to cut a whole chicken wings
  • Breasts: The breastbone runs down the length of the breast, separating it into halves. Cut along the bone is smooth strokes to detach the breast meat.
    how to cut a whole chicken breasts
  • Breasts (continued): Continue working your way along the bone. Repeat for other breast half.
    how to cut a whole chicken breasts
  • Carcass: Reserve for stock. Freeze if not using immediately.



Additional Cuts
  • Cut leg into the thigh and drumstick - If you want the leg to cook a bit quicker and be more eater friendly, consider cutting the leg between the joint where the thigh and drumstick meet.
  • Cut wing into flat and drumette - I love the whole wing intact. But, if you want, you can separate the flat and drumette by cutting between the joint where the two pieces meet. Similar to the leg.
  • Bone-in chicken breasts - This is my preferred method. Bone-in breast are juicier and more flavorful than boneless. But, boneless are easier and quicker to cook and use. Cut out the entire backbone along the height of the chicken. Then cut directly through the breastbone to separate each breast.