How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken

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Chef Dom shows you how to cut up a whole chicken into 8 perfectly cut pieces. He will also demonstrate how easy the process is, with a step by step video.

If you need chicken pieces for a recipe and want to save money, then this is the simple way of cutting up your chicken. You can then use it as you need it.

We originally shared with you how to cut up a chicken back in 2016 and wanted to update it today for you with new photos and extra ideas.

how to cut up a whole chicken for the air fryer
How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken For The Air Fryer

Cutting Up A Whole Chicken

My obsession with getting my wonderful husband Dominic to cut up a whole chicken started years ago.

I realised that the reduced price Portuguese whole chickens, could be chopped up and made into several meals from one tiny chicken.

We could have chicken breast in a delicious creamy tarragon sauce with potatoes. Then at the next meal we could have chicken drumsticks in the air fryer and serve them with fries. Then the next day the chicken thighs and wings can be air fried and served with seasonal rice.

Before I knew it, that small 2 pound whole chicken had fed us for three meals instead of one.

I therefore shared my frugal chicken recipes from one whole chicken on Recipe This back in 2016.   

But whilst frugal chicken recipes are AMAZING my number #1 reason for cutting a whole chicken is being able to make KFC fried chicken in the air fryer, or piri piri chicken.

You can chop up your chicken, bread it and then air fry it whenever you get a craving for fried chicken, and it never fails to impress.

Plus, imagine how much money you are going to save compared to buying a KFC bucket.

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How To Cut A Whole Chicken In Half?

A good starting point if you are nervous is to cut a whole chicken in half first. And then follow our method in our piri piri chicken recipe. As in that its about cutting the chicken in half and then each piece into thirds and is a much easier starting point.

This method also works well if you are cutting cooked chicken into pieces.

Best Knife For Cutting Up A Whole Chicken?

A sarcastic person would say a sharp one! Just because you need a sharp knife to cut through the bones of a whole chicken.

But the professional answer would be a boning knife.

If you don’t have a boning knife, I recommend a 5 inch sharp knife. For example below is a screenshot from our video of the knife that we used:

Best Knife For Cutting Up A Whole Chicken

Something between a vegetable knife and smaller than a chef’s knife.

How To Cut A Chicken Into 8 Pieces?

When breaking down a chicken into 8 pieces the easiest starting point is to think of it as three main tasks.

Cutting up the chicken breasts, chicken legs and of course chicken wings.

Wings. Dominic recommends starting first with the wings. Hold the wing in your hand and find where the bone fits in the socket to the joint. Then cut around the joint and it will easily come off. Then trim off any excess fat that might be left behind. Then do the same again for the other wing.

how to cut wings off the whole chicken

Breast. Second on the list is the breasts. To help make cutting the chicken breasts easier, you need to dislocate the shoulder. Trim down the sides of the legs and then pull it out like you would if creating a spatchcock chicken. This then makes the chicken easier to work with. Then feel for the bone of the chicken breast and then slice as close to the bone as you can because you don’t want to waste any chicken. Then slice all the way down to the bottom, making sure you have some patience as you weave past the bones. Then do the same again for the second breast.

how to cut breast off the whole chicken

Legs. As you already did the hard work by breaking the shoulder its now time to cut the legs from the carcass. Grab your chicken leg in one hand and where the socket has been removed from spatchcocking, slice down the line and this will easily remove the leg from the carcass. Then do the same for the second leg.

how to cut legs off the whole chicken

Then from there you can now chop your legs in half to become chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks.

Have the chicken leg skin side up, then between the thigh bone and the drumstick bone there is a knuckle. Get your knife between where the knuckle is and then they will be separated. Then do the same again for the other chicken leg.

how to cut chicken drumsticks and thighs

Once done you can load into a bowl all your chicken pieces like this:

how to cut up a chicken

Then don’t stop there, head over to our air fryer KFC chicken and transform it into your own homemade KFC chicken bucket!

How To Cut A Whole Chicken Video

To make it even easier for you to get your head around, Dominic has also made a video for you showing you exactly how to cut up a chicken.

Now that you are armed with our step by step instructions and our video, get chopping and enjoying all those delicious recipes.

How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken

How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken

Chef Dom shows you how to cut up a whole chicken into 8 perfectly cut pieces. He will also demonstrate how easy the process is, with a step by step video.
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Air Fryer, Air Fryer Oven, Instant Pot
Servings: 8
Calories: 129kcal

Ingredients

Ingredients:

Instructions

  • Place your whole chicken on a chopping board and grab your favourite sharp knife.
    How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken
  • Then hold the wing in your hand and find where the bone fits in the socket to the joint. Then cut around the joint and it will easily come off. Then trim off any excess fat that might be left behind. Then do the same again for the other wing.
    How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken
  • To help make cutting the chicken breasts easier, you need to dislocate the shoulder. Trim down the sides of the legs and then pull it out like you would if creating a spatchcock chicken. This then makes the chicken easier to work with.
    How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken
  • Then feel for the bone of the chicken breast and then slice as close to the bone as you can because you don’t want to waste any chicken. Then slice all the way down to the bottom, making sure you have some patience as you weave past the bones. Then do the same again for the second breast.
    How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken
  • As you already did the hard work by breaking the shoulder it’s now time to cut the legs from the carcass. Grab your chicken leg in one hand and where the socket has been removed from spatchcocking, slice down the line and this will easily remove the leg from the carcass. Then do the same for the second leg.
    How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken
  • Have the chicken leg skin side up, then between the thigh bone and the drumstick bone there is a knuckle. Get your knife between where the knuckle is and then they will be separated. Then do the same again for the other chicken leg.
    How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken

Notes

Knife. Any sharp 5 inch knife will do the trick when you are cutting up your whole chicken. I would also recommend a good knife sharpener before hand to make sure your knife is sharp enough for the chicken bones.
Thanks for reading our how to cut up a chicken guide on Recipe This. We recommend that now you have learnt to chop up a chicken that you use your new skill to make KFC chicken in the air fryer.

Nutrition

Calories: 129kcal | Protein: 11g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 113mg | Vitamin A: 84IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition InfoPlease Note: Nutrition values are our best estimate based on the software we use at Recipe This and are meant as a guide. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
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step by step how to cut up a whole chicken



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I’m Samantha and along with my chef husband Dominic and our three kids, we teach you how to cook smart with kitchen gadgets. You can learn more about us and how we can help you by CLICKING HERE →

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