Lemon Garlic Spatchcock Chicken


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Lemon garlic spatchcock chicken is incredibly juicy on the inside with golden, crispy skin on the outside. Roasted on a bed of fragrant garlic and lemon, this easy spatchcock chicken recipe is a major upgrade to ordinary roast chicken.

Cooked spatchcock chicken in a pan on top of garlic and lemon slices.

This lightning-fast and foolproof recipe takes just 5 ingredients and 15 minutes to prep before roasting in the oven. Nothing beats the satisfying aroma of roast chicken to bring the whole family to the dinner table. And with a flavorful main dish like this ready in under an hour, you can enjoy an amazing stress-free meal any day of the week.

If you’ve never made spatchcock chicken before, I’ve got you covered. Check out my so-easy method for how to spatchcock a chicken.

Lemon Garlic Spatchcock Chicken Ingredients

Luckily, this shopping list is short on ingredients but way long on flavor. Here’s what you need.

  • Chicken. I like using an organic whole chicken for this recipe, but choose whatever you prefer.
  • Garlic. For ease and top-notch flavor, go with whole heads.
  • Lemon. Fresh is a must for this recipe!
  • Butter. Helps crisp up the skin to golden perfection.
Lemon garlic spatchcock chicken in a pan with garlic.

How to Make Lemon Garlic Spatchcock Chicken

Kitchen shears and a bit of slicing make prepping this recipe a breeze. First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Then follow along below.

  1. Prep the lemon and garlic. Slice the lemons into thin pieces and cut the garlic heads in half.
  2. Spatchcock the chicken. Place the breast side down and use sharp shears to cut and remove the backbone. Then flatten the entire chicken with your hands.
  3. Prep the pan. Place the lemon slices and garlic in a large cast iron pan.
  4. Season the chicken. Place the whole chicken in the pan. Then fully coat it with melted butter, salt, and pepper.
  5. Roast. Cook the chicken for 35-40 minutes until it’s cooked through with golden skin.

If you’re dairy-free…swap the butter for ghee or olive oil. No problem!

Pouring butter over a lemon garlic spatchcock chicken.

Tips for the Best Crispy Skin

The best part of any roasted chicken is the crackly crispy skin! For the ultimate in golden and crispy skin, try these simple tips.

  • Rub the skin of your uncooked chicken with 1 teaspoon of baking powder mixed with 1 teaspoon salt, and let it sit in a glass dish in the fridge overnight. The rub mixture plus the cold, dry air in your refrigerator helps dry out the skin for maximum crispiness. 
  • Don’t baste your chicken while it roasts. Basting adds moisture into the skin and makes it less crispy.
  • Season generously with salt and pepper for the best tasting skin!

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

The best part about this recipe is that it’s so versatile. You can eat this chicken as is, or shred to use in sandwiches, salads, or part of your meal prep. Here’s a few storage tips.

  • To Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store for up to 3 days in the fridge. 
  • To Freeze: Use a freezer-safe bag or container and store for up to 1 month.
  • For Reheating: Simply reheat in the microwave until the chicken is warmed through.
Lemon garlic spatchcock chicken in a pan on a table.

More Amazing Weeknight Chicken Recipes 

If you’re looking for delicious and lightning-fast chicken recipes, give these a try.

Lemon garlic spatchcock chicken in a pan next to a knife.

Lemon Garlic Spatchcock Chicken

5 from 16 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


This lemon garlic spatchcock chicken is incredibly juicy on the inside with loads of crispy skin on the outside for an easy weeknight dinner!


  • 1 whole chicken, approx 4-5 pounds
  • 3 lemons, sliced
  • 2 garlic bulbs, cut in half horizontally
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee (melted), or olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 425F/220C. Then start the spatchcocking process by first placing the chicken breast side down on a cutting board. Use sharp kitchen shears to cut down one side of the backbone, starting at the neck, then cut on the other side of the backbone to completely remove it. Discard the backbone or use in stocks.
    Spatchcocking a chicken by cutting down the side of backbone.
  • Flip the chicken over and gently but firmly press on the breastbone to flatten the chicken.
    A spatchcocked chicken being flattened by hands.
  • Add the lemon slices and halved garlic bulbs to a large cast iron pan. Then place the chicken in the pan on top of the lemon and garlic.
    Lemon garlic spatchcock chicken in a pan with lemon slices.
  • Drizzle the melted butter all over the chicken, making sure it's fully coated.
    Pouring melted butter over a lemon garlic spatchcock chicken.
  • Season the chicken with sea salt and pepper.
    Seasoning a lemon garlic spatchcock chicken.
  • Place the chicken in the oven and roast the chicken for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and has perfectly golden skin.

Lisa’s Tips

  • To Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store for up to 3 days in the fridge. 
  • To Freeze: Use a freezer-safe bag or container and store for up to 1 month.
  • For Reheating: Simply reheat in the microwave until the chicken is warmed through.
  • Recipe minimally adapted from Donna Hay. 


Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 185mg | Potassium: 472mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 459IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon garlic spatchcock chicken, spatchcock chicken
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This looks amazing!! I have one question, do you have a use for the garlic you’ve roasted? Could you serve it as an accompaniment for people to put on their food?

    1. Hi Linda – Yes, you could do that. I also love to mix it into mashed potatoes, for roasted garlic mashed potatoes – so yum!

  2. Oh so good! Nothing better than garlic and lemon together. Spatchcock chicken is the only way in my book to roast a chicken evenly!! Add fresh bread and a salad.. I had a wonderful meal. Thank you!5 stars

  3. I made this tonight and it was a hit! It was much easier than I thought it would be to spatchcock the chicken. Thank you for the delicious recipe!5 stars

  4. This was absolutely the BEST! I don’t have that big of a cast iron pan, so I just used a sheet pan and it worked GREAT! I even threw in some potatoes (sprayed with avocado oil and sea salt) around the edges so I’d have a full-meal…and everything was moist and wonderful. Oh…and the house smelled sooooo good! This is a keeper recipe for sure! Thanks!!!5 stars

  5. I love this recipe! This is the second time making it, this time I’m using another garlic and putting half of the garlic and lemons on top and other half on the bottom. Hoping the great flavor is all over!5 stars

  6. We really liked this chicken. I made one change. Instead of butter, I used ghee as a pasted with some herbs and spices. Appreciate your site.5 stars

  7. Made this tonight and it was very tasty and super juicy.  I did salt the chicken and let it hang out in the refrigerator unwrapped overnight.  I also decided to sear the breast side on the stove first in a stainless steel skillet before putting in the oven.  Once it browned, I turned it over but added the lemons and garlic to the pan, then laid the chicken breast side up.  45 minutes at 425 degrees was perfect! 5 stars

  8. I did this today. It was AMAZING!! I need to say I didn’t add pepper because I have two little kids, I added paprika instead. And I don’t know why but the cooking time wasn’t right for me. I love cooking all your recipes and as always this one was perfect. Thank you Lisa.  5 stars

    1. Happy to hear this recipe was a success! And the cooking time will always vary as everyone’s oven cooks at a different temperature. Generally, mine cooks a bit lower.

  9. Hi Lisa,
    I am going to make your chicken as it looks wonderful. I do have a question. I find a cast iron pan too heavy for me as I have some trouble with my hands. What other kind of pan do you suggest? Thank-you for you advice in advance.
    Nancy 🇨🇦

  10. Hey! 
    This sounds amazing and is now on my list to try out. 
    But I am uncertain about the dairy free option According to my google search and own knowledge, ghee is a diary product since it is made out of butter. At least the German equivalent is and I think BA explained it like it is butter, whose water content was reduced. 

    1. Hi Theresa – Hope you enjoy the recipe! For the ghee, yes, it’s technically still dairy, but because the milk solids are removed (lactose and casein), it removes those items that typically cause dairy-sensitivity. But you can use oil as well, no problem.

  11. I have never cooked a whole chicken in an iron cast skillet. What a gorgeous idea! And it looks absolutely delicious too!5 stars

  12. Love roast chicken here, and perfect flavors for it. Your easy step by steps on spatchcocking are giving me the confidence to try the method.5 stars

  13. This was so delicious. I made it today! It was approved by my entire family! I am adding it to the rotation! YUMMMM5 stars

      1. Spatchcocking the chicken made it cook more evenly, and it turned out so juicy! The flavors were spot delicious. Even my kids ate it up!5 stars