Roasted chicken with potatoes is one of those iconic meals that always makes me think of a beautiful Sunday supper with family or a simple-yet-elegant dinner party with friends. This Lemon Roasted Spatchcock Chicken Over Potatoes is our take on this timeless meal. It’s seriously simple to prepare & yields absolutely perfect results every single time. An instant classic!
If you’ve never butterflied or spatchcocked a chicken before, most grocery store butchers are happy to quickly take care of it for you. It’s also really, really easy to do yourself! Be sure to check out our Step-by-Step Guide to Spatchcock Chicken, which has tips & photos to walk you through every step of the process.
From there, the chicken is slathered with my go-to lemon herb butter (because chicken + lemon + herbs + butter = 😍😍😍) & roasts right over baby gold potatoes for a built-in schmaltzy side (the best kind of side dish, as far as I’m concerned!).
An easy, all-in-one meal that requires minimal effort yet results in the most perfectly juicy, lemony, golden-brown roasted chicken. Whether you make it for Sunday supper, easy entertaining, or even weekly meal prep – I think you’re going to be obsessed!
- 1 (one) 4-5 pound whole chicken, spatchcocked
- lemon herb butter (below)
- 24 ounces (1 1/2 pounds) baby gold potatoes or mini potatoes of choice
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled & sliced into eighths
- 1 large lemon, cut into quarters
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
for the lemon herb butter:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
- 2 large lemons, zested
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1/4 cup finely chopped hardy fresh herbs, such as oregano, rosemary, sage, or thyme (see Recipe Notes)
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
Chicken Prep: Spatchcocking is a poultry butchering technique in which the poultry’s spine is removed so the poultry lays completely flat during the cooking process, which facilitates faster & more even roasting. While you can ask your butcher to spatchcock the chicken for you, it’s also very simple to do at home with a pair of sharp kitchen shears. I like to spatchcock chicken a day before I plan on roasting it, leaving the chicken to chill uncovered in the refrigerator, which dries out the surface of the chicken & results in a seriously crispy & beautifully golden brown roasted chicken. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Spatchcock the chicken: Use paper towel to pat chicken very dry. Place breast-side down on a large plastic cutting board. Using very sharp kitchen shears, carefully snip along each side of the backbone, until completely detached. With the breast side of the chicken still facing down, use your hands to gently stretch open the rib cavity of the chicken. Place the heel of your knife at the center of the wishbone. Tap the spine of the knife with a rolling pin, until the wishbone snaps and the breastplate cracks. Flip the chicken so it lays flat, breast side facing up – you just spatchcocked a chicken! For step-by-step photos & more tips & tricks, be sure to check out PWWB’s How to Spatchcock a Chicken tutorial post.
- Optional: Chill the chicken, uncovered: Transfer the spatchcocked chicken to a small rimmed baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator to chill, uncovered, for up to 1 day.
Lemon Herb Roasted Spatchcock Chicken Over Potatoes:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Pull the spatchcocked chicken from the refrigerator to give it a chance to warm to room temperature for more even roasting – the surface of the chicken should be pretty dry to the touch, if not, pat it down with some paper towel. Gather & prep ingredients according to Ingredients List, above.
- Mix the lemon herb butter: Add all listed lemon herb butter ingredients to a medium bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Mix to combine well. Set aside for immediate use, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Butter the spatchcock chicken: This is easiest when the butter is very soft, nearly melted, so feel free to pop the lemon herb butter in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften it up nicely. Use your hands to spread the prepared lemon herb butter between the chicken skin & meat: use your hand to grab some of the herb butter, then gently work your hand under the skin over the breast, sweeping from side to side, rubbing the herb butter directly on the breast meat. Use the same technique to season the chicken legs by working your hand down the side of the chicken into the thigh and leg area. Be careful not to tear or remove the skin from the chicken. Buttering the chicken meat directly helps keep it juicy & flavorful. If you have any leftover lemon herb butter, rub it across the surface of the spatchcock chicken. Set aside.
- Assemble the spatchcock chicken over potatoes for roasting: Place the baby potatoes, sliced onion, & quartered lemon in an oven-safe skillet or braiser. Lightly drizzle with olive oil, then season liberally with 2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Toss to coat. Place the buttered spatchcock chicken over the potatoes (skin side facing up). Lightly drizzle the surface of the spatchcock chicken with olive oil, then season liberally with 1 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired.
- Roast the spatchcock chicken over potatoes: Transfer the skillet or braiser to the oven, immediately reducing the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Roast for 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes, rotating the chicken every 20 minutes to promote even roasting & browning. Pull the chicken from the oven once an instant-read thermometer, inserted in the thickest part of the breast & thigh, registers an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
- Rest, carve, & serve: Remove the roasted spatchcock chicken over potatoes from the oven & carefully tent with foil. Set aside to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before carving. As the chicken rests, its juices will redistribute throughout the meat & its internal temperature will continue to rise to a safe 165 degrees F. From there, carefully transfer the chicken to a cutting board to carve as desired. Discard the spent roasted lemons, using tongs to carefully squeeze any remaining juice over the roasted potatoes & onions. Serve the lemon roasted spatchcock chicken with the potatoes, onions, & any lemon herb chicken drippings in the skillet. Enjoy!
- Fresh herbs – Rather than buying fresh herbs individually, many grocery stores that sell fresh herbs carry a “poultry blend” consisting of fresh rosemary, sage, & thyme – perfect for any roasted chicken dinner! Similar dried herbs & herb blends, such as dried oregano, dried rosemary, dried thyme or herbs de provence or Italian seasoning, work great in a pinch. If using dried herbs, use 1 heaping tablespoon instead of 1/4 cup as listed in the Ingredients List above.
- Storage & Reheating: Leftover lemon roasted spatchcock chicken & potatoes will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through. Once you’ve enjoyed all of the chicken, sure to hang on to the roasted chicken carcass to make homemade chicken stock or broth!
- 20-Minute Meal Prep: While roasted spatchcock chicken over potatoes makes for a great kitchen project, there are a couple of things you can prep ahead of time to eliminate almost all active prep at dinnertime:
- Spatchcock the chicken according to Chicken Prep Step 1, above, up to 3 days ahead of time. If roasting within 1 day of spatchcocking, chill the chicken uncovered according to Chicken Prep Step 2, above. If not, place the chicken in a large airtight container & store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (10 minutes active prep)
- Prepare the lemon herb butter according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (10 minutes active prep)