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Butterflied Chicken with Teriyaki Glaze

If you like sweet, spicy, orange, garlic, ginger and soy flavors, you’ll love this deliciously saucy butterflied chicken with teriyaki glaze. It makes a lovely weekend or holiday dinner.

The tender juicy chicken roasts in almost half the time of a regular whole chicken. The homemade teriyaki sauce gives it the perfect balance of sweet, savory with just a bit of a spicy kick. Be sure to check out the great short cuts.

butterflied chicken with glaze on cutting board

If butterflying a chicken sounds a little intimidating, you’re going to be surprised at how easy it is.

Once you see how evenly it cooks and easy it is to cut, a butterflied whole chicken may become your new favorite way to roast chicken.

Bottom line: There’s a lot to like about this recipe – bold flavorful chicken, the generous amount of teriyaki glaze for extra drizzling and the attractive presentation.

What is a butterflied chicken? 

A butterflied chicken – also called spatchcocked chicken or flattened chicken – is an entire chicken with its backbone removed, opened like a book and flattened out.

It’s pretty easy to do on your own with good poultry shears or a sharp knife. Instructions are in the recipe card. And here is a video on how to butterfly chicken.

Why bother with butterflying?

Why not just make a whole bird? Here’s why butterflying (spatchcocking) is better:

  1. More even cooking. The dark meat and breasts will be done at the same time with this cooking method. Much harder to do with a whole chicken.
  2. Much shorter cooking time. Spatchcocked chicken cooks in 30-40% less time. 
  3. Much easier to cut up Butterflied roast chicken is really easy to cut into four or eight pieces when cooked. 

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

whole chicken, ginger, garlic orange, soy, brown sugar, green onion, sriracha, honey, parmesan

Chicken: I love to use kosher chicken which is already brined. It’s more flavorful and juicy, especially with the added marinade. But any roasting chicken will do fine. Buy a flattened chicken if you don’t want to butterfly it yourself.

Teriyaki glaze: We’re using an orange teriyaki glaze made with ginger, garlic orange, soy sauce, brown sugar, sriracha, honey and cornstarch (to thicken it), The recipe makes a lot. You’ll have plenty extra for drizzling on the chicken or your sides. Or save any leftovers for a stir fry. Here are a few sauce variations to try:

  • Substitute the orange juice with pineapple juice if you’re not an orange fan.
  • Skip the orange zest if you don’t want the orange flavor as intense. 
  • Substitute honey or maple syrup for the brown sugar.

Step by step instructions

whole chicken with backbone removed and flattened on cutting board.
Spatchcock/butterfly/flatten a chicken: See recipe notes for how to do it. Or… buy a flattened chicken.
butterflied chicken marinated in ziploc bag.
Marinate: Mix together marinade ingredients in sealed bag, add chicken and marinate overnight in fridge or 30 minutes at room temperature.
roasted butterflied chicken in pan before final glaze
Roast: Remove chicken from the bag. Pour the marinade into a saucepan to make the glaze. Roast chicken for 30-40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 150F/66C.
teriyaki glaze in pot
Make the teriyaki glaze from the marinade, thickening it with cornstarch.
roasted butterflied chicken in pan after final broiling
Glaze and broil: Brush glaze over the entire surface of the chicken and broil 4-6 minutes. Watch that it doesn’t burn.
butterflied chicken with glaze on cutting board
Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board and cut into 4 or 8 pieces. Easy to cut!
piece of chicken on plate with teriyaki glaze
butterflied chicken with glaze on cutting board

Tips

1. Save the backbone of the chicken to use for making chicken stock.
2. Dry chicken with paper towels for better browning of the skin.

Recipe FAQs

Do you flip spatchcock chicken when cooking?

When roasting the chicken in the oven, there is no need to flip it. If you’re grilling spatchcock chicken, over indirect heat, you’ll want to start with the chicken breast-side down, then flip it halfway through the recommended grilling time.

Should you brine before or after spatchcocking the chicken?

Brining or marinating the chicken after you have butterflied it is best. When you’re ready to cook it, you just transfer it from the bag onto a roasting pan, and it’s ready to go into your hot oven.

What to serve with teriyaki chicken

Butterflied teriyaki roast chicken is delicious with roasted root vegetables or a side of basmati rice or lemon herb cauliflower ‘rice’ (a lighter option).

I like to add some greens such as roasted bok choy and broccoli, microwave green beans simple roasted brussels sprouts or creamed spinach.

Try a citrus salad with greens for a nice side salad.

Shortcuts 

For the chicken:

  • If you are intimidated by spatchcocking a chicken or can’t be bothered, you can buy one in most supermarkets now (it will cost a bit more). Or ask the butcher to butterfly it for you.
  • Use chicken pieces instead – breasts, wings, legs and/or thighs.

For the marinade/glaze:

  • The marinating deepens the flavors, but it you’re short on time, just skip it. 
  • Or, a trick I use a lot is to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

For the aromatics:

  • Instead of mincing garlic and grating fresh ginger, you can use frozen cubes or buy them in jars.
  • You can even use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder instead of the two teaspoons minced garlic.

Make Ahead

  • Marinate the chicken up to a day ahead.
  • You can also roast the chicken an hour ahead and cover it with foil to keep warm. Then just before serving, brush on the teriyaki glaze and broil for a few minutes. 
  • Leftover chicken can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days or frozen for 2-3 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat, covered, in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
roasted butterflied chicken in pan after final broiling

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butterflied chicken with glaze on cutting board
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4.87 from 22 votes

Butterflied Chicken with Teriyaki Glaze

If you like sweet, spicy, orange, garlic, ginger and soy flavors, you will love this deliciously saucy butterflied chicken with teriyaki glaze. It makes a lovely weekend or holiday dinner. Check out the good shortcuts.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Marinating30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken 3-4 lbs (1.36-1.81 kg), spatchcocked/butterflied Note 1 (I like to use kosher chicken, but any roasting chicken will work fine)
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Garnish: chopped parsley, green onion or pea shoots and grated orange zest if desired

Teriyaki Glaze and Marinade

  • 1/3 cup soy
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 oranges, juice (1/2 cup) and zest (2 teaspoons) Note 2 1 tsp zest for marinade; reserve other tsp for garnish
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, Note 3
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce (for mild spice) or more to taste
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • HEAT OVEN TO 400F/204C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil or other cooking spray (for easy clean up)
  • MARINATE CHICKEN: Place all marinade ingredients (except 1 teaspoon of orange zest) in a large ziploc bag and squish to combine. Add spatchcocked chicken, seal bag and massage to coat well. Marinate for 4-6 hours or overnight in fridge or, quicker, at room temperature for 30 minutes. If you don't have time, skip the marinating.
  • ROAST CHICKEN: Remove chicken from marinade, pat dry with paper towels and place on roasting pan. Pour marinade into a small saucepan and set aside. Lightly sprinkle the chicken with salt. Roast chicken skin side up for 30-40 minutes, depending on size of chicken. Internal temperature on an instant read meat thermometer should read 150F/66C in thickest part of breast meat. You will finish cooking in broiler. Remove chicken from oven. Pour off grease from pan. (At this point, you can make the glaze and do the final steps just before you're ready to serve.)
  • MAKE TERIYAKI GLAZE/SAUCE: While chicken is roasting, whisk cornstarch into marinade in saucepan. Bring marinade to a boil and boil for 2 minutes until sauce is thickened. Lower heat and cook for another 2 minutes. If glaze is too thick, add a bit of water. Brush some of glaze over roasted chicken. Reserve remaining 1/2-3/4 cup to pass with the chicken later.
  • BROIL CHICKEN WITH GLAZE FOR 4-6 MINUTES: Turn oven to Broil. Place oven grill 10-12 inches from broiler (top of the oven). Return glazed chicken to oven. Broil for 4-6 minutes until browned on top (be careful not to let it burn). Chicken should read 155F/68C in the breast or 165F/74C in the thigh with instant thermometer when done.
  • CUT AND SERVE: The best way to cut it is to transfer chicken to cutting board. Brush with more glaze. Let chicken rest 5-7 minutes. Cut into quarters or eighths. Garnish with remaining orange zest and chopped green onions or parsley and serve. Drizzle on extra sauce or pass it on the side. Serve from cutting board or move to a platter.

Recipe Notes

  1. To spatchcock (butterfly or flatten) a chicken: Turn chicken breast side down. Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to remove the backbone by cutting along one side of the backbone, then the other side. Turn chicken breast-side up and using the palm of your hand press down firmly on the top of the breastbone to flatten so that the chicken lies flat with breasts and legs all on one level. Discard backbone or use to make soup/broth. Here’s a video on how to spatchcock a chicken. Shortcut: Buy a chicken already flattened or ask the butcher to do it.  
  2. Instead of orange juice: use pineapple or apple juice. Skip the zest.
  3. Brown sugar substitute: You can use 6 tbsp honey or maple syrup instead.
  4. Make Ahead:
    • The chicken can be prepared and marinated a day ahead.
    • You can also roast the chicken an hour ahead and cover it with foil to keep warm. Then just before serving, brush on the teriyaki glaze and broil for a few minutes. 
    • Store leftover chicken in for 2-3 days or frozen for 2-3 months in an airtight container or sealed bag (try to get as much air out as possible). Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on medium in the microwave or in a medium-heat oven. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates based on 1/4 chicken of a 3.5 lbs/1.6 kg. 

Nutrition

Calories: 588kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 375mg | Potassium: 543mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 491IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 2mg
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4 Comments

  1. This is the only way I cook whole chickens or turkeys now! I’ve always just roasted them but I’m going to try this recipe now!

  2. 5 stars
    I cooked this at 300 for an hour and then 350 for 20 minutes then basted again and broiled. It was so juicy and flavorful.