How to Cut up a Whole Chicken: A Step-By-Step Guide

Chicken is a wonderful and versatile meat for almost any meal you can imagine. Getting only the cuts you want, though, can be difficult and sometimes expensive.

Buying a whole chicken can be cheap and efficient, giving you a wide variety of quality pieces to cook with. How do you prepare an entire chicken without waste?

Today we'll go over the basics of how to cut up a whole chicken and what to do with excess pieces. Let's begin!

Saving Money on a Whole Chicken
Most people aim to get chicken breasts or legs and wings. These are the choice of meats, and getting only those helps to reduce waste.

Getting a whole chicken, though, can be cheaper—even more so if gotten from quality Chicken Farm places. When you know how to work with an entire chicken, you still get quality pieces, but not at a lower price!

How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken
Let's break down a whole chicken, step by step. You will need a sharp and sturdy knife, a cutting board for juices, and whatever containers you will store your chicken in. 

1. Split the Legs
First, starting with the legs. Separate the legs from the body, cutting all the way down until you break away the leg joint from the socket. This will give you both a thigh piece and a drumstick from each side.

Then turn the legs skin side down and find the fat line that shows the joint divide between the lower leg and thigh. Cut along that line, and you'll end up with two drumsticks and two thigh pieces. 

2. Take Off the Wings
Turn the chicken on its side and cut the wings off at the connective joint. They should come apart right from the body, making this the easiest break of the chicken. 

Most wings don't need any sort of division later, so this will end up with two wing pieces.

3. Removing Breast From Back
To get the main piece of the chicken parted out, stand the chicken body up, so it is standing straight up and down. Cut down the middle, through the rib cage, so that you separate the front from the back. 

4. Breast Halves or Quarters

Once you have the front breasts separated from the back, you can break up the breasts as you see fit. 
Again, place the piece skin side down. There will be a visible center bone separating the two breast pieces. Break it with a chopping motion and cut the two pieces apart. 

If you wish to cut the breasts even further, turn them back over so that the skin is facing upward. Make a diagonal cut across the break and bone. This will give you four breast quarter pieces. 

5. Back Broth
The back is the final piece, and often the piece people worry about when it comes to waste. While there is some meat on it, the best use of a back piece is for broth.

Take the back piece and slow simmer it with water and other seasonings for a fantastic chicken broth

Bringing Cooking to Life
Now that you know how to cut up a whole chicken with ease, you'll not only save money but have a better understanding of the quality pieces you can get from a chicken. 

With your chicken pieces ready for cooking, now you need recipes. We have tons of step-by-step recipes to fit any taste. Check out our other articles and bring your cooking to life! 

Photo Gallery