How to Break Down & Eat a Whole Chicken (With No Waste!)

Whether you’re looking to lower your environmental impact, or are tired of paying more for individual pieces, taking on a whole chicken is the way to go. Buy the roaster and bake it to a golden crisp à la Julia Child or break it down for individual dishes – either way, the real winner here is leftover bones for stock. Looking for meal ideas? We’ve got a roundup of recipes for each part of the chicken, from breast to bones so you can use every bit of your fowl. You- yes you!- can handle a whole chicken. Don’t be intimidated by the entire bird- you’ve got this.

Breaking Down the Bird

All you really need to become an amateur in-home butcher is a sharp knife, a clean cutting board, and some patience. If you want to get real about properly breaking down a whole chicken, Serious Eats and Food52 have awesome guides should you need some help with your knife skills. Looking for videos? Serious Eats and BuzzfeedFood both have great how-tos. Or, you can skip the breakdown and make a Perfect Roast Chicken instead- no knife required.

Whole Chicken

Honey-Brined Grilled Chicken

Chicken Braised in Milk

Grilled Chicken and Peaches with Chipotle-Peach Vinaigrette


Chicken Breasts

Roasted Chicken & Green Beans with Kalamata Vinaigrette & Pure Luck Feta

Warm Chicken Salad with Peppers, Pears & Toasted Pinenuts

Smoky Chicken Marsala with Woodgrilled Carrots

Grilled Chicken & Sorrel Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing


Legs & Thighs

Chicken & Cherry Tomato Stew

Almond Fried Chicken Legs, Potato Salad with Salsa Verde & Radish Salad with Chile-Piave Vinaigrette

Sheet Pan Chicken and Sweet Potatoes (Recipe: Real Simple)




Grilled Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Shishito Peppers

Almond Fried Chicken Legs, Potato Salad with Salsa Verde & Radish Salad with Chile-Piave Vinaigrette

Crispy Baked Chicken Wings (Recipe: Epicurious)


Photo Courtesy: Bon Appetit


How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock (Source: The Kitchn)

Chicken Bone Broth (Source: A Pinch of Healthy)

How to Make Chicken Stock in the Slow Cooker (Source: The Kitchn)

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