How to Break Down a Chicken into 10 Pieces


It’s a handy skill to have – knowing how to take a whole chicken and break it down into ten usable parts. Not only do you save money by buying a whole chicken, but you get a fundamental understanding of the food you’re eating.

One Whole, Organic Chicken
One Whole, Organic Chicken


Start with a whole, organic chicken. Rinse the chicken thoroughly and pat it dry. With the chicken breast side down, neck facing toward you, cut off excess neck skin and remove the wishbone.

Using sharp kitchen shears, cut down either side of the backbone to remove it. Save this for making stock, if you’d like.

Snipped Down the Middle
Snipped Down the Middle

Turn the chicken over, find the joint that connects each thigh to the chicken, and cut through the joint to separate the leg from the bird.

Cutting off the Leg and Thigh
Cutting off the Leg from the Bird

Turn the chicken back over and cut out the pointed breastplate.

Remove the Breastplate
Remove the Breastplate

Then cut through the center of the breast, cutting it into two pieces.

Cut Through the Center of the Breast
Cut Through the Center of the Breast

Cut off the wings at the joint that connects them to the breast. Snip each breast in half lengthwise.

Cut Each Breast in Half
Cut Each Breast in Half

Ten chicken pieces, ready to go.

Ten Pieces of Chicken, Ready to Go
Ten Pieces of Chicken, Ready to Go

This whole process should take about 15 minutes, and less after you get the hang of it.

Published by

Seattle Foodshed

Gardening, foraging, exploring and cooking. Time for a delicious adventure.

3 thoughts on “How to Break Down a Chicken into 10 Pieces”

  1. This is so useful! I cooked a chicken last weekend and tried to divided it up into pieces after roasting. The result was slippery chaos and a decision that shredded chicken was the way to go. I definitely need kitchen shears. Kitchen scissors just won’t cut it.

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