This Chipotle Roasted Chicken is loaded with flavour! It’s spatchcocked and served as part of a tray bake to make the perfect family dinner.
This is perfect to feed 4, great for dinner or even to roast ahead of time and use the chicken in sandwiches and wraps. If you love a your roast chicken with crispy skin, juicy meat and a good punch of flavour you’re in luck. Follow me…
Chipotle and chicken are a match made in heaven and we are here today to celebrate that fact. The warm spicy flavours of the chipotle wrap around the chicken beautifully. The chipotle also chars nicely in the oven to really enhances those gorgeous smoky tones.
For this recipe you’ll want one whole medium sized chicken. Around 3.3lb/1.5kg works perfectly. We’ll get into the prep of the chicken in just a sec, but right off the bat it’s important to make sure you get the chicken out the fridge at least 30mins before needed. Roasting a chicken straight from the fridge will not only cause it to cook unevenly, but also runs the risk of the meat seizing up and going chewy. Room temp meat cooks the best in most circumstances.
Here I actually use a chipotle paste. Chipotle pastes are great because they’re condensed and packed with flavour. They also include other seasonings alongside the chipotle which is great too.
Alongside the chipotle paste we want to mix in a few other goodies before we slather it over the chicken. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Lime Zest – Chipotle and lime is a gorgeous combo. Make sure you’re using only the zest, lime juice will add excess moisture and prevent the skin from crisping up.
- Brown Sugar – This balances out the spice of the chipotle and also caramelizes the chicken as it roasts.
- Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Oregano – All gorgeous spices that go well with chipotle.
- Olive Oil – Helps create a marinade/paste and ensures the chicken doesn’t dry out.
- Garlic – Fresh grated cloves work best here.
Do I have to marinate the chicken?
In short – no. BUT marinating the chicken will help tenderize the meat and inject flavour into the surface of the meat. 2 hours+ is great, but even 1 hour will work wonders.
If you want to make the marinade/paste ahead of time you can totally do that too, just cover and store in the fridge until needed.
I’m going to go on record and say the single best thing you can do to improve your roast chicken is to spatchcock it.
Why spatchcock a chicken?
Two main reasons: First is that it will cook the chicken more evenly. Because it cooks more evenly the meat also comes out much more tender. Second reason is that it cooks much quicker too.
Remove the backbone
The main task of spatchcocking a chicken is removing the backbone. It’s insanely quick and easy to do. Just grab a pair of kitchen shears and cut as close as you can to the back bone both sides. You can start from either end. You can also save the back bone to use in broths and stocks.
Process shots: lay chicken on chopping board (photo 1), pat dry (photo 2), flip breast side down (photo 3), cut along one side of the back bone (photo 4), cut along the other side until it detaches (photo 5), remove (photo 6).
Flatten the chicken
Once you’ve removed the backbone you’ll want to flatten the chicken. The best way to do this is to flip the chicken and push down on the breasts with the palm of your hand. You should hear a couple of cracks. I also like to take this opportunity to trim off any excess skin lurking about as well.
Coating the chicken
When it comes to coating the chicken in that gorgeous chipotle marinade, I actually prefer to spread most of it underneath the skin. I find this keeps the chicken nice and juicy whilst allowing the skin the crisp up. To spread the marinade just loosen up the skin with a spoon, spread most underneath the skin the rub some on top too.
Process shots: open up chicken (photo 7), flip and push down breasts (photo 8), loosen skin with spoon (photo 9), rub marinade underneath and on top of chicken (photo 10).
Chipotle Chicken Tray Bake
When it comes to the tray bake aspect, you can in reality use any veg you want, but here’s the usual victims for me:
- Corn on the Cob*
*The corn on the cob is great because you can make a ‘podium’ for the chicken to rest on as it roasts. This helps the hot air circulate the chicken and crisp it up nicely.
Process shots: add veg to tray (photo 1), drizzle with oil and season with s&p and create platform for chicken (photo 2), place chicken on top (photo 3).
How long to roast a spatchcock chicken?
Like I mentioned earlier, one of the great things about roasting a spatchcock chicken is that it’s quick. It only takes 45mins!
Rest the chicken
Once you’ve roasted the chicken it’s crucial to allow it to rest. This will allow it to retain its juices and stay extra juicy. If you slice into it straight away the juices will pour out and you’ll be left with a sad chicken. And nobody likes a sad chicken.
Don’t waste the flavour!
You may notice there’s some light char stuck to the pan once you remove the veg and chicken. This, alongside the rest of the liquid in the pan, is gorgeous flavour you don’t want to waste. Just add a splash of chicken stock and use a plastic spatula to scrape away at all the deliciousness.
Serving Chipotle Chicken
You can really serve this however you fancy. I like to keep the legs whole, remove the wings then slice the breast into strips. Any leftovers are great in a sandwich or wrap the next day! Bit of mayo, pinch of lettuce, jobs a good’n.
For more similar recipes check out these beauties too:
One Tray Chicken Dinners
- Spanish Chicken Tray Bake
- Roasted Chicken Leg Quarters
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Herb Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this chipotle roasted chicken shall we?!
How to make Chipotle Roasted Chicken (Full Recipe & Video)
Chipotle Roasted Chicken
- 30cm x 45cm (12” x 18”) Oven Tray
- Heavy Duty Scissors/Kitchen Shears
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Paper Towels
- Small Bowl (for Chipotle marinade)
- Cling Film (optional - for marinating)
- Plastic Spatula/Turner (for scraping tray)
Ingredients (check list):
- 3.3lb / 1.5kg Whole Chicken (take out fridge 30mins before needed)
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp EACH: Chipotle Paste, Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp EACH: Cumin, Oregano, Salt
- 2 cloves of Garlic, finely grated/minced
- 1 Lime, zest only
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 4 small Corn on the Cob, halved
- 2 large Peppers, diced into large chunks
- 2 large Baking Potatoes, diced into large chunks
- 2 large Onions, quartered
- Olive Oil, as needed
- Salt & Black Pepper, as needed
- splash of Chicken Stock, to scrape flavour off tray
- Marinade: In a small bowl combine chipotle paste, olive oil, sugar, lime zest, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Remove Back Bone: Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Flip the chicken breast side down and use a pair of kitchen shears cut through the ribs directly either side of the back bone. You can either start at the neck or the butt, just go nice and close to the back bone so you don't remove too much of the chicken. Completely remove backbone (you can use this another time for stock) and pull open up the chicken.
- Flatten Chicken: Gently open up the rib cage and slice along the sternum. This will help the breast bone pop out (not crucial, but does help. See video below if you're not sure where this is). Season the inside with a pinch of salt and pepper. Trim off excess skin, then flip over and firmly push down the breasts to flatten the chicken. Tuck wings under chicken.
- Coat Chicken: Grab a spoon and begin loosening the skin from the meat all across the breasts and legs. You can also loosen it around the wings too with a smaller spoon. Be firm, but still be careful not to rip the skin. Spread most of the marinade underneath the skin, ensuring you evenly distribute it and spread it to all parts of the chicken. Spread a dollop on top and any of the remaining oil that separated. Cover and marinate for as long as you have time for (preferably 2hours+). Bring close to room temp again before roasting.
- Tray Bake: Combine peppers, potato, onions and corn on a large roasting tray with a drizzle of olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Stand up the corn on the cob halves in the centre to create a small platform for the chicken (see notes). Place chicken on corn, making sure the chicken is sturdy (so it won't fall during roasting) and also making sure it is completely level (so it cooks evenly).
- Roast: Drizzle the chicken with a little more oil and coat with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven at 425F/220C for 45mins. The internal temperature should be 75C/165F with the juices running clear when pierced at the join between the drumstick and the body.
- Serve: Carefully transfer chicken to large plate or board and allow to rest for 15mins. This will ensure the chicken retains its juices. Remove veg from tray and drizzle a splash of hot chicken stock. Use a plastic spatula to scrape off all the gorgeous flavour. Dice up chicken as you wish and serve with veg and pan juices.
Quick 1 min demo!
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