Cooking How-To: Cutting Up a Chicken

Simple tips and tasty recipes that make delicious use of a whole chicken.

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Why You Should Learn to Cut Up a Chicken

Peter Ardito

Why You Should Learn to Cut Up a Chicken

The next time you're at the grocery store, go whole hog -- or, rather, chicken. Instead of purchasing pre-cut wings, thighs, or breasts, opt for the entire bird. You'll save money and gain easy access to all of the chicken's useful, flavorful parts. A whole bird costs an average of 90 cents less than its equivalent in parts. We'll show you how to break it down and give you 3 easy recipes that put your new skills to delicious use.

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Step 1: Remove the Legs

Peter Ardito

Step 1: Remove the Legs

Place bird on a cutting board breast side up so that the leg end of the chicken is closest to you. Pull leg away from the body and slice through the skin and meat with a sharp knife until you hit bone. Bend leg away from body until the thighbone is exposed, then cut through the joint. Repeat with other leg.

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Remove the Wings

Peter Ardito

Remove the Wings

Rotate bird so the wing end of the chicken is closest to you. Use the same method to remove the wings. Snap the joint connecting the top and bottom parts of the wing and use your knife to cut through it. Snap the wing tip (roughly the last 1 ? inches of each wing); cut if off and discard.

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Step 2: Cut Through Joints

Peter Ardito

Step 2: Cut Through Joints

Set legs skin side down on the cutting board. Using the fat line between the thigh and drumstick as your guide, cut cleanly through the joints.

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Step 3: Remove the Breast

Peter Ardito

Step 3: Remove the Breast

For boneless breasts, use smooth, shallow cuts to slice the breast down each side of the sternum using the rib bones as a guide.

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Chicken Soup with Egg Noodles

Peter Ardito

Chicken Soup with Egg Noodles

A couple of secrets: the red onion skin helps to color the broth, and the vegetables are kept whole so they don't overcook.

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Butterflied Rosemary Chicken with Fig Dipping Sauce

Peter Ardito

Butterflied Rosemary Chicken with Fig Dipping Sauce

Kids will love the fruity sauce with apricot nectar and dried figs.

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Chicken Breast Satay with Peanut-Coconut Sauce

Peter Ardito

Chicken Breast Satay with Peanut-Coconut Sauce

If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning.

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Braised Chicken Legs with Tomatoes and Olives

Peter Ardito

Braised Chicken Legs with Tomatoes and Olives

Serve this aromatic, perfect-for-cold-weather dish over pasta.

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Sweet and Sticky Sesame-Honey Wings

Peter Ardito

Sweet and Sticky Sesame-Honey Wings

Serve these wings with rice and snow peas. Make sure to reserve the marinade, which is later used to cook up a deeply flavorful sauce.

Originally published in the March 2012 issue of Parents magazine.

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