This spatchcocked chicken with harissa recipe lets you in on the best way to cook a juicy, flavorful chicken!
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I’m going to let you in on the secret of how to make the most delicious and juicy whole chicken in a fraction of the time –Spatchcocked chicken with harissa! It’s bursting with warm Mediterranean red pepper flavor and cooks so perfectly that every bite will be tender and juicy.
There are two ways to cook this spatchcocked chicken with harissa, in the air fryer and in the oven. Both will cook your whole chicken faster and juicier than traditional methods.
What is spatchcocked chicken?
Spatchcocking, aka butterfly, means cutting down the chicken’s backbone to open it completely and lay flat. This technique allows the chicken to cook more evenly and about 25% faster. When you traditionally cook a whole chicken, the chicken breast is usually overcooked when the thigh meat is done. With spatchcocking, all of the chicken is laying evenly on the pan, cooking at the same rate. So, your chicken breast and thighs will be done at the same time.
How to Spatchcock Chicken?
Cut down one side of the chicken spine using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. If you want to remove the spine completely, cut down the other side of the spine to remove it. (Tip: put the spine in a freezer bag and freeze for broth and stews). I’ve gotten to where I’ve just been leaving attached and cooking the entire chicken, but either way is fine. Press down on the breastbone with your knife to cut or crack the bone, so the chicken lays flat. Then, place the chicken on a sheet pan.
What makes this chicken so flavorful
- 3-4 pound whole spatchcocked chicken
- Lemon juice –juice from about 2 lemons
- Garlic cloves –grated
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Dried oregano
- Ground cumin
- Harissa or pureed roasted red peppers.
- Olive oil for the roasted chicken Version (none if air frying)
I don’t leave any of this chicken unseasoned. I season the skin with a spice rub, but most of the flavor comes from the harissa paste. It’s usually sold in the International section of the supermarket, and my favorite store-bought brand is Mina. They have two varieties. I prefer the Mina Harissa Mild because it has just the right amount of spice for me and has a ton of roasted red pepper flavor. They have a spicer one if you like more heat.
If you can’t find it at the supermarket, make your own at home. It’s pretty easy, and you can get my recipe here. Or you can simply puree some roasted red peppers with salt and pepper for a quick substitute.
How to season your spatchcocked chicken with harissa
With your chicken lying skin side up on a baking sheet, pour the lemon juice on the skin side of the chicken. In a small bowl, combine all of the dry spices together. Use half to cover the skin side of the chicken and the other half for the other side of the chicken.
In another bowl, combine the grated garlic and harissa together. Separate the skin from the chicken breasts and stuff the garlic harissa under the skin of the chicken.
Air fryer cooking method
Both cooking methods give you extra juicy chicken, but the air fryer chicken will be a lot crispier.
Place the chicken in the air fryer basket breast-side up and cook at 370 °F for 30 minutes. Flip the chicken over and air fry for 15 more minutes. So the skin remains extra crispy, I like to flip the chicken back to breast-side up and air fry for 5 more minutes.
Oven Roasted cooking method
The air fryer chicken may have crispier skin, but the oven-roasted chicken will have delicious concentrated juices left in the pan after cooking. Just even more flavor!
Preheat the oven to 425 °F, 220 °C. Roast on the middle rack for 45 minutes- 1 hour or until the internal temperature registers 165 °F. To help your oven-roasted spatchcocked chicken with harissa have a crispier skin, turn the broiler element on for the last 5 minutes. Just be sure to keep an eye on it so that it does not burn.
Your spatchcocked chicken with harissa will be bursting with flavor, so it doesn’t take much to round out the meal. Serve it with a salad and tzatziki, or add a side of Greek Lemony Hasselback roasted potatoes. No matter what you put with this delicious juicy chicken, your family will enjoy a great meal.
- a whole chicken, about 3-4 pounds
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 4 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons Harissa or pureed roasted red peppers.
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil for the roasted chicken (none if air frying)
Spatchcock the chicken: Cut out the spine of the chicken using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. Press the breast down to crack the bone and place the chicken on a sheet pan.
Combine the seasonings in a small bowl and mix them together. Use half for one side of the chicken and the otehr half for the other side.
Combine the garlic and harissa and mix together. Stuff the garlic harissa under the skin of the chicken.
For the air fryer: Place the chicken in the air fryer basket breast-side up and cook at 370 °F for 30 minutes. Flip the chicken over and air fry for 15 more minutes. I like to flip the chicken back to breast-side up and air fry for 5 more minutes so that the skin is crispy.
For the oven: Preheat the oven to 425 °F, 220 °C. Season the chicken and place on a baking tray. Roast on the middle rack for 45 minutes- 1 hour or until the internal temperature registers 165 °F. I like to turn the broiler element on for the last 5 minutes so that the skin can become crispy. Keep an eye on it so that it does not burn.
Serve with a salad and tzatziki. Enjoy!
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