This flat roasted chicken with smoked paprika is made by spatchcocking a whole chicken and treating it to an oil, lemon, garlic, and paprika rub. The finished chicken is tender, juicy, and covered in shatteringly crisp skin.

There are many reasons we love this spicy, smoky, flat roasted chicken with smoked paprika. It’s tender, juicy, and easy to make. It cooks much faster than a whole bird normally would. Best of all, there’s so much crispy skin. (We could go on, but you get the idea…)Angie Zoobkoff

A flat roasted chicken with smoked paprika on a sheet of parchment paper with a halved head of garlic on either side.

Flat Roasted Chicken with Smoked Paprika

5 / 3 votes
This flat roasted chicken with smoked paprika is made by spatchcocking a whole chicken and treating it to an oil, lemon, garlic, and paprika rub. The finished chicken is tender, juicy, and covered in shatteringly crisp skin.
Servings4 servings
Calories430 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time4 hours 55 minutes
Total Time5 hours 15 minutes


  • One (3-to 4-pound) spatchcocked whole chicken preferably free-range or organic
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves smashed to a paste with a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked hot paprika (pimentón picante)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika (pimentón de la vera dulce)


  • Place the flattened chicken on a heavy rimmed baking sheet and season generously with salt on both sides.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, and hot and sweet paprika.
  • Brush or rub the mixture thoroughly on both sides of the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
  • Roast the chicken, skin side up and uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to 400°F (200°C) and continue roasting until the chicken is well browned and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F (75°C), about 30 minutes more. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Using a cleaver or heavy knife, cut the chicken into 8 pieces. Transfer to a platter and serve.
David Tanis Market Cooking Cookbook

Adapted From

David Tanis Market Cooking

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 430 kcalCarbohydrates: 4 gProtein: 31 gFat: 32 gSaturated Fat: 8 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6 gMonounsaturated Fat: 15 gTrans Fat: 0.2 gCholesterol: 123 mgSodium: 118 mgPotassium: 412 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 gVitamin A: 1955 IUVitamin C: 6 mgCalcium: 33 mgIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe © 2017 David Tanis. Photo © 2017 Evan Sung. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

It will take just a few minutes to prep your chicken and then around an hour to roast it.

I prepped my chicken in the morning so it would be perfect when adding to the oven in late afternoon.

I must also confess that I thought I had a supply of both sweet and hot paprika but alas, after rummaging through the spice collection, there was no hot paprika to be had. In my eternal quest for the path of least resistance, I simply doubled the sweet paprika and added a large pinch of cayenne pepper. I have, of late, taken to using Diamond Crystal kosher salt and, because of my love of black pepper, I used a coarsely ground.

A sharp knife will be fine for removing the backbone but any pair of kitchen shears will make short work of this task.

In late afternoon, when I pulled the chicken from the refrigerator, I lined the bottom of the pan with a large sliced, separated Vidalia onion followed with a layer of cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. (I used frozen). I then draped the spatchcocked chicken over the bed of vegetables. This allowed the juices from the roasting chicken to run over and through the vegetables, making them quite delicious all on their own. When the chicken came up to temperature, we were presented with a beautiful, crispy chicken and wonderful vegetables using just one pan!

You may be concerned that preparing a flat chicken might lead to dryness but, rest assured, every part of the bird, including the breast, was moist and succulent. And my favorite part? The skin from side to side, tip to toe is browned and oh so crisp.

Beautiful flavor and dead easy for a weeknight or a special dinner.

I’ve avoided spatchcocking a chicken up until now, but it turned out to be pretty easy even for a novice. I used kitchen shears and a sharp knife I was comfortable with, a good amount of parchment paper on my counter and the cutting board, and a pair of nitrile gloves. Mixing up the marinade ahead only took a few minutes, and I staged a-2 gallon heavy zip-lock bag with the top open and rolled back, but it was handy to have a second person help hold the bag up once I had rubbed the chicken and was ready to put it in the bag to go into the refrigerator. I gave it 5½ hours to marinate.

After the initial 15 minutes at 450℉, I added a small pan of fingerling potatoes which I had par-cooked, oiled and seasoned, sliced in half, and dropped the temperature to 400℉ as per the recipe. The timing was spot on.

This is a dish well worth seeking best quality quicken (I used a free range, organic, air-chilled chicken) and really good paprika (I used Chiquilin pimentón picante and dulce). I served up both breast meat and dark meat (leg and thigh) the first night, and it was all delicious. The next day I gently reheated more of the same and felt the breast meat was less moist than I would prefer, so I reserved the final light meat for shredding for a chicken salad rather than reheating it, and it made for a terrific upgrade to my normal chicken salad, especially with the seasoned skin sliced thinly to accent the salad. We got 4 meals for two people from this roasted chicken, and were very happy to have conquered my hesitation to spatchcock or butterfly a chicken or turkey.

Garlic tip: I used a suribachi* to grind my garlic to a paste. This is easy with a little coarse salt and only takes a moment. I then added part of the lemon juice to help get all the garlic out of the grooves, poured that into my small bowl with the spices, repeated,and added the oil, mixing it takes just a few seconds. grinding garlic with salt and then adding an acid like lemon seems to make it a bit milder, and it is the basis for my usual vinaigrette, a lesson from Alice Waters.

*small Japanese mortar with wood pestle used traditionally to crush garlic

This is a really good introduction to how easy and effective it is to flatten poultry and get even moist cooking. the seasoning rub adds great flavor without any single part being too dominant.

Select a Tester

I think this should absolutely be a TC recipe. While hot and sweet paprika aren’t the most common spices in many home cooks’ repertoires, I’ve had them for a couple years and they’re super versatile, and this particular recipe was a simple use to deliciois end.

Originally published February 12, 2020

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    There are oodles of ways to flavor a roast chicken, but I have to say that this marinade of olive oil, sweet and hot paprika, lemon juice and garlic it one of the best. All simple ingredients that most of us probably already have in the pantry, this roast chicken is great for either a weeknight supper or weekend entertaining. The high heat of the oven makes for a lovely crispy skin and marinating the chicken for as long as you can ensures a flavorful and succulent interior. The only thing else you need are some mashed potatoes and a simple garden salad to round out the meal!

    1. Anna, wicked good! I’m delighted to hear that this recipe worked so well for you. Thanks SO much for taking the time to let me know.

  2. 5 stars
    This chicken was really delicious. Because I was making it for a group and taking it to someone else’s house, I made it with whole chicken legs (8) and breasts (2). Because I figured the surface area was much more than just one chicken, I upped the marinade by 50%. That seemed to be the right amount. I didn’t have smoked spicy paprika, so I used 2 Tbsp regular smoked paprika and 1 Tbsp Penzey’s half-sharp paprika, which can be quite spicy. I cut back on the roasting time a little. It got rave reviews from everyone.