How to joint a chicken

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  • 1x whole chicken

This step-by-step guide and video leads you through every stage of jointing a chicken, with simple instructions that will leave you with 6-8 portions of chicken, including two breasts, two wings and two thighs... It's cheaper to buy a whole chicken and joint it yourself, plus you can freeze these portions and use them when you're ready, so there's no need to cook all the pieces in one go.

Nothing gets leftover using this simple method for jointing a chicken. Even the carcass and small bones can be used to make a delicious chicken stock that is much tastier, healthier and better than anything you can buy at the supermarket.

Just make sure you wash your hands before and after and store your chicken in the correct way, whether you're going to wrap it and keep it in the fridge to use in a few days (before the use-by date expires) or wrapping it and freezing it ready to defrost thoroughly before you cook it. This is a fantastic skill to learn if you're on a budget.


  • Sharp knife
  • Scissors

Step 1

If the chicken is trussed up, cut off the string. Pull the legs out and cut through the skin.


Step 2

Twist the leg to release it from the socket joint, then cut off between the joint and the carcass.


Step 3

Break the ankle joint and cut it off, cutting between the bones so as not to get any splinters.


Step 4

The legs can be left whole for large leg joints, or you can separate the thighs from the drumsticks. Break the joint before cutting.


Step 5

Cut down one side of the breastbone - you may find scissors easier to use than a knife. Lift the top of the breast away from the carcass and cut it away underneath.

Step 6

Repeat the previous step to remove the breast on the other side. You'll now have 6-8 chicken portions, plus the carcass and small bones to make your own chicken stock.


Step 7

Twist carefully, then cut off both the wings.

Step 8

Cut off the small points from the tips of the wings (reserve any for stockpot). Then fold the wing up, tucking the ends under.

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