How to quarter a chicken


Stop the hacking! Learn how to quarter a chicken for frying, roasting or baking from Chef Marc Bauer at the famed French Culinary Institute in New York.

How to quarter a chicken
  1. Wash your hands and the chicken.
  2. Remove whatever is lurking in the cavity.
  3. With a boning knife or a butcher knife, remove the wings.
  4. Remove the wishbone. Make a wish.
  5. Make a 1/2 inch deep slice lengthwise down the back. Make another slice crosswise just above the legs.
  6. Flip the chicken; push skin from leg toward breast.
  7. Slice to the bone along the leg, meeting your criss-cross marks on the back.
  8. With both hands, pull leg away from chicken to expose leg joint.
  9. Cut through muscle and cartilage to remove legs.
  10. Slice gently between backbone and ribcage on both sides. Pull backbone from the body.
  11. With both hands, separate breasts by pushing the breastbone out and away.
  12. Remove breastbone by scraping or cutting along each side.
  13. Place chicken breasts skin side up, slice.
  14. Dry chicken pieces before cooking.



Hi, my name is Marc Bauer, from the French Culinary Institute; I would like to show you how to cut a chicken into quarters, you know, to sauté or deep fry on top of the stove. So, I use a boning knife of a butchers knife, and you know to quarter a chicken first you remove the package with all the gizzards and the heart, see if its empty. I’m going to wash it also if I want to.

Remove the wing bones, this I can use later for a sauce. First, we’re going to remove the wishbone by pulling the skin back and scraping along the side of each side of the breast. The same thing for the other side. Once you hear that squishing noise, ready to go. I put my fingers on the side of the wishbone, all the way to the top, and remove it. Then what you do is put on its back, you slice you make a little imprint on the back with crosscutting. I’m going to flip it over, pull as much skin on the breast, and do a slash from the leg from in between the leg and the breast, all the way down to the crosscutting mark.

Once I push the skin I do a slash to the crosscutting. Then, see, I expose the joint in the leg, remove the oyster, which is that little piece of muscle that’s on the very edge of the leg, and remove it. That’s it, that’s for the leg, and I do the same thing for the other side.

Then I’m going to work on removing the backbone. By doing this you can use a chef’s knife or use your boning knife. Then I remove the backbone by slicing gently between the backbone and the ribcage, and those ribs will be coming very nicely through. I remove the backbone, same thing on the other side. And you remove the backbone, which can be also used for the roast or for a stock. At this point I have the breast with the bone in. I’m going to separate them, the breast by doing a little slash of a quarter of an inch. The cut to this part right here and with my hand remove the breastbone by sliding my finger along the side of the breastbone, and pulling it out from the front. This can also be used for a stock

Once I have my breast flat I can split it in half, make sure I have the same amount of skin on each side. And that’s it we have a quarter chicken. On from here on we will either sauté, deep fry, finish the product, cook the product. You can marinade if you want to, you can season it, put some herbs beads in the skin if you want to. And make sure before you cook the chicken that your going to dry it with paper towel otherwise it will attach to the bottom of the pan. This is how you quarter a chicken.

meet theexpert
  • Marc Bauer

    Marc Bauer Master Chef, French Culinary Institute Marc Bauer is a Master Chef and Roundsman at the renowned French Culinary Institute and its popular L'Ecole Restaurant in New York City. more about this expert »

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