How to Debone a Chicken While Leaving It Whole

Deboning a chicken and leaving it whole allows you to roll and stuff it in a variety of ways. The process of deboning means to remove all the bones from meat, poultry or fish before cooking. Benefits include saving money by doing it yourself instead of having a butcher do it. The first time you debone a chicken it may seem impossible and time consuming, but with practice you can complete the task with ease.

Remove any giblet pack. Check back and front cavities for any extra fat or organs and remove.

Rinse the chicken under cold water until the water runs clear.

Dry the chicken with paper towels to include the inside of the chicken cavity.

Place the chicken on the cutting board breast-side up.

Locate the wishbone by lifting up the neck skin. Cut the wishbone out using a small knife, and cut the skin around it away. Pull the wishbone out.

Flip the chicken over breast-side down and cut a deep slip from the chicken's neck to its tail, exposing the backbone. Separate the meat from the backbone and scrape and cut the meat on the left-hand side of the chicken.

Locate the leg and wing ball joints on the left-hand side and sever them. Continue down, removing the meat to the ridge of the breast and stop. Repeat these steps on the right-hand side of the chicken stopping again at the ridge of the breastbone.

Lift the chicken and cut very closely against the ridge of the breastbone to free it. Be careful not to pierce or split the skin covering the breastbone.

Chop the wings off at the joints leaving the upper wing bones. Scrape the meat away from the wing and remove the bone.

Lift the drumsticks one at a time and cut the skin at the end to expose the bone. Cut the bone from the meat.

Lift the thigh and cut the bone away from the meat.


Make sure your knife is extremely sharp. Use a naturally fed, free-range chicken for best results. Use the bones, carcase and elbow pieces to make chicken stock. Allow yourself plenty of time on your first attempt.


The cutting edge or your knife must always face the bone so you do not pierce the skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Whole chicken
  • Small, sharp chef's knife
  • Cutting board
  • Paper towels
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About the Author

Susan Maddocks began her career in 1984 as a video writer and producer. She also contributed to numerous commercials, informercials, training and animation scripts, and co-wrote "Sim City Enhanced CD-ROM." Maddocks was awarded the first-ever Interactive Academy Award for her Sim City creation. Maddocks currently writes screenplays and weight-loss/health articles. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tulsa.