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How to Section a Whole Chicken

A step-by-step guide to sectioning a chicken that will save you time and money.

It is easy to buy chicken according to the cut you want. Chicken breasts, wings, and legs are often sold separately at the grocery store, making it easy to shop for a specific recipe. However, this isn’t always the most economical option as pre-cut pieces are often more expensive. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, why not buy the whole chicken and section it yourself? Not only does this give you a variety of cuts on hand, it also leaves you with the bones and scraps which are perfect for making homemade chicken soup.

Sectioning a chicken yourself is easy. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to section a chicken at home.

You will need:

  • A sharp knife
  • A clean, non-slip cutting board
  • One whole chicken

Step 1

Lay the chicken flat on the cutting board, back side up. 

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Step 2

One at a time, lift the legs away from the body and using your knife, cut at the hip joints to remove the legs and thighs.  

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Step 3

Angle the chicken upwards and cut down through the ribcage to separate the back from the breasts.

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Step 4

One at a time, lift the wings away from the body and cut at the shoulder joints to remove the wings.

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Step 5

Using your knife, cut along the base of each breast to remove it.

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Now that you’re done, be sure to wash up thoroughly. Use disinfecting soap on your hands and wrists, and disinfect the knife, cutting board, and surrounding counter space.

To store the different cuts of chicken, place portioned amounts in resealable freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible before closing the bag. A vacuum sealer works best if you have one, and it will prolong freezer life. Place the sealed items either in the fridge or freezer, depending on how soon you will be using them. If stored properly, chicken can last up to 9 months in the freezer.

And don’t forget about the leftover bones and scraps! These are an excellent base for delicious and nutritious chicken soup. For more on how to make your own chicken stock at home, check out this recipe for Essential Chicken Broth.

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