Butterflied Roast Chicken With Rice Stuffing

This Butterflied Roast Chicken has a crisp and golden skin, juicy meat and the rice stuffing cooks right along with the chicken. It is a perfect recipe to make for the holidays or any special occasion, since it has a stunning presentation, it can be prepped in advance and the main course and side dish are all cooked at the same time.

Butterflied Roast Chicken With Rice Stuffing-1-8

A stuffed bird sounds like a great idea, right? I know, it holds the charm of a one dish meal, with your protein and starch cooking at the same time. However, I completely agree with Alton Brown that stuffing is evil:). (His show of Romancing the Bird is one of the most popular videos and recipes on the Food Network.).

Here are some problems with stuffing a bird.

#1. In order for the stuffing to get cooked through completely, you need to cook it MUCH longer than the actual bird, so you end up with chewy, dry and rubbery meat.

#2. The amount of stuffing that fits inside the bird is a measly amount, so you either have to make more stuffing on the side, or else half of your family/guests will be left very sad because there wasn’t enough stuffing for everybody.

With this recipe, not only does the chicken cook faster and gets a much more evenly crisp, golden skin, but you also get the lovely addition of a delicious rice stuffing to go with it, without any of the above mentioned problems.

Since the bird simply rests on top of the stuffing, you can get a lot more stuffing than if you were stuffing it inside the cavity.  Most importantly, since the rice is directly spread out on the baking sheet and gets a lot of the oven’s heat instead of being protected and shielded all around by the bird, the stuffing is cooked through completely just as soon as the chicken is done roasting.

So what do we end up with? A moist, juicy chicken with golden, crisp skin and scrumptious rice stuffing, all cooked much faster than the traditional roast bird. I’ll take it!

Ingredients:

Ingredients for a Butterflied Roast Chicken With Rice Stuffing
  • whole chicken (4-5 lbs)
  • rice (partially cooked or leftover rice) I usually use long grain white rice for this recipe, but you can also use brown rice too.
  • Tablespoon butter or oil
  • onion
  • carrot
  • celery
  • garlic
  • salt, pepper, dry herbs and seasonings, to taste
  • grated cheese, optional
  • fresh herbs (parsley, thyme or any other herbs that you like, such as rosemary, dill, chives, etc.)

Video of Butterflied Roast Chicken With Rice Stuffing

How to Butterfly or Spatchcock a Chicken:

How to butterfly or spatchcock a whole chicken tutorial

To butterfly a chicken, aka spatchcock a chicken, you simply cut out the backbone and open it up. It somewhat resembles a butterfly, so that’s why it’s called this way.

Why would you want to do this seemingly extra step or prepping a whole chicken?

  • Spreading out the chicken this way will open it up into one layer, the chicken will cook a bit faster and much more evenly.
  • The chicken is much more easier to carve/slice when cooked this way too.

It’s fairly simple to do this too, especially if you have a good pair of kitchen scissors/shears. The kitchen scissors make this job very easy. Cut along one side of the chicken backbone, then cut along the other side. Save the backbone in your freezer to make homemade Chicken Broth later.

Open up the chicken and make a small cut right on the top of the chicken breast bone, just to open it up even more so that it lays flat.

Preparing the Rice Stuffing:

Tutorial of making rice stuffing with sautéed vegetables.

Partially cook the rice, until it’s 3/4 cooked through. (Leftover rice works well too.) (I use 3/4-1 cup rice, add 1/2-3/4 teaspoons of salt and1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook on low until most of the water is absorbed.)

In a skillet, heat up some oil or butter. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and other dry herbs and seasonings to taste. Cook until all the vegetables are tender. Add the vegetables to the rice.

If you are using grated cheese, cool the rice and vegetables slightly before adding the rice. If you add it while they are hot, the cheese will melt in one big clump instead of dispersing evenly in the rice. Add more dry herbs and seasonings to taste as well as fresh herbs. Add salt if it needs it.

Other Variations of Rice Stuffing:

Instead of white rice, you can use brown rice too. Cook it first. Here’s an easy recipe for how to cook brown rice.

You can also adjust the flavor of the rice by using different variations of vegetables. In the summer, use some tomatoes, peppers, spinach, etc. In the autumn, I love adding butternut squash, pumpkin, mushrooms. Sauté all the vegetables until they are tender before adding to the rice.

Assembling the Rice Stuffing and the Butterflied Chicken

Butterflied Whole Chicken with Rice Stuffing

Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper on both sides. You can also add some herbs and spices to taste. At this point, you can place the chicken in a bowl, cover it up tightly and store in the refrigerator until ready to roast. You can also prep the rice and store it in the refrigerator. This is a really great option when making this for a holiday or even a regular dinner. The longer the chicken marinates and juicer and more flavorful it will be.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mound the rice on the prepared baking sheet, shaping it into an oval shape. Eye your bird and make the rice a bed for it to rest on. If your bird is on the smaller side, you may end up with some of the rice left over. If your chicken is a good 5 pounds, you’ll be able to fit all of the stuffing underneath. (Just take note that 1 cup of the uncooked rice will yield enough for 4 servings. If you use a smaller bird, you will have less rice to serve on the side.)

Place the butterflied chicken on top of the rice. The chicken should cover the rice completely. If a bit of rice is sticking out from the edges it ok.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour, until your instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees in the chicken breast and 175 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh. Chicken overcooks very easily, so I would start checking the chicken 45 minutes after you put it into the oven.

Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before carving it. Serve with the rice and garnish with fresh herbs.

Butterflied Roast Chicken With Rice Stuffing-1-8

The chicken is so much easier to carve when it’s butterflied and it’s really juicy too.

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Butterflied Roast Chicken With Rice Stuffing

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Entree

Description

This Butterflied Roast Chicken has a crisp and golden skin, juicy meat and the rice stuffing cooks right along with the chicken. It is a perfect recipe to make for the holidays or any special occasion, since it has a stunning presentation, it can be prepped in advance and the main course and side dish are all cooked at the same time.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (45 lbs)
  • 3/41 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 Tablespoon butter or oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 24 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt, pepper
  • dry herbs and spices, to taste
  • 1/21 cup grated cheese, optional
  • fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, thyme, dill, chives, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Cut the backbone out of the chicken, using kitchen scissors or shears. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. You can also season with dry herbs and other seasonings to taste. 
  3. Cook the rice according to the package directions, slightly undercooking it. Your rice should be 90% cooked.
  4. While the rice is cooking, in a skillet, heat the oil or butter. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and other dry herbs and seasonings to taste. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.
  5. When the rice is cooked, drain it and add the vegetables to it. Mix to combine. Cool slightly and then add the grated cheese, if using. Add part of the fresh herbs and mix to combine.
  6. Mound the rice on a large rimmed baking sheet, shaping it into an oval shape. Place the butterflied chicken on top of the rice. The chicken should cover the rice completely. 
  7. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour, until your instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees in the chicken breast and 175 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh. Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before carving it. Serve with the rice, garnishing the rice with more fresh herbs. 

Notes

Instructions to Prep the Chicken and Rice in Advance:

You can butterfly the chicken and season it with salt, pepper and other seasonings and store in the refrigerator for up to a day in advance. The rice and vegetables can also be cooked and mixed up to a day in advance, storing them in the refrigerator as well. 

All you have to do on the day that you will serve the chicken and rice is to take them out of the refrigerator while you are preheating the oven so that the chicken comes to room temperature slightly, assemble the rice and chicken on the baking sheet and roast in the oven. 

This recipe was originally published on March 11, 2014. I added a video to make it even more easy to follow the recipe and clarified the instructions, although the recipe is still the same. 

22 Comments

  • Victoria

    Olga, do you think this recipe would work just as good if I used turkey instead?? I just happen to have one on hand…. Thanks

    • olgak7

      Of course, you can use a turkey, but you would need a really big baking sheet. It definitely won’t fit on a normal sized sheet like this one. And you will need to use a lot more stuffing.

  • Victoria

    Olga, would this recipe work just as good if I used a turkey instead?? I just happen to have one on hand….
    Thanks

  • Tiffany

    I’ve just finished making this scrumptious roasted chicken! I love the presentation and the taste is divine! Thank you for yet another great AMAZING recipe that will become a staple of mine. 🙂

  • Irina

    Olga,
    Thank you for all the posts. I have tried a lot of them and they are all delicious, but, I have to say my family loved this chicken and rice. Soo good. Thanks. Keep posting.

  • Julia

    Hi Olga!! I plan on making this for our Christmas Eve dinner… Does the chicken need any brining at all? or is it plenty juicy as it is?

    Thank you !!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  • Sveta

    Hi! Made the butterflied chicken last night and it was super moist and really delicious. I butterflied the turkey for thanksgiving this past year just never thought of doing it to a chicken until I saw your recipe. Thank you.

  • Nastja

    Hi Olja,
    can you please answer the following question: why do you cut out the backbone out of the chicken on one picture and on the other pictures the chicken is still showen with the backbone?
    Thanks!

    Nastja from Germany

  • DaveMich

    Years old, this recipe is, but it jumped up when I went looking for “whole chicken and rice recipe.” Splatchcocking my chicken was the best idea, and I liked the look of the rice too – I used shallots and mushrooms along with the carrots and made the rice with tumeric. Just different enough to be something other than boring once-a-week chicken. Thanks!

  • Lena

    First of all, this recipe is so SIMPLE to make!!

    I added a little extra carrot and celery, and sprinkled in some cumin and paprika to the rice.
    We raved and raved about this meal!! The chicken was excellent, but the rice was hands down the best part of the meal. I’m not sure why there’s not a million likes and reviews on this recipe- I will definitely be making this again!

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