How to Debone a Chicken

chicken parts

It looks like an impossible task but it doesn’t require muscle or stress. We’ll explain step by step how to master this technique and by the end of this “class”, and with a few practice runs, you’ll be able to do it yourself and wow your friends!

How to debone a chicken breast

If you are able to only buy the chicken breast, remove the skin and than cut lenghtwise with a chef knife along one side of the breastbone. Cut along the other side of the breastbone to separate the bone from the second fillet. You might have to use a little bit of a scraping motion to take all the chicken meat off the bone.

How to debone chicken legs

Put the chicken leg skin-side down on the cutting board. Use a sharp knife to remove the bone from the upper end of the leg. Making small insicions along the bone will help to expose it more easily and being able to go underneath the bone and remove it by pulling it down.

How to debone a chicken thigh

Chicken thighs have only one bone. You can push away the chicken meat wiht your hands and than slice or scrape with a sharp knife along both sides of the bone. Once exposed, make an incision underneath and cut out the bone completely. 

How to debone chicken drumsticks

We personally don’t really debone drumsticks as we like to make little ‘popsicles’ from them before grilling or roasting them and serve them as fingerfood. But everything is possible and so it’s best to start by making an incision around the highest end of the bone. Then push the skin down by with your hands and use a sharp knife to crape around the bone without cutting the meat or the skin. It is a bit of work but once the bone is released you can easily stuff the drumsticks or cook them just like that.

Why debone or break down a chicken yourself?

Money saving

Whole chickens are much cheaper, usually the price is to compare with the price of 2 attractively packaged chicken breasts. There are hundreds of recipes with chicken and we’ll share a variety of them but keep in mind that we only started this blog and more recipes will gradually appear.


Most people we know will only buy breasts or legs to cook with. However, It is amazing how the entire chicken can be used in a variety of dishes. The carcass and the skin to make stock and soup, the meat to fry, shred, roast or on a barbecue. 

Deboning vs breaking down

Deboning is literally removing all the bones from all the pieces of the chicken. Breaking down is turning it into the various parts and pieces with bones still attached. We are going to describe how to debone and breakdown the chicken. This technique can also be used for a whole cooked chicken.

Get your knives ready and start practicing! You might want to check our review about knife sets. On Friday we will share a recipe where you can apply this technique.

how to debone a chicken
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Step by step deboning technique

With a few practice runs, you’ll be able to do it yourself!
Prep Time20 minutes
Active Time0 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Meat & Poultry
Cuisine: International
Keyword: chicken, debone, knife skills, technique
difficulty: Advanced
Time: <30 minutes
Yield: 4 people
Calories: 310kcal



Get ready

  • Prepare a sharp deboning knife.
  • Have a big cutting board ready.
    1 whole chicken

Remove the legs

  • Lay the chicken on its back.
  • Pull the leg a little from the body.
  • Make a cut through the skin between the leg and the body.
  • Cut to the bone and then pop the leg out of its sickle by twisting the joint before cutting all the way through the joint.

Divide the leg in two parts

  • Find the ball joint at the ‘knee’ of the leg.
  • Cut through the line of fat that is at this point and separate the drumsticks from the chicken thighs.

Debone the thighs

  • Run the knife along the bone to free it from the skin.
    debone thigh
  • Scrape the flesh from the bone and cut off at the large knuckle.

Remove the breasts

  • Cut from front to back over the sternum.
    cut chicken breast in 2
  • Slice your knife gently along the rib cage to cut the breasts off.

Separate the wings from the breast.

  • The wing tips are cut off to make stock.
  • Cut at the shoulder joints to separate the entire wing.
    seperate wings


Calories: 310kcal | Protein: 27g | Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 101mg | Vitamin A: 202IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

Highlights for how to debone a chicken

In addition to the cost savings of buying whole chickens and doing all the work yourself, there are other benefits to learning how to debone a chicken.

If you have bought fresh chickens (not frozen), once you have all the individual pieces deboned, you can place them in smaller bags and freeze them for many future meals.

It is so much easier to plan meals when you know you have the right piece of chicken in your freezer and you only need to take it out and thaw it.

Or, you can cook all the chicken up in one go, and then freeze it to be included later in one of your recipes. Some people like to cook the whole meal at once, like a casserole, and then freeze it for another time.

Regardless of how you organise your time and meals, you’ll be happy knowing that you have learned a skill that saves money, time, and aggravation when thinking what to cook for dinner.

Lastly, don’t forget to make a soup or stock with the discarded pieces and bones!


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