5 Ways Kitchen Shears Make Cooking Chicken Easier

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You’re probably used to reaching for your trusted chef’s knife, or maybe even a boning knife, when it comes time to prep chicken. That was certainly my go-to for a long time. But it turns out there’s an even better tool for nearly any job involving chicken: kitchen shears.

Here is how they make prepping and cooking whole chicken and individual pieces even easier.

1. Deboning chicken thighs.

Keep the chef’s knife where it is, because the easiest way to debone chicken thighs is with a pair of kitchen shears. They’re sturdy and sharp enough to cut through the meat, cartilage, and fat around the bone. Removing the bone is the secret to really reducing the cook time for this flavorful cut. Just save those bones for stock!

2. Sectioning chicken wings.

Whole chicken wings are made up of three parts: the tip, wingette (or flat), and drumette. Since whole wings aren’t evenly shaped and don’t sit flat on a surface, most recipes call for breaking them down into these three pieces first for consistent cooking. Kitchen shears are a good choice for the job since they’re strong enough to cut through the skin, meat, and cartilage.

3. Removing unwanted chicken skin and trimming fat.

I know, crispy chicken skin is totally amazing — I couldn’t agree more. But there are times when a skinless chicken breasts or thigh is a better choice for a recipe. Kitchen shears make it easy to remove unwanted skin and trim any fat from chicken pieces. Snip, snip!

4. Spatchcocking a chicken.

This technique for butterflying a whole chicken (and turkey) so that it sits flat in one piece is best tackled with kitchen shears, not a knife. The shears cut through the rib cage and around the backbone easily with a lot of dexterity. They’re also safer to use on a slippery chicken than a big chef’s knife.

5. Cutting a whole chicken into pieces.

Kitchen shears also make it easy to take spatchcocking one step further, by cutting the whole bird into pieces. A good pair of shears is sturdy and sharp enough cut through everything from the meat and skin to the joints and cartilage. This can be done using the same basic technique for cutting up a chicken with a knife, only substituting shears.

Substitute a knife with shears: How To Cut Up a Chicken

Are you a fan of kitchen shears when prepping chicken? How do you use them?