Cutting Chicken Chinese-Style

Chinese-style cutting is an older definition for cutting a whole chicken into smaller, serving-size pieces of bone-in chicken. You can use this style of cutting for any Asian dish or other recipe that calls for chicken cut into serving-size pieces.

These pieces should be smaller than chicken pieces generally are cut. A cleaver is the best utensil for the job, although poultry shears or a sharp knife also may be used.

  1. Place the chicken, breast-side up, on a heavy cutting board. Cut the chicken in half lengthwise, cutting slightly to one side of the breastbone and backbone.

    Cut completely through the chicken to make two pieces.
    Cut completely through the chicken to make two pieces.

  2. Remove and discard the backbone entirely.

    Remove the backbone quickly with kitchen shears.
    Remove the backbone quickly with kitchen shears.

  3. Pull each leg up slightly from the breast section; cut through the ball and socket joint to remove each leg. Cut through the knee joint of each leg to separate it into a drumstick and a thigh.

    Cut wing off cleanly at the breast when cutting a chicken Chinese-style.
    Cut wing off cleanly at the breast.

  4. Pull each wing away from the breast section; cut through the joint next to the breast.

    Pull wing away from breast to make an even cut through the chicken's joint. Sharp kitchen shears also cut joints.
    Pull wing away from the breast to make an even cut through the joint of the chicken. Sharp kitchen shears also can cut through the joints
    of the chicken easily.

  5. Cut each drumstick, thigh, and breast piece crosswise into three pieces, cutting completely through the bones.

  6. Cut each wing into two pieces. This technique will result in 22 small, serving size pieces.

    This technique results in 22 small, serving-size pieces.
    This technique results in 22 small, serving-size pieces.

Whether you're cooking with smaller, serving-size chicken pieces or the standard size, skinning the pieces before cooking can reduce fat. There's a simple trick for easily skinning uncooked chicken pieces. We'll show it to you in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Chicken Recipes: Chicken is a very versatile food that can take on a variety of different flavors and be used in all kinds of dishes. Find some suggestions on our Chicken Recipes page. 
  • Chicken Safety: Since raw chicken can harbor harmful bacteria, it's important to know how to properly handle chicken in the kitchen. Learn chicken safety tips in this article. 
  • Preparing Chicken: Learn some basic chicken preparation techniques in this article, including how to stuff a chicken, how to marinate chicken, and more.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.