How to French Cut a whole chicken into a crown of breast (step-by-step with photos)

whole chicken

This is the first time I’ve ever cut up a whole chicken. I usually just specify the part(s) that I want from the butcher and he does the rest of the work. However, this time I needed a very specific cut – a beautiful French Cut crown of breast with the skin intact.

free range chicken

I actually saw this in a MasterClass episode and wanted to replicate the dish. It’s not a live chicken of course but it has everything still intact – head, innards etc – it hasn’t even been disemboweled. I bought this for RM 24.60 – it’s a free range chicken that goes for RM 18 / kg.

removing organs

The first step is to cut off the head, ass (Bishop’s nose) and feet so you have more room to work with.

giblets

Then, you’ll have to take the organs out of the body cavity of the chicken – just put your hand down the cloaca (chicken don’t have an anal cavity) and pull out everything you can feel. It’s connected so it’s not that hard – everything from the heart to the liver can be just extracted by just pushing your entire fist in and pulling hard to get the giblets.

pulling giblets

Think of it as the opposite of stuffing a turkey. smirk

cutting whole chicken

I put everything I’ve cut up or removed on a dinner plate for future use.

removing wishbone

The next thing is to remove the wishbone from the chicken. It’s located somewhere in the neck – there’s a small bone that can be cut out and discarded so the crown of breast will be perfect.

cutting legs

I wanted that particular cut to be heavy on the skin so that it’ll be moist so I made the incisions on the skin very close to where the drumstick ends.

crown breast skin

The next step is to twist the entire chicken leg to the opposite direction (to where the chicken would naturally stand if it’s alive) and cut out the leg at the thigh from the oyster that surround the bone.

removing legs

This will allow the skin from the thigh part to cover the entire breast.

french cut chicken

Next, I sliced off the wings and did a French style cut that exposes the bone of the mini drumstick on the wing. You don’t have to do this but it looks pretty. I didn’t do a very good job at it though since it was my first time – I cut it too high up on the joint.

removing carcass

The last bit that needs to be done is to chop off the rest of the carcass. Save this for stock!

breast crown

You’ll have a nice crown of breast with quite a lot of skin on – just the cut I wanted to have for an awesome dish I made over the weekend!

cut hand

I learned a lot about dressing chickens while doing this (and cut my hands several times too) and I’ll just buy whole undressed chickens from now on…

french cut

…so I can get the exact cut that I want! :)

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25 thoughts on “How to French Cut a whole chicken into a crown of breast (step-by-step with photos)

  1. Nice, i don’t know how to cut a whole chicken either as normally i prefer chicken breast. I was thinking “how to french kiss a whole chicken….” LOL!

    • I’m not actually a big fan of chicken breast. I prefer darker meat like thighs and drum! :)

      However, it’s great for this recipe though.

  2. Dude, that’s awesome, I’ll have to try a cut like this……btw if anyone wanna google image search on this subject matter, include “chicken” in the search word…French Cut crown of breast will return some rather interesting yet unrelated results…..

    • Haha! Thanks mate! :)

      I’m doing a lot of cooking now – experimental stuff, making a venison tartare right about now.

      That knife cut looks superficial but it wasn’t, it gave me a nasty wound for a week and I had to go to the doctor.

      Must be those dyes they use to pass of white chicken as kampung chicken.

    • Oh no! The skin is the best part! ;)

      …but come to think of it, might be a wise move nowadays with the aniline and other dyes they use to pass off yellower chicken as free range chicken.

      I cut my hand using this knife and it took more than 1 week to heal and I had to go to the doctor!

    • Cheers mate! :)

      Careful with the knife, the cut I got needed a doctor and heavy antibiotics! It was quite intense – I blame the dyes that they use to color chicken.

      It was a superficial cut but it did me in something awful.

  3. HB, now you can make 3 cups chicken with it. It popular in Taipei but my late father told me in whorehouse they serve to customers alot. My family love it also as nice dish still.

  4. Dear, I think the tedious part is getting the wish bone out…

    Hmmm..I am wondering what are you going to do with other parts of the chicken

    • Yeah, getting the wishbone out is really hard! :)

      I don’t know how the MasterClass guy did it with such ease – he must have dressed a lot of chickens in his time as a chef in UAE! Haha!

      We cooked all the parts of the chicken so it’s a good use of everything!

      (except the head, haven’t figured out what to do with it yet dear)

    • Poached breast with beetroot and nectarine puree! :)

      It’s a step up from what I usually cook, more technical and a lot of fun!

      That cut caused me a lot of problems – I had to go to the doctor and he thought it was tetanus (it wasn’t) but I had to go for a course of heavy antibiotics due to that. Must be the dye in the “free range chicken”.

    • Thanks Eiling! :)

      Yeah, been watching and reading and learning a lot of new techniques!

      I’m doing a lot of technical stuff in a kitchen now – far cry from the simple cooking I did last time!

  5. i would rather just buy the part that I want to eat than to have the trouble to slice/chop them into pieces.. I’m scareeee !!!

    be very careful if you happened to feel like wanna prove that your skill has improved.. hahahaha..

    • Haha! I just really enjoy cooking! :)

      I actually saw this on MasterClass and wanted to do it to improve my skills. I’m very much into cooking nowadays, not to prove anything, just coz I enjoy it!

      Thanks Rose!

  6. If you like skin, then why cut off the bit that grows the tail feathers???
    I like that bit best!!!
    Tried to get the one off an ostrich, at a farm in mallorca, but they did not butcher on farm!!
    Taking off crown fow wife, and will make ” jewish penicillin” with rest. Got a chesty cold!

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