Citrus Coconut Chicken

Citrus Coconut Chicken is another variation on a recipe theme you’ll find here. It goes by a couple of names: spatchcock and butterfly. The basic idea is to cut out the spine of poultry and lay the bird flat before applying a dry rub. This recipe calls for an orange zest and coconut rub that adds a lilt of flavor.

Why so many recipes with this theme? Ever since I started cooking poultry this way, it’s the only way my family wants it. I even received a unanimous request for spatchcocked turkey for Thanksgiving in response to last year’s deliciousness. I created a simple rub accented with Herbs de Provence, a la my Poulet Papillon Provençale recipe, and it was delightful! So, too, is Citrus Coconut Chicken, albeit with a quite different flavor profile.

About Citrus Coconut Chicken

The rub for Citrus Coconut Chicken is a combination of orange zest and crushed coconut, with a few additional flavors added in. The first time I made this I used fresh orange zest, and I highly recommend it. However, the dried version works well and saves time. The flavor is subtle. If you want to add more flavor, simply increase the amount of rub you use.

This is a great “night before” meal. You will need about 15 minutes total for prep, 8 hours for overnight and 1 to 2 hours to cook and let it sit before serving, depending upon size. The subtle flavor accommodates a number of sides, from Indian fare such as dal to American fare like mashed potatoes.

Happy New Year!

I hope 2021 offered some wonderful happenings and that your 2022 will be amazing. I spent the second half of 2021working on poetry then shifted focus to photography. I am ever grateful to the people and publications that decided to publish my work! In the process I neglected Food Passages. This year, I aim for a better balance. I hope in the posts to come you’ll find something delicious to enjoy and share with the people you care about. I appreciate you, dear reader! Here’s to a beautiful and tasty 2022!


Citrus Coconut Chicken

This zesty spatchcocked chicken recipe requires little preparation time. And thanks to the cutting method it takes less time to cook, too.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Keyword chicken, coconut
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Rest 8 hours
Total Time 10 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 315kcal


  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp coconut crushed
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper ground
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 4-6 lb chicken


  • Blend dry ingredients to create a rub.
  • Rinse, spatchcock/butterfly chicken and pat dry.
  • Place on broiler pan, then sprinkle and cover surface with dry rub.
  • Leave in refrigerator overnight, uncovered.
  • Bake at 450° F for 15 minutes to 20 minutes.
  • Reduce heat and bake at 375 F until done, about 30 to 35 more minutes for a 5 lb bird. (165° F for thighs, 145° F for breast)
  • Let sit 5 to 15 minutes before serving.


Serving Suggestions
Serve with basmati rice and a salad or fresh vegetable, such as broccoli or zucchini. 
If you’ve never spatchcocked (butterflied) a chicken before, check out Spatchcocked Turkey.
You may use this rub with cuts of chicken, such as thigh and leg quarters or breasts, but best results come from bone-in, skin-on pieces. 
Recipe Links
Get more spatchcocked poultry recipes. Try the salad as a complementary side for this dish. 


Serving: 1person | Sodium: 296mg | Calcium: 18mg | Vitamin C: 3mg | Vitamin A: 206IU | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 284mg | Cholesterol: 109mg | Calories: 315kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Fat: 22g | Protein: 27g | Carbohydrates: 1g | Iron: 1mg