How to Truss a Chicken

Tying the bird allows it to roast evenly

  • 01 of 10

    Trussing Helps a Chicken Cook Evenly

    How to truss a chicken for roasting
    Michael Marquand / Getty Images

    Trussing a chicken is an important step in preparing a roasted chicken. Trussing means to tie the chicken snugly with kitchen twine so that the wings and legs stay close to the body. This makes the chicken more compact which helps it cook evenly. Trussing a chicken also helps prevent the tips of the wings and drumsticks from burning, and makes the cooked chicken look more attractive when you serve it. 

    It is recommended that you stuff the chicken with aromatics, like a halved onion, some citrus such as a halved lemon or orange, and some fresh herbs. You will need to do this before you start to truss the chicken because you won't be able to get anything inside after the legs are tied back.

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  • 02 of 10

    Measure the Kitchen (Cooking) Twine

    Start with three feet of cooking twine
    Start with three feet of cooking twine. Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Kitchen twine is plain, unbleached cotton twine that's strong enough to hold a chicken together but won't burn, melt, or otherwise ruin your roast. For an average sized chicken, cut yourself about three feet of twine. You might not need that much, but it's better to start off with a little too much than not enough. You can always trim the excess when you're done.

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  • 03 of 10

    Position the Chicken

    How to Truss a Chicken - Tutorial with Photos- Step 2: Position the Chicken
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    To begin, position the chicken breast-side-up with the legs facing you. Place the center of the twine directly beneath the tailbone of the chicken with the ends extending to either side.

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  • 04 of 10

    Criss-Cross the Twine Around the Legs

    How to Truss a Chicken - Tutorial with Photos- Step 3: Criss-Cross the Twine Around the Legs
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    The next step is to secure the legs. Lift the twine and wrap each piece around the bottom of the closest leg, crossing the two pieces of twine in the middle.

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  • 05 of 10

    Pull the Twine Tight

    How to Truss a Chicken - Tutorial with Photos- Step 4: Pull the Twine Tight
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Holding the two sides of the twine, pull tightly on both ends so that the legs come together. 

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  • 06 of 10

    Wrap Around to the Front

    How to Truss a Chicken - Tutorial with Photos- Step 5: Flip the Chicken Over
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    This is the only really tricky part of trussing a chicken. Pull the ends of the twine away from you, wrapping them over the wings and around the front of the chicken; criss-cross the strings. Then, flip the chicken upside down so that the neck is now facing you, keeping the twine pulled tight.

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  • 07 of 10

    Secure the Twine and Tie a Knot

    How to Truss a Chicken - Step 6: Secure the Twine and Tie a Knot
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Now you can just tie a knot so that the twine stays secured underneath the neckbone.

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  • 08 of 10

    Trim Excess Twine

    How to Truss a Chicken - Tutorial with Photos- Step 7: The Final Trussed Chicken
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Trim any excess twine and flip the chicken onto its back again.

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  • 09 of 10

    Ready to Roast

    How to Truss a Chicken - Tutorial with Photos- Step 8: Ready to Roast
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Now the trussed chicken is ready to roast. 

    If you put a few slices of bread at the bottom of the roasting pan, they will soak up the drippings as the chicken roasts, while also turning nice and brown and toasty—delicious!

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  • 10 of 10

    Truss a Turkey?

    The compact shape you've created is perfect for roasting a chicken because chicken roasts at a high temperature and it's relatively quick. Turkey, on the other hand, is cooked more slowly, at a lower temperature, which is appropriate since a turkey is more massive than a chicken. But trussing a turkey will make it more difficult for the heat of the oven to penetrate the dark meat of the thighs, extending cooking time and causing the breasts to overcook. Long story short, don't bother trussing a turkey.