In The Kitchen Cooking Tips & Techniques

How to Truss a Chicken

Trussing a chicken—or turkey, or any poultry—is basically a fancy way of tying up your bird prior to roasting. It's not hard to do, and it ensures that all parts of the chicken cook evenly.

How to Truss a Chicken
Alison Conklin

Why Truss a Chicken?

A properly trussed chicken keeps the stray bits—wings and legs—tucked in. It makes for a lovely presentation and, more to the point, it ensures even cooking.

If you leave the chicken untrussed, it invites the possibility that too much hot air can get into the cavity of the bird and dry out the breast before the legs and thighs get cooked. That’s not a situation anyone wants, is it?

The goal is to keep the wings close to the body and the legs tied together.

The Anatomy of a Chicken

As you read through these easy instructions, a little chicken anatomy is helpful here. Imagine the chicken breast is a heart. The bottom of the heart—the tail—should be facing you. The neck would be at the top of the heart.

This will help orient you beyond the obvious parts you probably already know about—the legs, thighs, the breast.

How to Truss a Chicken

These instructions will work for any poultry, really. If you’re making something like turkey, however, cut the twine a foot or so longer than we’ve specified here.

Here’s how you do it.

Truss a chicken with string
Alison Conklin

1. Place the chicken on a cutting board with the legs facing you and the breast side up.

Truss a chicken cut the twine
Alison Conklin

2. Cut a piece of butchers twine about 3 feet in length.

Why Truss a Chicken? open the wings
Alison Conklin
Best way to truss a chicken tuck the wings in
Alison Conklin

3. For the wings, either tuck them in as closely to the body as possible, or tuck the tips inward and behind the bird’s back. Either way, the goal is have the wings snug against the chicken and the wing tips tucked away so they don’t burn during cooking.

Trussing a chicken for roasting slide the twine underneath
Alison Conklin
Truss a chicken with string pull the twine along the sides
Alison Conklin

4. Slide the twine under the chicken about 1/4 of the way down, so that the twine comes up along the sides about an inch from the wing joint attachment.

Truss a chicken cross the twine and pull it toward you
Alison Conklin

5. Hold the pieces taut and cross them as though you were tying shoes. Pull the crossed twine toward you so that the X is at the bottom tip of the breast, facing you.

How do I truss a chicken? pull the twine under the legs
Alison Conklin
Trussing a chicken for roasting tie a knot
Alison Conklin
Truss a chicken with string tie a bow around the legs
Alison Conklin
Truss a chicken fully trussed chicken
Alison Conklin

5. Pull the twine down and underneath the legs and then pull it back up and tie the twine in a bow.

Congratulations! You’ve trussed a chicken! Bake your trussed chicken as usual, according to your recipe.

Try Your Trussing Skills With These Recipes!