Learn how to spatchcock a turkey and then roast it to perfection. This spatchcock turkey recipe leaves you with the juiciest herbed turkey meat and super crispy skin.

Spatchcock turkey on a plate.

The Best Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

It’s time to start planning for Thanksgiving, and why not add this spatchcock turkey to your menu! It’s a quicker and easier way to roast a whole bird, which will free up time and oven space for everything else you’re making.

What is a spatchcock turkey?

A spatchcock turkey is a method of cooking a whole turkey where you remove the spine so that you can butterfly the turkey and cook it faster. Spatchcock turkey is sometimes called butterflied turkey; they’re one in the same.

When it comes too preparing a whole bird we are huge fans of spatchcock turkey! 

why spatchcock a turkey?

Spatchcock turkey is the best way to end up with crispy turkey AND juicy meat.

You get an even roast when you spatchcock a turkey because everything is laid flat.

Because the turkey is flat on a baking sheet or cooling rack, the cook time is faster.

Since the turkey is already flat, it is easier to carve after it is roasted.

Sliced turkey and mashed potatoes on a plate.

Ingredients for Spatchcock Turkey

The ingredients for this spatchcock turkey recipe are broken down into 3 components — the dry brine, the turkey itself and the basting liquid. You need:

Dry brine

  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper 
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried rosemary 

Turkey

  • Untreated turkey, completely thawed
  • White onion
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh oregano
  • Turkey seasoning 
  • Olive oil 

Basting liquid

flavorful turkey seasoning in a bowl

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Turkey Seasoning

Ditch the store-bought turkey seasoning and use the most Flavorful Turkey Seasoning made with 9 ingredients you can actually pronounce. This seasoning is made up of garlic powder, brown sugar, kosher salt, and other simple seasonings.

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Raw turkey on a baking sheet.

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

Prep turkey

Remove the turkey from its packaging and remove any innards from the inside of the turkey.

Dry brine Turkey

Add the kosher salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary to a small bowl and mix. Separate the skin from the turkey meat and rub the salt mixture under the skin of the turkey. Be sure to rub the breasts, legs, and wings.

Refrigerate overnight

Place the turkey in a large plastic bag or air tight container and refrigerate overnight. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and discard any excess liquid. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. 

Spatchcock turkey

Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place a wire rack on a large baking sheet. 

To spatchcock the turkey, set the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board and use very sharp kitchen shears to begin cutting down one side of the spine through the ribs and then repeat on the other side of the spine. Discard the spine. 

Flip the turkey over onto the breasts and use your hands to press on the middle of the bird pressing down firmly to flatten the turkey. 

Place the flattened turkey onto the wire rack and stuff the onion and garlic under the skin of the turkey. Tuck the fresh herbs under the wings and season the turkey skin with the turkey seasoning, and massage the seasoning into the skin. 

Roast turkey

Drizzle the olive oil over the turkey and massage the oil into the turkey with your hands. Place the turkey into the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 400ºF. 

Prepare Basting Liquid

While the turkey is cooking, place all the ingredients for the basting liquid into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium/high heat.

Baste, Roast, Repeat

Once the turkey has cooked for 20 minutes, baste the turkey with the basting liquid and bake for an additional 60-70 minutes, basting every 20 minutes until the internal temperature of the turkey at the thickest part reaches 165ºF. 

If the turkey skin begins to brown more than desired, place tin foil over the turkey for the last 20 minutes of the bake time. 

Carve & Enjoy!

Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

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Spatchcocking a raw turkey with a scissors.

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Spatchcocked turkey on a baking sheet with fresh herbs.

Internal Temperature of a Whole Turkey

The internal temperature of turkey should be 165ºF. Some people follow the rule that the chicken thigh temperature should be 175ºF and the breast meat should come out to 160ºF or 165ºF. Generally, we make sure the whole bird is about 165ºF.

Our rule of thumb is to stick the probe of your meat thermometer in the thickest part of the bird to make sure all the meat reaches a safe temperature.

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Dry brine turkey on rack.

FAQs

How do you spatchcock a turkey?

To spatchcock a turkey, set the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board and use very sharp kitchen shears to begin cutting down one side of the spine through the ribs and then repeat on the other side of the spine, and discard the spine. Flip the turkey over onto the breasts and use your hands to press on the middle of the bird pressing down firmly to flatten the turkey. 

Is it worth spatchcocking a turkey?

Yes! While it does require a little extra work to remove the spine, a spatchcock turkey cooks more quickly and because all of the skin is evenly exposed, it will give you crispy skin with juicy meat.

Does spatchcock turkey taste different?

It tastes even better than a traditional roast turkey! The meat is more moist and the skin is more evenly crispy.

Top Turkey Tips

Tip 1: Thaw your bird. There is nothing worse than getting your turkey out the day of and realizing that it’s still frozen. 

Tip 2: Always use a brine; dry or wet. You get a juicy bird every time. 

Tip 3: Use a roasting pan that catches drippings for both basting and for gravy. 

Spatchcock Turkey Leftover Ideas

If you have a smaller group of people for this turkey you will definitely have leftovers! Below are some delicious leftover ideas.

Storage

Store your turkey leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Can I freeze spatchcock turkey?

Yes! You can freeze leftover turkey for soups, salads, or any other recipes. Let the turkey cool completely and then place it in a freezer-safe bag and freeze it for up to 3 months.

Sliced turkey on a plate.

Spatchcock Turkey

Learn how to spatchcock a turkey and then roast it to perfection. This spatchcock turkey recipe is super juicy with a crispy skin.

Prep:13 hours

Cook:2 hours

Total:15 hours

Fat 30

Carbs 3

Protein 99

Ingredients

Turkey

  • 12-14 lb. untreated turkey completely thawed (ours was around 13 lbs.)
  • ½ white onion diced
  • 10 cloves of garlic minced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 2-3 teaspoons turkey seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Basting liquid

  • 1.5 cups white wine we used Sauvignon Blanc
  • ½ cup chicken or turkey broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon turkey seasoning

Instructions 

  • Prep turkey: Remove the turkey from its packaging and remove any innards from the inside of the turkey. Set aside.

  • Dry brine: Add the kosher salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary to a small bowl and mix until combined.

  • Separate the skin from the turkey meat and rub the salt mixture under the skin of the turkey. Be sure to rub the breasts, legs, and wings. Place the turkey in a large plastic bag or air tight container and refrigerate overnight.

  • Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and discard any excess liquid. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and set aside.

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place a wire rack on a large baking sheet.

  • Spatchcock turkey: To spatchcock the turkey, set the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board and use very sharp kitchen shears to begin cutting down one side of the spine through the ribs and then repeat on the other side of the spine. Discard the spine.

  • Flip the turkey over onto the breasts and use your hands to press on the middle of the bird pressing down firmly to flatten the turkey.

  • Place the flattened turkey onto the wire rack and stuff the onion and garlic under the skin of the turkey. Tuck the fresh herbs under the wings and season the turkey skin with the turkey seasoning. Massage the seasoning into the skin.

  • Roast turkey: Drizzle the olive oil over the turkey and massage the oil into the turkey with your hands. Place the turkey into the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 400ºF.

  • While the turkey is cooking, place all the ingredients for the basting liquid into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Turn heat to low.

  • Once the turkey has cooked for 20 minutes, baste the turkey with the basting liquid and bake for an additional 60-70 minutes, basting every 20 minutes until the internal temperature of the turkey at the thickest part reaches 165ºF.

  • If the turkey skin begins to brown more than desired, place tin foil over the turkey for the last 20 minutes of the bake time.

  • Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before caving.

Tips & Notes

  • The cook time for this turkey will vary depending on what size turkey you use and your oven. Be sure to monitor the internal temperature of the turkey throughout the cook time. We used a 13.3-lb. young turkey.
  • We used this homemade turkey seasoning, but you can use any poultry seasoning you have in the cupboard.

Nutrition facts

Calories: 711kcal Carbohydrates: 3g Protein: 99g Fat: 30g Fiber: 0.4g Sugar: 1g

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