Spatchcock Turkey is a great way to cook your Thanksgiving bird! This spatchcock turkey recipe is simple, delicious, tender and cuts down on cooking time (and results in a more evenly-cooked turkey) – win-win!
Best Spatchcock Turkey Recipe
Get ready for a delicious, easy way to cook your turkey this year! You may have heard of spatchock (aka butterflied) chicken, but you have tried it with a turkey? We have and it is absolutely amazing! Serve with Wild Rice Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole and Cranberry Sauce (don’t forget the Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie)!
Want to try it on the smoker for Thanksgiving – try our Smoked Spatchcock Turkey!
What You Will Need
- 12-14 lb whole turkey: this is my recommended size for spatchcock turkey. You can use a bigger turkey, but just make sure you roasting pan will be big enough to hold it.
- butter: so much butter! This helps the skin become golden brown and oh-so-good! You can use ghee in place of butter if you want!
- turkey seasoning: we have our own Homemade Turkey Seasoning we will be using for this recipe – classic and delicious. It is a mix of kosher salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sage and more!
- onion + broth + white wine + aromatics: adding these to the bottom of the roasting pan not only helps keep the turkey moist and juicy, but also adds to the overall flavor. The white wine really adds a noticeable flavor boost to the gravy as well!
- roasting pan: you will need a deep roasting pan that is wide enough to hold your turkey.
- kitchen shears: make sure you have a pair of sharp kitchen shears to use while you are spatchcocking your turkey.
- internal meat thermometer: the only true way to know if your turkey is close to being done or fully cooked is to use a dependable internal meat thermometer, make sure you have one on hand!
Why Should I Spatchcock My Turkey
- Evenly cooked turkey: because the turkey is laying flat, the entire turkey cooks more evenly compared to a traditional turkey where the outside will cook faster than the inside!
- Less total cook time: again since that turkey is laying flat the total cook time will end up being shorter!
How to Spatchcock a Turkey 101
We have step-by-step photos below as well as an entire post about spatchcocking a turkey HERE! But here are the highlights:
- Flip turkey breast side down.
- Use poultry shears to cut along both sides of the backbone (which will be running down the middle of the turkey at this point) and remove.
- Cut into the top of the breastbone and start to break apart the cartilage there.
- Flip over.
- Firmly press down towards the top of the breastbone with the palm of your hand until you hear a crack.
- That’s it!
Flavor Options to Mix it Up
The recipe card below shares a butter + classic turkey seasoning mix, but there are a ton of other ways you can season your turkey:
- Citrus Butter: add some cut up oranges and lemons to the bottom of the roasting pan as well as a splash of orange juice! Use this to baste the turkey for a citrus-butter flavor!
- Cajun: grab a pre-made cajun seasoning from the store and use that instead of the turkey seasoning we discuss below!
- Garlic Butter: mix some minced garlic in with your softened butter to add even more, garlicky flavor.
Holiday Turkey FAQs
- How big of a turkey do I need: I usually recommend planning for about 1 pound per person of turkey – people don’t normally eat a whole pound, but this way you will have some leftovers to make Turkey Wild Rice Soup and Turkey Wraps!
- Fresh vs. Frozen: I highly recommend buying a fresh turkey if at all possible!! But, I know that can be a challenge sometimes, so frozen works too! Just make sure it is fully thawed.
- Best way to thaw a turkey: Here is our Guide to Thawing a Turkey.
- Brining a turkey: Here is our Guide to Brining a Turkey.
- Turkey gravy: Here is our recipe for Homemade Turkey Gravy.
- Turkey leftovers: Love turkey leftovers so we can make Turkey Noodle Soup and Homemade Turkey Broth.
How Long to Cook a Spatchcock Turkey
If you are cooking your spatchcock turkey at around 350 degrees F. or so you will want to cook it for approximately 6 minutes per pound. Ensure your turkey is fully thawed before cooking or your cook time will be impacted.
Spatchcock Turkey Side Dishes
- Cornbread Muffins
- Apple Yam Bake
- Ultimate Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
- Sausage Stuffing
- Giblet Stuffing
- Stuffed Onions
- Goat Cheese Potatoes Au Gratin
How to Make Spatchcock Turkey
Remove the backbone using a pair of sharp kitchen shears.
Use a knife to cut into the cartilage at the top of the breastbone.
Flip the turkey over and press down firmly with the palm of your hand; you should hear a crack – that is the breastbone breaking which will allow your turkey to lie flat.
That’s it! You have officially spatchcocked a turkey!
Pat dry with a clean paper towel and then rub ALL over with a softened butter and season with our turkey seasoning.
Place broth, white wine, onions and some fresh herbs in a roasting pan; place the turkey on top, breast-side up.
We start the temp off high (at 450 degrees F.) to crisp up that skin up! Then drop down the temp to 350 degrees F and let it roast until it hits 165 degrees F. at it’s thickest part – all the while basting every 20-30 minutes with either melted butter and/or the juices at the bottom of the pan.
Let rest while you use the drippings and juices to make Homemade Turkey Gravy!
How to Carve a Spatchcock Turkey
Carving a spatchcock turkey is actually pretty similar to carving a regular turkey:
- Cut away the turkey legs + thigh by breaking apart (use your knife if you need to) at the joint. Then separate the thigh and leg.
- Remove the wings.
- Starting at the breastbone, cut the turkey breast away from the bone.
- Place everything on a platter – I like to garnish with fresh sage, thyme and cranberries.
Make Ahead Tips
You can easily prep your Turkey Seasoning ahead of time and you can also spatchcock your turkey the day before! Make room in your fridge and place your spatchcocked turkey inside leaving it uncovered – the skin will dry out a bit overnight and ends up resulting in a crispier, more delicious turkey skin!
Leftover Turkey Recipes
Made this recipe and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute and leave a star rating and review – it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!
Spatchcock Turkey – an easy, dependable spatchcock turkey recipe that is juicy and delicious! Perfect for your next Holiday meal!
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Combine your ingredients for the Turkey Seasoning, set aside. Ensure butter is softened.
- Spatchcock Your Turkey: Flip turkey so it is breast-side down. Taking your kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone (which will be running down the middle of the turkey at this point) and remove. Cut into the top of the breastbone and start to break apart the cartilage there. Flip over. Firmly press down towards the top of the breastbone with the palm of your hand until you hear a crack. That’s it! Check out our tutorial on How To Spatchcock a Turkey HERE for even more details!
- Take 1/4 cup softened butter and rub into every nook and cranny (including under the skin where possible). Use additional softened butter, as-needed. Sprinkle Turkey Seasoning all over.
- Add onion, chicken broth, white wine (if using), rosemary and thyme to bottom of large roasting pan. Place turkey on top ensuring the breast-side is up.
- Place in oven, uncovered and middle rack, for 30 minutes.
- Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F. and continue cooking an additional 60 minutes or until the internal temperature read 165 degrees F. at it’s thickest part. Baste every 20 minutes or so with another 1/4 cup melted butter. Once you are done using up the butter simply use the liquid at the bottom of the pan to baste.
- Remove from oven and baste one more time. Cover pan with foil and let rest 10-15 minutes.
- Move the turkey onto a platter or large plate and cover with foil again to continue its resting for another 10-15 minutes. Use juices at the bottom of the pan to make Homemade Turkey Gravy
- Turkey: ensure you are using a fully thawed turkey! A partially frozen turkey will definitely impact your cooking time and you bird will cook unevenly. Here is our Guide to Thawing a Turkey.
- Butter: you can use ghee instead of butter if you want.
- White Wine: feel free to just use more chicken broth if you don’t want to use wine. As for what kind of white wine, I used a chardonnay.
- Prep Ahead: you can easily prep your Turkey Seasoning ahead of time and you can also spatchcock your turkey the day before! Make room in your fridge and place your spatchcocked turkey inside leaving it uncovered – the skin will dry out a bit overnight and ends up resulting in a crispier, more delicious turkey skin!
- Cook Time per pound: If you are using a bigger or smaller bird than mine just know it will take approximately 6 minutes per pound to cook a fully thawed turkey using the spatchcock method. Of course, use your internal meat thermometer to track the temperature.
Keywords: spatchcock turkey