Spatchcock Turkey Recipe: How to Cook a Spatchcocked Turkey

Spatchcock Turkey Recipe

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning your holiday feast. If you’re looking for a new and exciting way to cook your turkey, you’ve come to the right place. In this section, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to cook a spatchcocked turkey. By following our easy recipe, you’ll achieve a flavorful and juicy bird that’s sure to impress your guests.

Key Takeaways:

  • Spatchcocking a turkey reduces cooking time and ensures even cooking throughout the bird.
  • The turkey breast stays moist and juicy, making it a perfect choice for those who prefer a roasted turkey with crispy skin.
  • Our recipe includes dry brining the turkey with fresh thymeolive oil, and kosher salt to enhance its flavor.
  • Seasoning the turkey with a mixture of kosher saltolive oil, and herbs will give it an extra kick of flavor.
  • Monitor the skin and breast temperature to ensure juicy results, and baste the turkey occasionally during cooking.

What is Spatchcocking?

Before we get into the details of our spatchcock turkey recipe, let’s go over what spatchcocking actually means. Spatchcocking is a cooking technique that involves removing the backbone of a bird (such as a turkey) so that it can lay flat on the cooking surface. This method helps the bird to cook more evenly and reduces the overall cooking time.

Spatchcocking can be used for different types of birds, but it’s particularly useful for larger ones like turkeys. When you spatchcock a turkey, it not only cooks more evenly, but it also makes it easier to carve and results in a beautifully presented bird.

To spatchcock a turkey, you’ll need a good pair of kitchen shears and a little bit of patience. It may seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you ever cooked a turkey any other way!

Why Spatchcock a Turkey?

Roasting a whole turkey can be a challenge for even the most experienced home cooks. Often, you end up with overcooked breast meat and undercooked dark meat, leaving your guests with a less-than-ideal Thanksgiving dinner experience. However, spatchcocking a turkey can help solve these issues and result in a perfectly cooked bird.

By removing the backbone and flattening the turkey, the cooking time is reduced, and the meat cooks more evenly. This ensures that the turkey breast stays juicy and tender, while the dark meat is fully cooked and flavorful. Additionally, the exposed skin of the bird crisps up beautifully, while the juices are distributed throughout the meat.

Spatchcocking a turkey is a great technique for those who prefer a roasted turkey with crispy skin and juicy meat. So, if you’re looking to elevate your Thanksgiving cooking game, give spatchcocking a try!

Preparing the Turkey

Before we begin spatchcocking our turkey, we need to properly prepare it. One great way to add flavor to your spatchcocked turkey is by dry brining it. Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients:Fresh thymeOlive oilKosher salt
Amount:1/4 cup1/4 cup1/4 cup

First, remove the giblets and neck from the turkey. Place it on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to catch any drips. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.

In a small bowl, mix together the fresh thyme, olive oil, and kosher salt. Rub the mixture all over the turkey, making sure to get it under the skin as well. Cover the turkey in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

The dry brine will not only add flavor but also help the turkey retain moisture during the cooking process. When you’re ready to cook, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about an hour before you begin spatchcocking.

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

Spatchcocking a turkey might seem daunting at first, but it’s actually a simple process that should take around 10-15 minutes. Once the turkey is spatchcocked, it will cook more evenly and in less time than a traditional roast turkey.

Step 1: Start with a Clean Work Surface

Clear a large workspace and place a cutting board or baking sheet on top. You’ll need a sharp pair of kitchen shears or poultry scissors to remove the backbone.

Step 2: Remove the Backbone

Place the turkey breast-side down on the cutting board. Use the shears to cut along both sides of the backbone, starting from the tail end up to the neck. Remove the backbone and set it aside for making stock or discard it.

Step 3: Flatten the Turkey

Flip the turkey over so it’s breast-side up. Press down firmly on the breastbone until you hear a cracking sound. This will flatten the bird and make it easier to cook.

Step 4: Prepare for Cooking

Now that the turkey is spatchcocked, it’s time to season it with salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices of your choosing. Brush the bird with olive oil and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Step 5: Cook the Spatchcocked Turkey

Preheat your oven to 425°F (218°C). Place the spatchcocked turkey on a wire rack over a baking sheet or roasting pan. Roast for 30-45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the breast and thigh. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving and serving.

There you have it! With just a few simple steps, you can have a perfectly cooked spatchcocked turkey in no time. Start preparing your turkey at least 15 minutes before cooking time.

Seasoning the Turkey

Once the turkey is spatchcocked, it’s time to season it. This step is crucial to enhance the meat’s flavor and ensure a mouth-watering result. For the perfect taste, we recommend using kosher salt, olive oil, and fresh herbs.

“With proper seasoning, you can transform an average dish into a masterpiece!”

First, generously coat both sides of the turkey with kosher salt. Don’t forget to focus on the breast meat, which tends to dry out faster than the rest of the bird. Then, drizzle the turkey with a good quality olive oil. This will keep the meat moist while cooking and help the skin to turn crispy and golden brown.

You can add fresh thyme or your favorite herbs to the seasoning mix to add more flavor to the dish. Rub the mixture evenly into the meat, making sure every part is covered.

Pro Tip: For a more intense flavor, let the turkey rest in the fridge for an hour or two before cooking. This will allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat and enhance the taste.

Cooking the Spatchcocked Turkey

Now that you have prepared and seasoned your spatchcock turkey, it’s time to cook it. Follow these steps for a perfectly cooked, juicy turkey:

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C) for at least 20 minutes before cooking the turkey.

Step 2: Place the Turkey on a Rack

Place the spatchcocked turkey on a rack, breast side up, in a roasting pan. The rack helps air circulate freely around the bird, allowing it to cook evenly.

Step 3: Cook the Turkey

Cook the turkey for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the thickest part of the breast reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Keep in mind that cooking time may vary depending on the size of the turkey. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the turkey is completely cooked.

Step 4: Rest the Turkey

Once the turkey is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes. Cover the turkey with foil to keep it warm and allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

And there you have it – a delicious spatchcocked turkey ready to serve your guests.

Tips for a Juicy Spatchcocked Turkey

So, you’ve decided to spatchcock your turkey! Congratulations, you’re on your way to a delicious and juicy bird. Here are some tips to ensure your spatchcocked turkey turns out flavorful and moist:

1. Don’t Skimp on the Skin

The skin of a spatchcocked turkey is the key to achieving a crispy, golden-brown exterior. Before cooking, make sure to dry the skin thoroughly with paper towels and season it generously with kosher salt and olive oil. This will ensure that the skin crisps up nicely and adds a delicious crunch to every bite.

2. Keep an Eye on the Breast

Because the turkey is flattened during spatchcocking, the breast is more exposed than it would be in a traditional roast turkey. This means it can dry out more easily if it’s overcooked. To prevent this, use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature of the breast during cooking. Once it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, it’s done.

3. Baste Regularly

To keep the turkey moist, it’s important to baste it regularly with its own juices or a flavorful broth. This will infuse the meat with moisture and flavor, ensuring a juicy and delicious bird.

4. Let it Rest

After your spatchcocked turkey is done cooking, let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the bird, ensuring every bite is tender and juicy.

5. Don’t Forget the Dark Meat

The dark meat of a spatchcocked turkey is often overlooked, but it’s just as delicious as the white meat. To ensure the thighs and legs are fully cooked, use a meat thermometer to check their internal temperature. They should reach a temperature of 175°F before being considered done.

Follow these tips, and your spatchcocked turkey is sure to be a hit at your Thanksgiving dinner!

Turkey Carving and Presentation

Now that your perfectly cooked spatchcocked turkey is ready, it’s time to impress your guests with a beautiful presentation. Follow these easy steps to carve your turkey:

  1. Place the turkey on a large cutting board, breast side up.
  2. Using a sharp carving knife, cut along the breastbone to separate the breast meat from the ribcage. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Slice the breast meat against the grain into thin pieces.
  4. Separate the legs and thighs from the body by cutting through the joint where they meet.
  5. Slice the meat off the legs and thighs.
  6. Arrange the sliced meat on a platter and garnish with fresh herbs and citrus slices.

For a beautiful Thanksgiving presentation, serve your spatchcocked turkey on a large platter surrounded by seasonal vegetables and fruits. Add some color and texture to the plate by including roasted carrots, Brussels sprouts, and cranberries. Don’t forget to light some candles and play some soft music to create a welcoming and cozy ambiance for your guests.

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.” – Cicero

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones and celebrate all we have to be thankful for. A delicious spatchcocked turkey is the perfect centerpiece for your holiday table, and with these simple tips, you can make it look as good as it tastes. Enjoy the view and make some unforgettable memories with your family and friends!

Delicious Side Dishes to Accompany Your Spatchcock Turkey

No Thanksgiving feast is complete without a variety of scrumptious side dishes to complement your spatchcock turkey. Whether you’re looking for classic recipes or something with a modern twist, we’ve got you covered with these mouthwatering ideas.

1. Mashed Potatoes

A beloved staple of any Thanksgiving table, mashed potatoes are a must-have side dish. Serve them with gravy for an extra flavor boost or try adding different herbs and spices for a unique twist. Here’s a simple recipe:


  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Boil potatoes until soft, then drain and mash.
  2. Heat milk and butter in a separate pot until butter is melted, then add to the mashed potatoes.
  3. Mix until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Cranberry Sauce

Nothing complements turkey better than cranberry sauce. This tangy and sweet side dish is easy to make and adds a festive pop of color to your table. Here’s a recipe that’s ready in just 15 minutes:


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)


  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add cranberries and cinnamon stick, if using.
  3. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before serving.

3. Green Bean Casserole

A classic side dish that’s both comforting and delicious, green bean casserole is a crowd-pleaser. Here’s an easy recipe that’s ready in 30 minutes:


  • 2 cans green beans, drained
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 can crispy fried onions


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix green beans, mushroom soup, milk, and black pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Transfer mixture to a casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes.
  4. Top with crispy fried onions and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

These delicious side dishes will make your spatchcock turkey dinner unforgettable. Bon appétit!


Now that you know how to spatchcock a turkey and cook it to perfection, you’re all set to impress your guests this Thanksgiving. Remember to dry brine your turkey for maximum flavor, season it well, and keep a close eye on it while cooking. With our tips and tricks, you’ll have a juicy and flavorful bird that your guests will love.

Don’t Forget the Sides!

Pair your spatchcocked turkey with some delicious side dishes to make your Thanksgiving feast complete. From classic stuffing to roasted root vegetables, we’ve got you covered. Check out our selection of mouthwatering side dish recipes to wow your guests.

A Beautiful Presentation

When it’s time to carve and present your turkey, take the opportunity to create a stunning display that will impress your guests. Arrange your sliced turkey on a platter with some fresh herbs and citrus fruits for a beautiful and festive centerpiece. Don’t forget to snap a few pictures to capture the moment!

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones and share a delicious meal, and with our spatchcock turkey recipe, you’re sure to make it a memorable one. Happy cooking!


What is spatchcocking?

Spatchcocking is a technique in which the backbone of the turkey is removed, allowing it to lay flat for even cooking.

Why spatchcock a turkey?

Spatchcocking a turkey reduces cooking time, ensures even cooking throughout the bird, and allows the turkey breast to stay moist and juicy.

How do I prepare the turkey before spatchcocking?

It’s important to dry brine the turkey with fresh thyme, olive oil, and kosher salt to enhance its flavor.

How do I spatchcock a turkey?

We will provide detailed instructions on how to remove the backbone, flatten the bird, and prepare it for cooking.

How do I season the spatchcocked turkey?

We will show you how to properly coat the turkey with a mixture of kosher salt, olive oil, and herbs to enhance its flavor.

How do I cook the spatchcocked turkey?

We will provide detailed instructions on cooking time and temperature to achieve a perfectly cooked bird.

What are some tips for a juicy spatchcocked turkey?

We will share some tips and tricks on basting techniques, monitoring the skin and breast temperature, and more.

How do I carve and present the spatchcocked turkey?

We will provide step-by-step instructions on how to carve the turkey and offer ideas for a beautiful Thanksgiving presentation.

What are some delicious side dishes to accompany the spatchcock turkey?

We have gathered mouthwatering side dish recipes that pair perfectly with spatchcocked turkey.

How do I make the spatchcock turkey recipe?

Follow our step-by-step guide and enjoy a juicy, flavorful bird that will be the star of your holiday table.

Spatchcock Turkey

Spatchcock Turkey

Unlock the secret to the crispiest skin and juiciest meat with this spatchcock turkey recipe that cooks faster and more evenly, ensuring every bite is a Thanksgiving delight.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thanksgiving
Keyword: Spatchcock Turkey
Servings: 1 turkey



  • 1 whole turkey about 12-14 pounds
  • 4 tbsp olive oil or melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dried thyme or 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary or 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried sage or 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 lemon zested and quartered
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced


  • Preparation: Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).
  • Spatchcock the Turkey: Place the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board. Starting from the tail end, use the kitchen shears to cut along one side of the turkey’s backbone. Repeat on the other side of the backbone. Remove the backbone and save it for stock or discard. Flip the turkey over and press down firmly on the breastbone to flatten the bird.
  • Seasoning: In a bowl, mix olive oil or melted butter, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, sage, lemon zest, and minced garlic to form a paste. Using a pastry brush or your hands, rub this mixture all over the turkey, ensuring you get it under the skin where possible.
  • Roasting: Place a wire rack inside your roasting pan or on a baking sheet. Lay the spatchcocked turkey on the rack, breast-side up. This allows heat to circulate around the turkey, cooking it evenly. Tuck the lemon quarters around or under the bird.
  • Cooking: Place the turkey in the preheated oven and roast for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (without touching bone) reads 165°F (74°C). Keep an eye on the skin; if it’s browning too quickly, you can cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil.
  • Rest and Serve: Once done, remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist bird. Carve and serve.


  • Spatchcocking not only ensures even cooking but also reduces the overall cook time, making it perfect for those looking for a quicker alternative on Thanksgiving.
  • Feel free to add or modify herbs and seasonings as per your personal preferences.
  • Don’t discard the turkey backbone; use it to make a rich turkey stock or gravy.
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