Spatchcock Turkey is a quick way to roast turkey. Butterflying a turkey makes it cook fast while the meat comes out extra juicy with crispy skin!
Cook a large turkey for a crowd in about 90 minutes! While it’s perfect for Thanksgiving or holidays, this spatchcocked turkey is quick and easy enough that it can be made any time of year.
Cook a Big Turkey FAST!
My mom has been making spatchcock turkey for years. I have been making my friend Mary’s roast turkey with wine and herbs which is so juicy and gets rave reviews each time and it’s much quicker than making a traditional roast turkey.
Mary’s recipe inspired me to start making my mom’s spatchcock turkey. This spatchcock turkey recipe removes the backbone and butterflies it while Mary’s Roast Turkey breaks down the turkey. Both are amazing!
What Is Spatchcock?
Spatchcocking a bird is the process of removing the backbone and flattening it onto a baking tray (or butterflying it). It may seem a bit intimidating but it’s really easy to do, saves a lot of cook time and helps everything cook evenly.
With this method, you can cook a 10-12 lb turkey in about 70-90 minutes!
This recipe works for spatchcock turkey or spatchcock chicken, the method is the same just the cooking time needs to be adjusted!
Choosing a Turkey for this Recipe
I’ve used a turkey up to 20lbs but keep in mind, it’s really hard to find a pan that fits a spatchcocked turkey larger than 16lbs (I had to go to a restaurant store to buy a huge pan for a 20 pounder).
When making spatchcock turkey, you can use a butter-basted turkey (like Butterball) or regular turkey. I lower the temperature a bit if using a butter-basted turkey so the drippings don’t burn.
Make sure your pan has a fairly deep rim as your turkey will have drippings that you’ll want for gravy!
How To Spatchcock A Turkey
With a spatchcock turkey, you will need to use poultry shears or very strong kitchen scissors to cut the backbone out. Regular scissors don’t work and even some kitchen scissors are not strong enough (and a knife is just plain ol’ dangerous for this job). (Most kitchen scissors are good for chicken though).
If you plan to spatchcock a turkey, I’d suggest investing in poultry shears or ask your butcher if they’ll cut the backbone out for you, many of them will and it’ll make your job a lot easier.
- Begin with the breast side down. Cut along both sides of the backbone with the poultry shears. Depending on the size of your turkey, it can be very difficult to cut and takes a bit of strength. Be sure to set the backbone aside to make gravy (or freeze it to add to Homemade Chicken Stock).
- Run a knife along the breast bone in the center to “score” it. Flip the turkey over (so it is breast side up) and begin to fold it apart.
- Press very firmly on the center of the turkey breast with the palms of your hand until you hear it snap and flatten out.
- Pull the thighs out to help flatten the bird even more. Once the turkey is flattened, cut the wing tips off.
Place the spatchcocked turkey on a baking tray and let it sit for at least 30 minutes (or cover and refrigerate overnight). This will allow juices to release and help to provide crisper skin.
Brush the spatchcocked turkey with olive oil and herbs, and bake it until it is tender and the skin is crisp.
Temperature for Spatchcock Turkey
This cooks nice and evenly since it’s flattened. A high temperature seals in the juices and ensures a crispy skin.
- Roast at 450°F for a regular turkey
- Roast at 425°F for a butter-basted (or Butterball) turkey
The turkey should be baked until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165°F. Like all roasted meats, rest the turkey for at least 15 minutes before you carve it. This frees up the oven to get the rest of your sides ready!
When I make a spatchcock turkey, I often cook Crock Pot Stuffing so it’s easy! Serve the spatchcock turkey alongside all of your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes like dinner rolls, sweet potato casserole and don’t forget the gravy!
More Thanksgiving Recipes You’ll Love
- Corn Casserole – Classic Recipe!
- Easy Pecan Pie Recipe – No Corn Syrup!
- Pumpkin Pie Recipe
- Cranberry Millionaire Salad – Family favorite!
- Glazed Carrots
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon – Make ahead.
- 1 turkey approximately 10-12 pounds, defrosted
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh herbs rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine olive oil and chopped fresh herbs. Set aside.
- Remove neck and giblets from the turkey (and reserve for broth or gravy).
- Place turkey on a work surface breast side down so the backbone is facing up. Using poultry shears, cut along each side of the back bone to remove the back bone completely (reserve the bone for broth or gravy).
- Flip the turkey over breast side up. Using your palms, press on the turkey to flatten it. You should hear the cartilage in the breast bone crack as it flattens.
- Using the poultry shears, cut the wing tips off (reserve for gravy).
- Arrange the turkey on a large rimmed baking sheet. Brush with the olive oil mixture and season well with salt and pepper.
- Roast the turkey for 1 ¼ hrs to 1 ½ hrs or until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F.
- Remove from the oven and loosely tent with foil. Rest at least 15 minutes before carving.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)