Spatchcock Turkey is such a quick and easy way to make your holiday turkey! Made with simple ingredients and done much faster, you will love this moist and delicious turkey recipe.
Shortly after making my Spatchcock Chicken last year, I had lots of readers telling me that they would love to have a recipe for Spatchcock Turkey. Immediately, I knew I needed to get on this for Thanksgiving. What a great way to cook a moist and flavorful turkey in a shorter time span!
This recipe for Spatchcock Turkey has the perfect balance of flavors and cooks up your holiday bird much faster than a traditional roasted turkey. You will love this delicious and easy method for cooking a whole bird.
What is Spatchcock Turkey
Spatchcocked turkey is a method of cooking a whole turkey that cuts down on cooking time. The meat is butterflied open after removing the backbone. This increases the surface area and allows it to cook faster. It is pressed flat which also helps it to cook evenly. This can be done with various cooking methods including using a smoker, grill, or oven. I will show you how to make spatchcock turkey in the oven.
Increasing the surface area of the bird also allows more of the meat to be seasoned which increases flavor. The crispy golden skin and tender juicy meat that result are perfect!
How to Spatchcock a Turkey
Here is a brief overview of how to spatchcock a turkey. For the full steps and all measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Remove the backbone. Find the small piece of tailbone that sticks out of the bottom of the bird. Use very sharp kitchen shears to cut on one side of the backbone all the way to the top of the turkey. Then repeat on the other side to fully remove the backbone. Read more about this below.
- Press the turkey flat. Flip the turkey over and spread the turkey out flat. Press down so it lays fully flat.
- Make the compound butter. Combine the seasonings with the room-temperature butter and spread the mixture over the skin of the turkey, covering the breasts and thighs evenly.
- Add olive oil. Coat the turkey with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake the turkey. Cook until the thickest part of the turkey breast reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to cover the turkey with foil to prevent it from browning too much.
Compound Butter for Turkey
We combine room-temperature butter and a variety of herbs and spices to make compound butter which is spread over the turkey, underneath the skin, to give it a crisp golden skin and adds so much flavor. Rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, thyme, and sage combine to create the most amazing flavor profile that infuses into the meat while it cooks.
When considering how long to cook a spatchcock turkey, the key thing to pay attention to for is the internal temperature of the thickest part of the bird. Anytime you are cooking turkey, you will know it is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures that the meat is fully cooked for food safety purposes and not overdone, which would result in dry turkey. This instant read thermometer can be left in the turkey while it cooks so you know exactly when it’s done.
I made this recipe with a 15-pound turkey and it took about an hour and 20 minutes. If your bird is bigger or smaller than this, your spatchcock turkey cooking time will a little longer. This is why it is so important to use a thermometer and to check the temperature of the thickest part of the breast.
From casseroles to sandwiches, there are so many ways to use and enjoy leftover turkey. To store leftover turkey, cut it from the bone and into slices or strips. Place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat leftovers, bake the turkey, covered, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until it is warm.
If you want to freeze the leftovers, I have a great post with all of my tips for freezing leftover turkey!
- 15 pounds thawed turkey
For Compound Butter
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
For Seasoning Skin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- Remove the neck and giblets from the thawed turkey. Place the turkey breast side down on a cutting board. Locate the backbone. It is easiest to find by looking for the small piece of tailbone that sticks out of the bottom of the bird. Use very sharp kitchen shears to cut on one side of the backbone all the way to the top of the turkey. Then repeat on the other side to fully remove the backbone. (See photos in the post.)15 pounds thawed turkey
- Turn the turkey over, spreading the turkey out flat. Press down so it lays fully flat. You may hear a pop – this is the breastbone breaking. Place the turkey on the prepared baking sheet.
- In a small bowl combine the butter, rosemary, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and sage. Gently spread the mixture under the skin of the turkey, working to cover the breasts and thighs evenly.12 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons dried rosemary, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1/2 tablespoon black pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder, 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
- Coat the outside of the turkey with olive oil. Then season with salt and pepper.2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Bake the turkey for 70 to 90 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the turkey breast registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to cover the turkey with foil after about 45 minutes of cooking to prevent it from browning too much.