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How to Spatchcock a Turkey

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Have you ever wondered what a spatchcock turkey was or or how to spatchcock a turkey?  This step by step guide will help you master the skill to a quick cooking turkey!


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It’s time to learn How to Spatchcock a Turkey! It’s a tasty twist on the original turkey that you’ll love!

Who knew that transforming the traditional turkey could actually improve its flavor and cut down its cooking time? Enter the method of spatchcocking. 

With a bit of courage to try something new and the right tools, you’re in for a treat!

A spatchcocked turkey not only cooks evenly but has a crispy skin that’s just divine!

Spatchcocking a turkey gives you an evenly-cooked turkey every time.

And quicker cooking means you get to the feasting faster! Always the best part!

Plus that ultra-crispy skin? Yeah. It’s easy with this method.

Presentation-wise, a spatchcock turkey is a showstopper.

Honestly, it’s an easy skill to learn and will leave everyone wanting more.



What is a Spatchcocked Turkey?

A spatchcocked turkey, also known as “butterflied turkey,” is a regular turkey that has had its backbone removed.

You do this to allow it to be completely flattened out before cooking. 

This makes more even cooking and results in a shorter cooking time compared to a traditional roasted turkey. 

This technique is particularly popular for grilling or roasting, as the increased surface area allows for more crispy skin. 

It’s a fantastic method if you want a perfectly cooked bird with less time spent waiting by the oven!

Cooking turkeys for Thanksgiving seriously doesn’t have to be such an ordeal! This is a great option for pretty much everyone!


Opened turkey laid out on parchment paper, breast up


What Ingredients Are Needed to Spatchcock a Turkey?

Your thanksgiving turkey just got so much easier! A sharp knife, a whole bird, and this step-by-step guide are pretty much all you need!

  • Whole turkey: Your main star! Make sure it’s defrosted for the best results.
  • Equipment: Poultry shears, a baking sheet, and cooling rack. Boom!

Pro Tips!

  • Poultry shears are really a non-negotiable item. Regular kitchen shears just won’t make the cut (literally!).
  • If you have really sharp kitchen shears, you may be able to use those instead.
  • Use a paring knife to score the turkey as a guide before you start snipping.


Opened turkey laid out on parchment paper, breast up


How to Cut a Spatchcock Turkey?

Thanksgiving dinner get ready to meet the spatchcock method! It’s a foolproof cooking process that you’re going to love.

  1. Position the turkey breast-side down.
  2. Identify the spine and cut down either side.
  3. Once the spine’s out, flip that bird and flatten by pressing down on the breast bone.
  4. Transfer to a baking sheet, adjusting the legs and wings for optimal cooking.

Pro Tips!

  • Don’t be alarmed by the sound of bones breaking when you press down; it’s all part of the process (and a great way to freak the kids out!)
  • The clavicle and hip bones can be tricky. That’s where the poultry shears are really needed.
  • You’ll probably want to grab a meat thermometer. That’s the best way to know when your turkey is fully cooked.


turkey face down with back bone up


Why Should I Spatchcock a Turkey?

There are sooo many reasons to spatchcock a turkey over the traditional roast turkey!

First, the turkey cooks more consistently. You don’t get a dry turkey, it stays perfectly moist.

You also still get that delicious crispy skin! Some other methods don’t always have that. 

Plus it’s ready in a shorter time. Cooking a turkey doesn’t take all day? Seriously! It’s so easy!

Not to mention the conversation starter! What a crowd pleaser! 


Showing where to cut the back bone out of a turkey


Does a Spatchcock Turkey Cook Quicker Than a Traditional Turkey?

This spatchcock turkey recipe cooks WAY faster than a traditional turkey! That’s one of the absolute best things about cooking this way!

Due to its flattened state, a spatchcocked turkey has even heat (cooking both the inside and outside at the same time).

So that reduces the cooking time significantly.

This cooking method even works with a large bird. In fact it may work even better with a large bird.

With big turkey, you want the outside golden brown but the turkey meat on the inside cooked completely (you know…food poisoning and all!)

When you have a flat bird, you still get the crispiest skin and cooked inside of the turkey in a fraction of the time.


Cutting the back bone out of the turkey


Do You Cover a Spatchcock Turkey?

No, you don’t need to cover this delicious turkey. 

Generally, you wouldn’t need to cover a spatchcocked turkey. 

Leaving it uncovered helps to achieve that coveted crispy skin.

But because it cooks evenly, you’ll still get a nice juicy meat on the inside.


Removing the back bone from turkey


What to Serve With a Spatchcocked Turkey?

Anything you put on a Thanksgiving table goes well with a holiday turkey! 

Here are Side Dish Recipes I think you would love (any time of year but especially at Thanksgiving!):


Hands breaking the breast bone to flatten turkey


Can You Brine a Spatchcocked Turkey?

You can definitely brine your spatchcocked bird. 

In fact, brining can make your spatchcocked turkey even more flavorful and juicy! 

Just be sure you pat it dry really well with some paper towels before cooking if you use a wet brine.

We recommend this tutorial and Turkey Brine Recipe!

You could also use a dry brine and then you wouldn’t need to worry about drying it before cooking.


turkey on cooling rack above cookie sheet, ready to be put into the oven


Now that you know how to spatchcock a turkey, get ready to totally up your turkey game! Your bird is going to be flavorful, crispy, and cooked to perfection!

Discover the art of how to spatchcock a turkey and totally change your turkey game! You get even cooking and crispy skin every time! 


Yield: 1 Whole Turkey

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

turkey on cooling rack above cookie sheet, ready to be put into the oven

Have you ever wondered what a spatchcock turkey was or or how to spatchcock a turkey?  This step by step guide will help you master the skill to a quick cooking turkey!


  1. Open the thawed and defrosted turkey. Rinse off any gunk and remove the neck and gizzards.
  2. Flip the turkey so the breast side is down and the spine is on top.
  3. Using a sharp knife, score the skin 1/2 inch away from the spine on both sides. This will help you keep your cutting straight.
  4. Using your poultry shears, cut along the scored lines down both sides of the spine.
  5. There will be two spots that are difficult to cut through - the clavicle and the hip bones. It is essential you are using poultry shears and not kitchen shears as kitchen shears will break.
  6. Once the spine has been cut out and removed, flip the turkey back over and spread out the back side as much as possible.
  7. Find the breast bone and push down firmly with two hands (a bit like CPR, but much harder). You are trying to break the breast plate and flatten it out.


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M Denis

Monday 20th of November 2023

Great tutorial on how to spatchcock a turkey! Mine came out amazing if I must say so...thanks to this recipe!


Sunday 19th of November 2023

Thank you for such a great post, I successfully spatchcoked my turkey!! We had an early Thanksgiving and it was perfectly cooked!

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