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Roast spatchcock turkey on a platter surrounded by herbs, pomegranate and orange

Dry Brine Spatchcock Turkey With Herb Butter

  • Author: Vanessa | Maple + Mango
  • Prep Time: 30 min (plus 1-3 days in fridge)
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 10-12 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: American


This delicious Spatchcock Turkey with Herb Butter is juicy, crispy-skinned and only takes 90 minutes to cook. Learn how easy it is to spatchcock and dry brine your holiday turkey.


  • 1 12-14 pound turkey (fresh or thawed out)
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Optional: 1 onion, 1 carrot and 1 celery stalk chopped up

Herb Butter

  • 1/2 cup softened butter (can also use ghee or duck fat instead)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Equipment Needed:


  1. Spatchcock The Turkey:  My favourite method is to ask the butcher to do it! Make sure to ask for the backbone to use for stock or gravy.  If you are unable to have a butcher do it for you, here are the steps to spatchcock a turkey yourself:  
    • Remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey.
    • Using a sharp pair of poultry shears, cut out the backbone of the turkey by placing the turkey breast side down and cutting down both sides of the backbone to remove.
    • Optional: Using a paring knife, cut along the sides of the wishbone and pull out to make carving easier later.
    • Cut a small incision on the cartilage on the back of the breast bone.  Flip the turkey over so that it is breast-side up and using both hands, press down hard on the breast bone to flatten out the turkey (you will hear it crack).
  2. Create Pockets Under Skin:  Using your fingers, gently separate the skin of the turkey from the breast and thigh meat to create pockets.  Go in through the bottom of the breast and work up along both breast halves and thighs.  Be careful not to tear any holes or detach the skin from the turkey entirely.
  3. Dry Brine:  Dry the turkey off with a paper towel.  Combine the kosher salt and baking powder in a small dish.  Sprinkle it all over the outside of the turkey on all sides.  Set a wire baking rack on top of a foil lined baking sheet and lay the turkey on top (skin side up).  The direction the turkey sits on the baking sheet depends on the size of the turkey so try both and see which is better.  Loosely cover with some plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1-3 days.  For really crispy skin, remove the plastic wrap and leave uncovered in the fridge for the last 6 hours to 1 day.
  4. Spread On Herb Butter: Take turkey out of the fridge an hour before cooking and pat dry with a paper towel.   Mix together herb butter ingredients in a small bowl (can also blitz in a food processor for a smoother consistency).  Spoon some under the skin of the turkey breasts and press your fingers on top of the skin to spread the butter underneath around evenly.  Do the same thing under the skin on the thighs.  Take remaining herb butter and massage it all over the outside of the turkey.  
  5. Prep Turkey For Oven:  Preheat oven to 450F (425F convection).  Lay turkey flat on the baking rack set on top of the foil lined baking sheet.  The turkey should be skin side up with legs spread out.  Tuck wing tips behind the breasts.  Pour 1/2 cup water into bottom of the tray to prevent drippings from smoking.  You can also place chopped onion, carrot and celery in the bottom of the tray for more flavourful drippings.
  6. Roast:  Roast for about 90 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165F on the thickest part of the thigh and 150F on the breast.  If the skin is perfectly browned before the meat is cooked, just cover loosely with foil.
  7. Rest + Carve:  Let rest for 20-30 minutes before carving.  Enjoy!  I like to serve with Make Ahead Turkey Gravy and Cranberry Orange Sauce.


  • More details on the spatchcocking, dry brining and carving process can be found in the post.
  • Make sure to use a natural turkey for this recipe.  Not suitable for a preseasoned or self basting bird.  You can find natural turkeys at the butcher shop, in many grocery stores or have it delivered through ButcherBox
  • Salt: Use kosher salt to dry brine.  The granules are larger and easier to distribute.  Salt that is too fine will make the bird too salty.
  • Baking Powder: The baking powder helps to make the skin crispy.  Make sure you don’t accidentally grab baking soda which can have a metallic taste.
  • Keep the turkey carcass to make Turkey Bone Broth (stock).  Recipe includes Instant Pot and Stovetop directions.

Keywords: spatchcock turkey, roast turkey, thanksgiving