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The perfect turkey recipe

Quickest, juiciest turkey recipe

  • Author: Jess Bunn


This spatchcocked turkey recipe is as close to perfect as any roast turkey recipe can be. It cooks much faster, has crispier skin, and more succulent meat.


  • 1 medium turkey
  • Salt and pepper to cover
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • 1 head garlic

Garlic butter

  • 115g or 1 stick butter
  • Small handful or 10g fresh parsley
  • Small handful or 10g fresh thyme
  • 5g fresh sage
  • 3 large garlic cloves


Preparing the turkey

  1. Thawing: If the turkey is frozen, allow 2 – 3 days for it to thaw fully in the fridge, depending on its size.
  2. Spatchcocking: Lay the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board. Use kitchen shears or a robust boning knife to cut along one side of the backbone from the tail end to the neck end. Repeat on the other side to fully remove the backbone.
  3. Open the turkey like a book, exposing the cavity. Flip the turkey over, breast-side up, and press down hard on the breastbone until you hear a crack to flatten it.
  4. Optionally, remove a portion of the wing for making stock. Pull the wing out from the bird, and slice into the cartilage between the drumette and the wingette. Remove the wingette and wong tip, and set this aside for stock. Want a perfect gravy recipe, to go with your perfect turkey? Click here!
  5. Find the wishbone at the neck end, make a small incision along the sides, and cut it away. Set all turkey bone trimmings aside for making gravy or freeze for later use.
  6. Dry brining: Generously cover the turkey inside and out with fine sea salt or kosher salt and finely ground black pepper. Place the turkey on a tray and leave it uncovered in the fridge for 1 – 2 days before roasting to dry out the skin and season.

On the day of cooking

  1. Vegetable bed: On the day of cooking, peel and chop carrots and onions into a rough dice, dice up celery, and halve the head of garlic. Place all vegetables on a large sheet pan, nestle in the garlic bulb, but side up, scatter thyme sprigs over the veg, and place a metal rack on top.
  2. Preparation: Remove the turkey from the fridge, open it up like a book, and splay it out on the metal rack with the legs pointing out. Ideally, allow the turkey to sit out for 1-2 hours to come to room temperature for more even cooking.
  3. Once you get close to cooking time, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F

Garlic butter:

  1. Food processor method: In a food processor, combine peeled garlic, picked thyme leaves, sage, parsley, and softened butter to make garlic butter.
  2. Hand-chopped method: Very finely chop the parsley, thyme, sage, and garlic. Mix the chopped herbs and garlic into softened butter in a bowl, until well combined.

Buttering the turkey

  1. Push your hands under the turkey skin around the thighs and breast, smear the garlic butter under the skin, and massage it into all the crevices. Melt any remaining butter, drizzle in a little neutral oil, and smear it over the turkey skin. There is no need to season your turkey again after the dry brine

Roasting the turkey

  1. Place the turkey in the preheated 200°C/400°F oven and cook for about 60-80 minutes, or until the skin is golden and the thickest part of the thigh reaches 73°C/165°F on an instant-read thermometer. Alternatively, make a small incision in the thigh; if the juices run clear without any pink or blood, the turkey is cooked through.
  2. You can increase the temperature to  230°C/480°F for the last 15 minutes of cooking, once the thighs reach  60°C/140°F, if you want to crisp the skin of the turkey further.
  3. Should the turkey juices and veg in the roasting tray start to catch and burn simply add a splash of water into the roasting dish, and continue cooking as instructed.
  4. Remove the turkey from the oven and set it aside on a new tray in a tent of foil or in a warming drawer for 20 minutes to rest before carving.
  5. Remove the rack from the roasting tray. Place a sieve over a bowl, then tip in the vegetables, garlic and turkey pan juices. Use these juices to enrich your gravy. The turkey juices, hints of herby garlic butter and caramelized vegetables will really add something special to your sauce. Find our ultimate gravy recipe here!

Carving and serving

  1. Carve the turkey and serve with your favourite sides.
  2. The carcass can be broken down and used to make stock. Head to our gravy recipe, for the low down on making perfect stock every time, whatever appliance you have at hand.
  • Category: Mains

Keywords: Quick roast turkey, Flavourful turkey recipe, Spatchcocked turkey

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