The Coziest Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe You’ll Ever Make
After making the same Lemon Herb Butter Turkey recipe for the last 7+ years (sometimes twice a year, when you count Friendsgiving!), I really wanted to change things up & try something different this year. While you can always count on the combination of lemon & herbs to really make your Thanksgiving turkey stand out, I wanted to bring some slightly cozier flavors to the Thanksgiving table this year. It is autumn, after all!
The result? This maple glazed spatchcock turkey. It’s a total standout!
This maple glazed turkey recipe is an easy, flavorful Thanksgiving turkey that embraces the flavors of fall –perfect for Thanksgiving! This maple glazed turkey recipe uses classic Thanksgiving herbs like rosemary, sage & thyme that will make your house smell seriously cozy & amazing on a crisp, fall Thanksgiving morning.
But of all the ingredients in this recipe, beautiful, high-quality pure maple syrup is what takes the cozy-factor to the next level. A maple glazed turkey is perfectly crispy & subtly sweet from the natural sugars in the maple syrup. Not only is your kitchen going to smell absolutely delicious as you’re roasting this maple turkey, but the result is the ultimate fall-inspired Thanksgiving meal.
Maple Glazed Turkey Recipe Highlights
There are only 4 key steps to roasting the perfect maple glazed turkey. You will…
- Spatchcock it. I’ll explain more about that in just a second! But for now, here’s what you need to know: spatchcocking is the miracle you never knew your Thanksgiving needed!
- Butter it.
- Roast it.
- Baste it.
- Bonus: Glaze it.
Spatchcock. Butter. Roast. Baste. Glaze. That’s it!
If you’re ready for a taste of something new this Thanksgiving, I highly recommend giving this maple turkey a try! ♡ Read on to learn more about this Spatchcock Maple Glazed Turkey, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
How to Make a Maple Glazed Turkey
There are two essential layers of flavor you’ll build in this maple turkey recipe: maple herb butter & pure maple syrup glaze.
Maple Herb Butter
The maple herb butter for this spatchcock turkey recipe only takes a few minutes to throw together & is made entirely with things you likely already have in your kitchen during the holiday season:
- Unsalted butter
- Fresh herbs – The perfect fall-themed herbs are rosemary, oregano, sage, & thyme. Buy them fresh at the grocery store (where you can also often find them packaged together in a “poultry blend”).
- Pure maple syrup – Always be sure to use pure maple syrup here! Pure maple syrup is made by boiling fresh sap from a maple tree to create a sticky, sweet syrup. It’s packed with natural sugars that give the best cozy autumn feel for this glazed spatchcock turkey. Pancake syrup, on the other hand, is made with refined sugars that just don’t do the trick.
To prep the maple herb butter ⇢ Mix the maple syrup, garlic, & herbs with room temperature butter. You’ll slather the turkey with the maple herb butter, working it into every nook & cranny of the bird. You want to get the butter in between the skin & the meat so it makes your maple turkey deliciously juicy & flavorful. Why? ⇢ The maple turkey will take on all the flavor from the butter as it roasts – it almost bastes itself! – ensuring every bit of your turkey is flavorful as it absorbs the maple-y, herb-y, garlicky, buttery goodness.
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Pure Maple Syrup Glaze
To take it to the next level, this spatchcock turkey is glazed with pure maple syrup. In the last hour of roasting, you’ll pull the spatchcock turkey out of the oven every 20 minutes & brush its entire surface with pure maple syrup. This is the step that gives your maple glazed turkey a mouth-watering maple flavor & a gloriously glossy shine.
The maple syrup does double duty to help the skin of your glazed spatchcock turkey get totally crispy & beautifully magazine-worthy golden brown! The trick is the natural sugars in the pure maple syrup that lightly caramelize your turkey in the heat of the oven. You’ll seriously be so excited by how perfect your maple glazed turkey looks! (And did I mention the whole maple glazed turkey comes together in less than 3 hours?!)
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Spatchcock Turkey Recipe FAQs
Ok, now it’s time to learn how to spatchcock a turkey. Your Thanksgiving turkey roasting will never be the same…
- What is spatchcocking? ⇢ Spatchcocking is a method for breaking down a turkey (or any poultry) where you remove the bird’s backbone. It’s a super simple & super-effective technique for speeding up the cooking process. Without its backbone, your turkey can lay flat in the roasting pan, allowing its breasts & legs to lie at about the same thickness as it cooks.
- Why should you spatchcock your turkey? ⇢ A flat turkey is a really, really good thing for Thanksgiving. Since the breasts & the legs are about the same thickness once the turkey is laid out flat, spatchcocked turkeys roast faster & cooks more evenly. It only takes 90 minutes to cook a 14-pound spatchcock turkey vs 4 hours for a whole roasted turkey of the same size! & since all parts of the turkey will cook at roughly the same rate, the odds of overcooking your turkey are super low! This maple glazed spatchcock turkey recipe will be totally juicy and flavorful – never dried out.
- What size Thanksgiving turkey should I get? ⇢ You’re generally going to need one pound of turkey per person for your Thanksgiving dinner. So if you’re feeding 12 people, grab a 12 pound turkey (or maybe one slightly larger, if you want plenty of leftovers). But I don’t recommend using a turkey larger than 14 pounds when you are making a spatchcock turkey recipe. Any bigger and it might not fit in the roasting pan! If you need more turkey meat, spatchcock two smaller turkeys instead.
- How do you spatchcock a turkey? ⇢ It’s way easier than it sounds! Learning how to spatchcock a turkey takes just three steps: 1. Snip out the backbone. 2. Score the turkey’s chest bone. & 3. Press the bird flat. I wrote a blog post that includes step-by-step photos to show you exactly how to spatchcock a turkey. If you’re a visual learner, definitely check it out!
A Maple Glazed Turkey Feast!
This glazed spatchcock turkey recipe is SO easy & SO delicious. Not many households will enjoy a maple glazed turkey this Thanksgiving. But your guests are going to love the cozy autumn vibes when this recipe comes out of the oven!
For more details on this glazed spatchcock turkey & how to make this spatchcock turkey recipe (including cooking time & how to know when it’s ready to come out of the oven!), check out the full recipe below. & if you’re looking for some more spatchcock turkey recipe inspiration, you can also try my Easy Herb Butter Roast Spatchcock Turkey recipe!
Pretty sure the only thing missing at this point is some stretchy pants & a major post-Thanksgiving dinner snooze!?
I can’t wait for you to try this Maple Glazed Spatchcock Turkey! Its flavors are classic yet new, & I know you’re going to love how beautifully golden brown it always turns out! If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!
Planning the Best-Ever Thanksgiving Menu? 🙌🏼 You’re in the right place! Be sure to try my Aunt Kari’s Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage & Mushrooms, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic, or these Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta & Pine Nuts next. ♡ Happy cooking!Print
Mix up your classic Thanksgiving turkey this year with this Maple Glazed Turkey recipe! This recipe takes your average holiday turkey to the next level with easy-to-make herb butter & a simple maple glaze – the most perfect, cozy combination of fall flavors!
- one 12–14 pound whole turkey, thawed & (optional) brined
- maple herb butter (below)
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 carrots, roughly chopped into 3–4 large pieces
- 2 yellow onions, quartered
- 2 cups dry white wine
- ½ cup pure maple syrup, divided
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
for the Maple Herb Butter:
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- ¼ cup finely chopped hardy fresh herbs, such as oregano, rosemary, sage, or thyme
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- Large plastic cutting board
- Sharp kitchen shears
- Sharp chef’s knife
- Rolling pin
- Roasting pan
- Turkey baster or basting brush
- Instant-read thermometer
- Carving set
*REMINDER: If frozen, do not forget to begin thaw your turkey well before the day you plan on roasting it! If it is still frozen day-of, your turkey will not safely defrost & cook in time for dinner – it’s just not possible. The safest way to thaw a frozen turkey is by placing it in the coolest section of your refrigerator. The cool, controlled temperature will slowly thaw without any areas of the turkey being in the ‘danger’ temperature zone in which bacteria grow & multiply (between 40-140 degrees F). As a general rule of thumb, plan for 24 hours refrigerated thawing for every 4 pounds – so, a 12-14 pound turkey will require 3-4 days refrigerated thawing before it’s ready to be spatchcocked & roasted.
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Remove the turkey from its packaging. There is no need to rinse your turkey (rinsing promotes cross-contamination). Instead, simply use paper towel to pat the surface of the turkey as dry as possible. If present, remove the neck & giblets from the cavity of the turkey. Discard or set aside for easy turkey gravy. Transfer the turkey to a large plastic cutting board atop a stable, sturdy surface. Place the turkey breast side facing down.
- Prep the maple herb butter: Add all listed maple herb butter ingredients to a medium bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Mix to combine well. Set aside for immediate use, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Spatchcock the turkey: (Note: For more guidance + step-by-step photos, be sure to check out this full How to Spatchcock a Turkey guide!) Using very sharp kitchen shears or a sharp knife, carefully snip along each side of the turkey’s backbone until it’s completely detached. Discard or set aside for easy turkey gravy. Locate the top of the turkey’s breast plate directly behind the turkey breasts. Place the heel of a sharp chef’s knife in the center of the top of the breast plate. Use a rolling pin to carefully yet forcefully tap the spine of the knife, wedging the heel of the knife into the bone. Continue tapping until the bone cracks. Use your hands to stretch the inner cavity of the turkey as wide open as possible, then flip the turkey such that its breast side is facing up. Place your hands on the center of its breasts, on the breast bone. Use your body weight to apply pressure to the chest plate, cracking the bone all the way through such that the turkey lays flat – your turkey is spatchcocked & ready for roasting. Great job!!!
- Season the spatchcocked turkey: Use your hands to spread the prepared maple herb butter from Step 2 between the turkey skin & meat. Buttering the turkey meat directly helps keep it juicy & flavorful. If needed, use paper towel to pat the turkey skin as dry as possible. Drizzle the olive oil over the entire surface of the turkey skin, then season generously with kosher salt & ground black pepper. If you have any remaining maple herb butter, dot it over the top of the turkey.
- Prepare for roasting: Arrange the onions & carrots across the bottom of a roasting pan. (You can be as rustic as you’d like – no one will see!) Pour the wine over top. If desired, place the turkey neck & spine in the roasting pan, too, for extra flavorful turkey gravy. Set your seasoned spatchcock turkey over top, breast side facing up. Gently tuck the wing tips behind the breasts to prevent burning.
- Roast the turkey: Transfer the roasting pan to the oven. Roast at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven for basting. Carefully brush the pure maple syrup all over surface of the turkey. Return the roasting pan to the oven, reducing the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue roasting the turkey for 1 additional hour, removing the turkey from the oven every 20 minutes to repeat the glazing process. If desired, rotate the roasting pan 180 degrees each time you place it back in the oven to promote even roasting & browning. Pull the turkey from the oven once an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers an internal temperature of 155 degrees F.
- Rest the turkey. Very carefully transfer the roast spatchcock turkey to a cutting board or large flat surface. Tent with foil & set aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before carving. As the turkey rests, its juices will redistribute throughout the meat & its internal temperature will continue to rise to a safe 165 degrees F.
- Optional: Prep turkey gravy: Meanwhile, as the turkey rests, prep turkey gravy as desired. For more guidance + step-by-step photos, be sure to check out this full Easy Turkey Gravy recipe!
- Carve & serve: Carve, serve & enjoy!
- Recipe FAQ: What size Thanksgiving turkey should I use? ⇢ Not sure how much turkey you’ll need to feed your dinner crowd? The general rule of thumb is to aim for one pound of turkey per person. For this roast spatchcock turkey recipe, I recommend using a turkey between 12-14 pounds. Since it lies flat as it roasts, a turkey larger than 14 pounds likely won’t fit in a conventional roasting pan. If you need more turkey to feed your guests, then try preparing two smaller spatchcock turkeys rather than one large turkey. This will also help your turkey meat stay extra-juicy!
- Thanksgiving Prep Tips: This herb butter roasted turkey recipe is quite straightforward & easy, though you can prep a couple of components in advance to make Thanksgiving day cooking even more effortless. Here’s what I suggest:
- Make-ahead maple herb butter: Up to 1 week in advance, prepare the maple herb butter according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The morning of your holiday meal, simply pull the herb butter from the fridge to soften to room temperature for turkey prep. (<10 minutes active prep)
- Make-ahead spatchcock turkey: If you have some time the night before your holiday meal, taking 30 minutes to get a head start on prepping the turkey is a great place to start. Spatchcock the turkey according to Step 3 of Recipe Directions above. Place it in a roasting pan & let it sit, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. This helps the turkey skin lose some of its excess moisture, resulting in an even crisper golden brown maple glazed turkey. This not only cuts down on day-of prep time quite a bit, but will also make for an even tastier turkey! (30 minutes active prep)
Keywords: maple glazed turkey, maple turkey, glazed spatchcock turkey recipe, roast spatchcock turkey, Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Christmas, easy, fast, butterflied, roasted, poultry, maple, fresh herbs
Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Megan McKeehan
Planning Your Thanksgiving Menu?
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