Maple Orange Glazed Spatchcock Turkey


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This maple orange glazed spatchcock turkey will steal the hearts (and stomachs) of everyone around your dinner table. It’s juicy, sweet, citrusy, and just the right amount of crispy.

A baking sheet with an orange glazed spatchcock turkey

Sure, a traditional whole roasted turkey is always the centerpiece at Thanksgiving dinner. But have you tried spatchcock turkey? It’s a simple process where you open the bird up, flatten it, then roast it. Not only does spatchcock turkey cook in a fraction of the time, but when you baste the turkey with my maple orange glaze, it’s pretty much the best tasting turkey ever.

Trust me, this sweet citrus flavor flavor will have you and your guests coming back for seconds…maybe even thirds. But the best part? It’s so amazingly simple.

Ingredients for the Tastiest Spatchock Turkey Recipe

While there’s an endless amount of flavor combinations, herb mixes, and marinades to use on turkey, it doesn’t get much easier (or tastier) than this sticky sweet maple orange glaze. All you need are a few basic ingredients.

  • Turkey: I recommend a 10-14 pound turkey for this recipe. Not only will it cook fast, but it will fit on your baking sheet. If you go with a bigger bird, odds are it won’t fit on your baking sheet.
  • Butter: An essential for keeping the turkey meat tender, juicy, and moist.
  • Thyme, Onion & Garlic: These aromatics add depth of flavor and beautifully balance the sweeter notes.
  • Oranges & Orange Juice: You’ll use orange juice in the glaze and also fresh, sliced oranges underneath the turkey.
  • Maple Syrup: Just a little bit mixed with the orange juice adds a naturally sweet twist.

Ingredients for a maple orange glazed spatchcock turkey on a table.

How To Spatchcock A Turkey

Learn how to spatchock a turkey – it’s easy! I’ve previously walked you through that process, but here’s a quick rundown.

  • Remove. Remove the giblets, pat the turkey dry, and place it breast side down on your cutting board.
  • Cut. With a good pair of poultry shears, cut alongside the backbone and remove it.
  • Open. Open up the turkey, score the keel bone, and flip the turkey breast side up.
  • Flatten. Use the heel of your hands to flatten the turkey. Make sure to use some force here!

Cutting bone and flattening a spatchcock turkey.

How To Make Maple Orange Glazed Spatchcock Turkey

Make the glaze and herb butter. Stir the orange juice and maple syrup together in a measuring cup and set this aside. For the herb butter, stir the butter, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.

Mixing herb butter for maple orange glazed spatchcock turkey

Arrange the turkey. Place the orange and onion slices on a baking sheet or roasting pan, lay the turkey on top, and tuck under the wings.

Maple orange glazed spatchcock turkey on a sheet pan before baking.

Roasting time! After you’ve preheated the oven to 425F, reduce the heat to 350F and roast for 30 minutes. Then, pour the maple orange glaze all over the turkey. You can also use a brush to help coat all the nooks and nannies.

Continue roasting for another hour and baste it with the juices in the pan every 20 minutes. Once its reached 160F, remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for about 30 minutes – then you’re ready to carve!

A sheet pan with a maple orange glazed spatchcock turkey.

How To Store and Reheat Leftovers

While there’s rarely leftovers of this recipe, if you do have them, here’s how you store them:

  • To store: Carve your turkey into pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for several months.
  • To reheat: Simply pop this in the microwave, and heat until warmed through.

Or, transform your leftovers into brand new, delicious recipes. Some of my favorite recipes for turkey leftovers include:

Sides to Pair with Turkey

Want ideas for what to serve with your spatchock turkey? You can never go wrong with a few of these classics. But take a peek at my Thanksgiving side dishes for even more inspiration!

Maple orange glazed spatchcock turkey on a sheet pan.

A sheet pan with a maple orange glazed spatchcock turkey.

Maple Orange Glazed Spatchcock Turkey

5 from 14 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 servings (for a 12 pound turkey)
Author: Lisa Bryan


This maple orange glazed spatchcock turkey is here to steal the Thanksgiving spotlight! It's juicy, sweet, citrusy, and perfectly crispy.


  • 12 pound turkey
  • 3/4 cup butter, cubed and softened at room temperature
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup


  • To spatchcock your turkey, place the turkey breast side down and cut alongside both sides of the backbone to remove it.
  • Open up the turkey and score along the keel bone to make it easier to flatten.
  • Flip the turkey breast side up and push down with your hands to flatten it.
  • Preheat your oven to 425F. In a measuring cup, mix the orange juice and maple syrup together and set aside. Then, make the herb butter by mixing the butter, minced garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
    Making the glaze and herb butter.
  • Use your hands to gently loosen the skin of the turkey on top of the breasts. Rub 1/3 of the herb butter under the skin. Then rub the remaining herb butter on the outside of the turkey.
  • Add the slices of onion and orange on a baking sheet or roasting pan, then lay the spatchcock turkey on top. Tuck the wing tips under.
    Spatchcock turkey on a baking sheet pan.
  • Place your turkey in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes, then pour the maple orange juice mixture all over the turkey. Continue roasting the turkey for another hour, or until the internal temperature is 160F, and baste the turkey with the maple orange glaze every 20 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven, let it rest for at least 30 minutes, then carve and serve.

Lisa's Tips

  • I always recommend investing in heavy duty baking sheets. With the liquid in this recipe, you don't want your baking sheet warping or twisting!


Calories: 600kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 70g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 262mg | Sodium: 464mg | Potassium: 823mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 656IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: maple orange spatchcock turkey, spatchcock turkey
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi Lisa!
    I was wondering if I could use turkey breast instead and put everything in the slow cooker… ? And for how long?
    Thank you

  2. Hi Lisa!
    I was wondering if this recipe can be adapted to breast turkey and If I can use a slow cooker? And for how long?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Eleonora – I have a recipe for slow cooker chicken you can reference, and you can add this glaze onto it instead.

  3. This sounds amazing! Going to try this this week! One question… Would you use the drippings for the gravy, want sure how that worked out with the oranges. Happy Thanksgiving.

      1. We tried this recipe for the first time this Thanksgiving (today!) and it was a HUGE hit. I loved the sweet/tangy flavoring. It was so juicy and perfect! Highly recommend. I’m 99% we didn’t do it 100% correctly and it still came out great!5 stars

      2. Yay, so happy everyone loved the recipe. And even if you didn’t do it correctly, all that matters is that everyone loved it, haha! Enjoy!

  4. This recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait try it for Thanksgiving. My daughter is allergic to dairy and I was wondering if using olive oil instead of butter would work? What do you think about coconut oil? Vegan butter?5 stars

    1. Hi Jessica – yes, you could use oil or vegan butter. If using oil, you’d only need to use enough to mix the herbs, so less than the butter quantity in the recipe. And I’d probably avoid coconut oil as the flavor can be overpowering. Hope you and your daughter enjoy it!

  5. This recipe is a winner!! I made it for Thanksgiving, and again for Christmas. It was a huge hit! The citrus and maple, along with garlic and aromatics make for a really tender and delicious bird! I couldn’t get enough so I started using it with chicken to make summer chicken & avocado sandwiches! Super easy recipe. A staple from now on!! 5 stars

  6. I made this recipe for a dinner party tonight – Xmas Eve dinner. It was fantastic. Everyone loved it. Thank you Lisa for yet another incredible recipe! And Merry Christmas to you and yours.5 stars

  7. Hi Lisa,

    Love your recipes and wanted to make this, but wanted to just make a bone in turkey breast, would this recipe work for that.

  8. Hi Lisa,
    I was going to try your roasted turkey recipe but then saw your Maple Orange Glazed Spatchcock Turkey recipe and thought hmmmm why not give it a try. I am a tad nervous however spatchcocking it myself. I am a very seasoned senior and hope I still have what it takes to accomplish that feat LOL! Not sure my knives and scissors are sharp enough! What is most important making either recipes is I can’t use butter because of health reasons etc. so I was hoping it would work with Olive Oil instead and prepare it the same way with a baster to get it under the skin after I loosen it. Would this be suitable with either recipes?? Also I would make a gravy with the drippings. I also intend to make the roasted Brussel Sprouts and one other veggie dish of yours that would go well with the turkey. I think your recipes and videos are wonderful (You too) Best, Deena

    1. Hi Deena – So happy to hear you’re enjoying my recipes and videos! When it comes to spatchcocking, you really do need sharp scissors. I can even struggle with it myself sometimes, depending on how you hit the bone. But yes, you can sub the butter with olive oil or vegan butter. Hope you enjoy the turkey and Brussels sprouts recipes! :)

  9. We made this for Thanksgiving this year, and it turned out terrifically. The flavors blend so well with the turkey. Thank you Lisa for the great recipe! Definitely the best Thanksgiving turkey we’ve ever had!5 stars

  10. This sounds amazing!  But with a smaller family a turkey is too large for us. Could this be modified to be done on a 3lb chicken? If so could you recommend cooking temp and time so it turns out similar to this turkey recipe?

    1. Hi Kristi – You can actually take a peek at my lemon garlic spatchcock chicken recipe for cooking time and temperature! Just note in that recipe, I’m using a 4-5 pound chicken so just make sure to check the internal temperature once it reached that 35 minute mark.

  11. This recipe sounds delicious and your tips and tricks are super helpful! I’ve been looking for an alternative main dish for Thanksgiving this year, and I think my family would love this!5 stars

  12. The flavours of this turkey sound absolutely incredible! I can’t wait to give it a try – what a delicious way to enjoy turkey!5 stars

  13. Fabulous turkey recipe that is so timely. I have been looking for a good one for quite some time now, so I am really glad that I’ve stumbled upon it!5 stars

    1. Hi Andrea – it really has a great flavor that’s different from the standard herb butter mix. I hope you enjoy it!