Flattened Turkey

Flattened Turkey.jpg

Have the butcher remove the backbone and breastbone of the turkey. Laying the turkey flat makes it cook much more quickly and evenly. It also carves much better. You will have to buy fresh herbs for the savoury butter, but you can use the leftover bunches to garnish the bird when serving. If you want stuffing, either bake it separately or place it in the baking pan and put the turkey on top. I find a large cookie sheet with sides works well for this method. You can do up to a 14-lb (6.5-kg) turkey, but larger birds don’t cook evenly. Instead, cook two smaller ones.


  • 6 oz butter, softened
  • 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3 tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 turkey flattened, 12 lbs (5.25 kg) 


Preheat oven to 400°F. 

Combine butter, paprika, garlic, tarragon, chives, parsley, salt and pepper and mix together. Using a teaspoon or your fingers, make a space between the skin and meat of the turkey and spread seasoned butter underneath the skin and over the legs. 

Place turkey on a large rimmed baking sheet, folding the legs in towards each other to protect the breast from overcooking. Turn wing tips under wing and rub with a little extra butter. Sprinkle turkey with salt and pepper, and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes, basting occasionally, or until an oven thermometer reads 165°F at the thickest part (where the leg meets the breast). Remove turkey from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. 

Remove legs and split into legs and thighs. Cut breast lengthwise and carve each piece. Lay all meat on a platter and garnish with leftover fresh herbs.