Spatchcocked Sheet-Pan Turkey with Brown Sugar and Coriander

Spatchcocking turkey speeds up its cooking time, while dry-brining the bird a day ahead of time is the key to the most juicy, flavorful meat.

Spatchcocked Sheet-Pan Turkey with Brown Sugar and Coriander
Photo: Photo: Jennifer Causey / Food stylist Chelsea Zimmer / Prop stylist Kathleen Varner
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 day 3 hrs 45 mins
10 to 12 servings

This next-level turkey has two tricks up its sleeve: dry-brining and spatchcocking. Dry-brining will ensure not only that you infuse the turkey meat with lots of flavor as the salt carries the flavors of brown sugar, thyme, coriander, pepper, and lemon zest into the meat, but also that the skin will dry out in the refrigerator, helping it crisp during roasting. That, paired with spatchcocking — which allows you to cook the turkey faster and at a higher temperature — means the skin will be the crispiest ever. You can ask your butcher to spatchcock your turkey, or use sturdy kitchen shears to remove the backbone yourself. To spatchcock a turkey, place the turkey, breast side down, on a work surface. Using sturdy shears, cut along each side of backbone, separating it from turkey; reserve for stock, or discard. Flip the turkey so the breast side is up. Using heels of your hands, firmly press against breastbone until it cracks and turkey flattens.


  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

  • 2 tablespoons crushed coriander seeds

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 (12- to 14-pound) whole fresh natural turkey or thawed frozen natural turkey, patted dry and spatchcocked (see Note)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Stir together sugar, salt, thyme, coriander seeds, pepper, and lemon zest in a small bowl until well combined. Rub all over skin of turkey and underside of turkey cavity, rubbing more where meat is thickest. Set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Place turkey on wire rack. Tuck wing tips under turkey. Refrigerate, uncovered, 24 hours.

  2. Remove turkey from refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Transfer turkey on wire rack to foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle turkey evenly with oil.

  3. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in lower third position. Roast turkey in preheated oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 150°F, 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours and 15 minutes, rotating baking sheet from front to back halfway through roasting time. Tent turkey with aluminum foil during final 30 minutes of roasting time if skin is turning too dark. Remove turkey from oven, and place on a wire rack. Let rest 30 minutes before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Appley, earthy Spanish Cava: Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad

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