Spatchcocking a 24-pound Turkey: Pan Size and Other Tips

Try Spatchcock Turkey if you want your turkey to be as crispy as possible, have the white and dark meat cooked to perfection, or roast it in a shorter amount of time!

Spatchcocking is a method of preparing a turkey by removing its backbone and spreading it flat for cooking.

Also called “butterflying,” spatchcocking is a common preparation method for chicken, and it works fantastically for turkey too.

A whole roast turkey may seem more Norman Rockwell-esque on a platter, but there are several advantages to spatchcocking your bird instead.

Not only do many meat perfectionists swear that spatchcocking a turkey is the BEST way to cook a turkey ever, but they also say that the crispy skin and juicy, even cooking make it worth the effort.

So you’re planning to spatchcock a 24-pound turkey for Thanksgiving? That’s awesome! Spatchcocking is a great way to cook a turkey faster and more evenly resulting in juicy flavorful meat. But with a bird that big, you’ll need the right pan to accommodate it.

What size pan do you need for a spatchcocked 24-pound turkey?

The general rule of thumb is to use a pan that’s at least 2 inches larger than the turkey on all sides. This allows for good air circulation and prevents the turkey from overcrowding the pan. For a 24-pound turkey, you’ll likely need a full-size sheet pan (approximately 18×26 inches).

Here are some additional tips for spatchcocking a large turkey:

  • Get the butcher to spatchcock it for you. This will save you a lot of time and effort, especially if you’re not comfortable using kitchen shears or a knife to cut through the backbone.
  • Use a cooling rack on the sheet pan. This will elevate the turkey and allow the heat to circulate more evenly.
  • Add vegetables to the pan. This will help to prevent the drippings from burning and add flavor to the turkey.
  • Cook the turkey at 425°F for 2.5-3 hours. This is just a guideline, so be sure to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey before you take it out of the oven. The turkey is done when the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F.
  • Let the turkey rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful turkey.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

  • Spatchcocked Turkey Logistics – Thanksgiving Roasting Size | Ask MetaFilter: This thread on Ask MetaFilter provides a lot of helpful information about spatchcocking a turkey, including tips on pan size, cooking times, and other logistics.
  • How large a baking sheet or roasting pan should be used for a 24-lb. spatchcocked (butterflied) turkey? Someone asked… – Food52: This discussion on Food52 provides additional insights into pan size and other considerations for spatchcocking a large turkey.

It can be a little difficult to patchcock a large turkey, but the effort is well worth it. The correct pan and a few helpful pointers will make cooking a juicy, flavorful turkey that wows your guests easy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Brine the Turkey

Brine your turkey is one of the most important ways to ensure that the meat is juicy and flavorful throughout, not just on the outside.

  • Either a wet or dry brine can be used for spatchcock turkey (if time is of the essence, the wet brine can be completed in as little as 12 hours, while the dry brine requires 24 hours).
  • I like to brine the turkey first, but you can choose to spatchcock it first.
  • After brining your turkey, pat it dry with paper towels to help the skin crisp.

what size pan for spatchcock turkey

Avoiding Dry Turkey

Turkey should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, but as it rests, its temperature will rise. This is according to the FDA. To avoid dry meat, remove the spatchcock turkey at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for the breast and 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit for the thigh.

what size pan for spatchcock turkey

The lack of the dramatic scene where the entire bird is placed on the table could be one disadvantage of spatchcock turkey.

GREAT OPTION: Carve the turkey, arrange it beautifully on a serving platter, then present the platter instead.

  • Your guests will still ooohh and ahhhh at its beauty.
  • Once they taste the crispy skin and tender meat, they won’t want you to cook turkeys any other way!

what size pan for spatchcock turkey

Spatchcock turkey is very similar to carving a whole turkey. See How to Carve a Turkey for a step-by-step guide, including a video tutorial.

Spatchcocked Turkey | Better. Faster. Juicier.


What size pan do you need for a turkey?

Turkey Size
Minimum Roasting Pan Size
Up to 12 pounds
14 x 10 x 2-3/4 inches
Up to 16 pounds
15-3/4 x 12 x 3 inches
Up to 20 pounds
16 x 13 x 3 inches

What size roasting pan do you use for a Spatchcock Turkey?

I use a simple 16×13-inch roasting pan with a 2 ½ inch depth, similar to this one. If you do not have a large, shallow roasting pan, you can also roast a spatchcock turkey on a full baking sheet (rimmed) fitted with a wire baking rack. A whole turkey, of course!

Do you need a pan for a Spatchcock Turkey?

You don’t need anything fancy, but the size and depth of the pan is especially important for spatchcock turkey. The butterflied turkey needs to be able to lay completely flat in the roasting pan and the sides shouldn’t be so deep that they inhibit airflow around the turkey as it roasts.

What size Turkey should you Spatchcock?

A 13-lb. turkey is the largest bird you should spatchcock to ensure it fits in a roasting pan, and 10 to 12 pounds is ideal. If you’re tight on space, a smaller turkey will more easily fit properly in the pan. Look for 6- to 11- pound Li’l Butterballs in stores this holiday season. Carson Downing. Food Styling: Lauren McAnelly

How do you Spatchcock a Turkey?

Finish spatchcocking: 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.

Leave a Comment