Total time: 2-3 hours. Adapted from Serious Eats.


  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 12 thyme sprigs
  • 1 whole turkey (~12-14 lbs total, see note below about larger birds), innards reserved
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1.5 qts turkey/chicken stock (low-sodium if possible)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 4 Tbs flour

You may also need poultry shears or some other heavy-duty cutters for spatchcocking below. If you try this with a >15lb turkey, you may need a saw.

Don’t forget that thawing a turkey takes ~3 days!


We’re going to “spatchcock”, aka butterfly, the turkey, which makes it cook better. See pictures and instructions here. Remove and reserve any innards for gravy, as well as the spine from spatchcocking.


Preheat oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with foil, and scatter 2/3 of onions/carrots/celery/thyme sprigs on the bottom of the pan. Place a wire rack on top.

Pat the turkey dry and rub all over with oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Tuck wing tips behind back and place the turkey flat on the rack.

Roast the turkey in the oven, rotating occasionally, until the deepest part of the breast registers 150F, and the thighs register 165F, about 80 minutes.

While the turkey roasts, make gravy. Chop the neck, backbone, and giblets. Heat 1 Tbs oil in medium saucepan on high. Add chopped turkey parts and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add remaining onions, carrots, and celery and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to soften and brown in spots, another 5 minutes. Add stock, remaining thyme, and bay leaves. Simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally, it should reduce a decent amount.

After simmering the gravy, strain it through a fine mesh strainer in to a separate bowl, and discard solids. Skim off any fat from the surface.

In the now-empty pan that was used for gravy, melt butter. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until golden brown, about 3 minutes. While whisking constantly, pour the strained broth back in at a thin, steady stream until incorporated. Simmer the gravy until somewhat reduced, about 20 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper, and reduce heat to just barely keep warm.

Once the turkey is cooked, remove from oven and transfer the rack with the turkey to a new baking sheet; rest at room temperature for 20 min before carving. Collect the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan, and pass through a fine strainer into a cup or bowl. Skim off excess fat and discard. Whisk juices into gravy.

Carve turkey and enjoy!