Ever wondered how to cook a turkey? You’ll be the talk of your family’s holiday get-togethers with this easy to make Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe!
There’s something magical about the holidays; seeing friends and family, sharing some much needed quality time, and the food. Oh, the food! There is always a table lined with food beckoning everyone to eat, drink, and be merry! The quintessential Thanksgiving main course is a turkey here in the states and today I’m showing you how to cook a turkey that is flavorful and moist and that will have everyone raving!
BEST THANKSGIVING TURKEY RECIPE
I remember the first Thanksgiving dinner I hosted…AKA my first time making a whole turkey. It was just a few short years ago and I was SO nervous – I didn’t know how to cook a turkey! What if the bird came out dry? What if it wasn’t cooked all the way through? Ahhhhh! I had a friend give me some words of encouragement and remind me that a turkey is basically a really big chicken, and I had roasted LOTS of chickens before. So I did some research and after finding tons of different ways to make the “perfect” turkey recipe, I decided to combine a few methods. The turkey was edible and I felt accomplished.
HOW TO COOK A TURKEY
Since learning how to cook a turkey, I’ve made whole turkeys almost every year at Thanksgiving. I’ve basted. I’ve brined. I’ve rubbed. If you’re thinking about brining your turkey, and don’t mind getting up at 2am to start it, go for it! The turkey recipe I used that year was crazy good. However, lots of butter paired with a great dry rub and aromatics has become my favorite flavoring system. The real secret to this bird is the foil. Placing aluminum foil over the turkey breast helps dissipate some of the heat. Since dark meat takes longer to cook than the light meat, this method lets the thighs and legs get their roast on while the breast gently cooks. Once the foil comes off, everything cooks at the same pace and that gorgeous golden skin forms. This turkey recipe is juicy and super flavorful!
My Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Need some ideas for what to serve with your Thanksgiving Turkey?
- One Hour Dinner Rolls
- Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
- Easy Turkey Gravy Recipe
- Chai Cream Pumpkin Pie
- Best Mashed Potatoes (Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes)
- Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Classic Sausage Stuffing
Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Be sure to check out our tips for keeping it simple and looking like a pro HERE.
Watch How to Cook a Turkey:
Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe
You'll be the talk of your family's holiday get-togethers with this easy to make Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe!
Yield 1 turkey
- One 11-pound turkey, thawed
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1 Tablespoon pats
- 1 1/2 yellow onions, peeled and halved
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a bowl, combine the salt, thyme, sage, paprika, pepper, and ground mustard until evenly incorporated.
- Remove the turkey from its packaging. From the bird's cavity, remove the neck and the bag containing the gizzards and heart. (You can keep these items to make stock or discard them.)
- Use a few paper towels to dry off the skin of the bird and inside the cavity.
- Lift the skin over the turkey breast (on the side closest to the legs) and slide your hand under the skin separating it from the breast meat. Do this on both sides of the breast.
- Insert three pats of butter under the skin on one side fo the turkey breast spreading them around evenly. Repeat on the other side.
- Sprinkle the dry rub all over the turkey - breast, legs, wings, anything you can see. Using your hands press the rub into the skin a little. If you have any extra rub sprinkle it inside the cavity.
- Place the onion halves and garlic cloves inside the turkey's cavity.
- Transfer the bird to your roasting pan. (I like to use a pan with a rack to keep the bottom of the turkey from getting soggy.)
- Take a good sized piece of foil and place it over the turkey breast. (You want to make sure to the foil piece is big enough to fit over the whole breast.) Press down and mold the foil to the breast., let the ends stick out if the foil's a bit big.
- Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 2 hours. Carefully remove the foil from the turkey. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and cook the turkey for another hour, or until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 165 degrees F and the skin is golden and crispy.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest briefly before carving.
The cooking time in this recipe is for up to a 12-pound turkey. Add 15 minutes of cook time at 325 degrees F for each additional pound.
Food nerd + cocktail enthusiast bringing you damn good food + my three favorite indulgences – bread, booze and bacon!