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This Thanksgiving Turkey recipe is practically foolproof – it’s flavor packed and so tender and juicy with a golden, crispy skin. With my step-by-step tutorial, even first time cooks can pull this roast turkey recipe off stress-free!
This perfect Thanksgiving Turkey will be the star of your family’s holiday dinner. Of course, the best turkey recipe needs the best Thanksgiving side dishes, like my Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes, Homemade Stuffing, and classic Green Bean Casserole.
This juicy turkey recipe isn’t complicated at all. There’s no brining, no basting, no weird cooking techniques. Just simple instructions to give you great results every time while your bird roasts stress-free.
In this post, you’ll learn tons of tips and tricks, plus step-by-step instructions for the most perfectly tender, incredibly juicy, totally stress-free, best Thanksgiving turkey recipe, ever! Your holiday meal is about to get a whole lot easier.
Why This Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe Works
- It’s easy! Even a first time cook can make a delicious turkey for Thanksgiving, or any day, by following this easy turkey recipe.
- Placing butter underneath the turkey skin adds extra flavor and keeps the meat moist and juicy.
- Covering the top with foil during the first few hours of cooking helps to keep the breast meat from drying out since the turkey legs take a little longer to cook.
- Turning up the heat during the last hour ensures a golden, crispy skin without drying out the meat.
No brining, no basting, just simple ingredients for an exceptionally flavorful Thanksgiving turkey! Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and instructions.
- The bird – For this recipe and the cooking times that go with it, I used a 12 pound turkey. This is a fairly average size that will feed 8-10 people.
- Butter – Pats of butter are placed under the skin of each turkey breast. Add even more flavor by using my yummy Garlic Butter.
- Onion and garlic – peel and stuff inside the cavity of the turkey. You can also add fresh herbs and citrus fruits, like lemon or orange, if you like.
- Dry Rub – Mix together kosher salt, dried thyme, dried sage, rosemary, paprika, black pepper, and ground mustard and rub into the skin. This is also a delicious seasoning for Roast Chicken.
- Equipment – A big roasting pan, preferably with a wire rack to hold the roast turkey up above the drippings.
How To Cook A Turkey: A Step By Step Tutorial
How To Defrost A Turkey
If your turkey is frozen, you will need to completely defrost it in the refrigerator before you even remove any of the packaging. Place your bird in a deep roasting pan in the fridge to catch any juices that may run out.
Resist the urge to thaw in your kitchen sink as this can encourage harmful bacteria to spread. Be sure to start defrosting the turkey a few days before you need to cook it.
How long do you defrost a turkey? A good rule of thumb is to allow 24 hours for every 4 pounds of turkey. So for our 12 pound bird, at least 3-4 days. To be safe I usually give it an extra 12-24 hours.
Once your turkey is fully defrosted, you can prep it for roasting using the recipe below.
How To Prep A Turkey For Roasting
Remove from packaging and remove extra parts. Remove the fully thawed turkey from its packaging. I usually do this in a large container in the kitchen sink. If included, remove the neck and the bag containing the gizzards and giblets. Keep these for making extra stock for the Homemade Turkey Gravy or discard them.
Dry the skin. Pat the skin dry with paper towels. Dry skin equals crispy skin!
Separate the skin from the breast. Using clean hands, gently lift the skin from the turkey breast starting on the side closest to the legs. Slide your hand underneath, separating the skin from the breast meat. Repeat the process with the other side.
Add butter under the skin. Slide 3 pats of butter (1 pat = 1 tablespoon) under the skin on each side and spread it around with your fingers.
Add seasoning and aromatics. Mix together the dry rub, sprinkle it all over the outside of the turkey, and press it into the skin. Sprinkle a little inside the cavity, too. Place the onions and garlic inside the cavity, then transfer the whole bird to a roasting pan with a rack.
Roasting The Turkey
These instructions are for how to cook a 12 pound turkey in the oven. If your bird is bigger or smaller, you will need to adjust the cooking time based on the provided instructions. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full instructions, or check out the handy chart below.
- Preheat your oven. We start with the oven at 325℉, keeping it low and slow for 2 hours (depending on the size) so the meat gets moist and tender, then crank it up to 400 for the last hour to get that crispy skin.
- Cover. Cut a piece of foil large enough to cover the turkey breasts. Press it down and mold the foil to the shape of the breasts. This will keep the breasts from drying out. You’ll remove it before the turkey is finished cooking to brown the skin.
- Roast the turkey in the oven at 325℉ for 2 hours, adding additional time depending on the size (use the chart below). Then turn the heat up to 400℉, remove the foil, and roast until the cooked turkey reaches the optimal temperature. Use our handy guide below to adjust the time. (Be sure to pin this chart to save it for later!).
- Let the turkey rest. Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for at least 15-20 minutes or up to 40 minutes. This will give you plenty of time to cook a Sweet Potato Casserole or warm up some dinner rolls.
Frequently Asked Questions
A pound of turkey per person will feed your guests and leave them satisfied. But if you want leftovers, I recommend 1.5-2 pounds per adult and about half a pound per child. I personally think leftovers are awesome, because you can make Turkey Tetrazzini or Turkey and Stuffing Casserole.
A 12 pound turkey takes about 3 hours to cook. Start at 325℉ for 2 hours, then increase the temperature to 400℉ for another hour. For a larger bird, increase the initial cooking time (at 325℉) by 15 minutes per pound.
One of the best tricks we have for keeping your cooked turkey juicy and moist is butter! Stuffing pats of butter under the skin creates a beautifully crisp skin, but it also melts and keeps the meat super moist and juicy.
Another trick I use is placing aluminum foil over the turkey breasts to help dissipate some of the heat and lock in moisture. Since dark meat takes longer to cook than light meat, this method lets the thighs and legs get their roast on while the breast gently cooks.
A turkey should be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 165℉. Insert an instant-read meat thermometer in the base of the breast meat or the thickest part of the thigh, careful not to touch any bone. Those are absolute basics. The actual length of time it takes to reach the correct temperature will depend on the temperature of the bird before cooking, its size, and your oven temperature.
Every year we get lots of questions about how to cook a turkey so we’ve put them all in one place. Hopefully these helpful hints will take the guesswork out of cooking your turkey!
- Resist the urge to wash your turkey. Washing poultry is a no-no, and will just contaminate your sink. Remove from the packaging and pat dry with paper towels.
- No basting? No brining? These extra steps are really unnecessary for achieving the perfect roast turkey. Basting requires constantly opening your oven which costs you valuable heat and extends the cooking time. Brining isn’t necessary with a high quality turkey.
- Don’t cook inside of your turkey. If you cook stuffing inside your turkey, the meat will be dry before the stuffing reaches a temperature that’s safe to eat. Instead, stuff the turkey with aromatics like onions, garlic, celery, herbs, or lemons that will add a ton of flavor to the bird as well as to the drippings for pan gravy. Cook the stuffing in a baking dish, like my Classic Sausage Stuffing Recipe or Bacon and Onion Stuffing.
- Save the turkey drippings. The drippings are used to make the gravy, and the flavor will complement beautifully.
Make Ahead, Storage, and Freezing
Make Ahead: Once your turkey is fully thawed, you prep it for roasting up to 24 hours in advance. Add the butter, seasoning, and aromatics, then cover loosely with foil and place in the fridge overnight. Take it out about 30 minutes before you put it in the oven so it can shake off the chill.
Storage: If you’re going to eat your leftovers within 3-4 days, store in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag in the fridge. Use for sandwiches, BLT Turkey Wraps, tacos, and Turkey Soup.
Freezing: One of the reasons I love turkey leftovers is because I can keep some in my freezer and easily toss it in Turkey Shepherd’s Pie or in soups.
Reheating: If you’re just looking to reheat a late-night Thanksgiving dinner leftovers plate, you can do that in the microwave. If it’s frozen, thaw it overnight in the fridge before adding to other recipes.
Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Your Thanksgiving turkey may be the best ever, but you’re still going to need to fill some supporting roles. Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving sides that will compliment your cooked turkey in the best way!
Side Dish Recipes:
- Cheesy Broccoli Casserole
- Oven Roasted Vegetables
- Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- One Hour Dinner Rolls
- Scalloped Corn Casserole
- Twice Baked Potatoes
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Cranberry Fluff Salad
- Pumpkin Dump Cake
- Classic Apple Pie
- Southern Pecan Pie
Find all the sides you could possibly want for the perfect Thanksgiving menu!
Need a smaller turkey this year? Try my other easy turkey recipes for cooking a turkey breast in the air fryer, roasting in the oven, or even an Instant Pot Turkey Breast. Any of these recipes would be a great way to feed a smaller crowd, or to add some extra servings of turkey to your meal.
Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe
- Roasting Pan (click the link to see the one I use)
- 12 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 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 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 for 30-45 minutes before carving.
- 10 pounds: 1 hour 30 minutes at 325 degrees; 1 hour at 400 degrees.
- 12 pounds: 2 hours at 325 degrees; 1 hour at 400 degrees.
- 14 pounds: 2 hours, 30 minutes at 325 degrees; 1 hour at 400 degrees.
- 16 pounds: 3 hours at 325 degrees; 1 hour at 400 degrees.
- 18 pounds: 3 hours, 30 minutes at 325 degrees; 1 hour at 400 degrees.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
Don’t leave without stopping by and checking out our Holiday Gift Ideas!
I have been using this recipe for the last couple of years. It always turns out so good. I had searched for years for a good recipe and this is by far the best.
Thanks for the awesome comment Kelly.
I’ve made this recipe 3 years in a row and everytime my turkey turns out perfect. Everyone is always so impressed by how good and moist it is. I was very intimidated by making a turkey at first but this recipe makes all the difference!
Nice! Love the comment Krista, thanks for stopping by to share.
As most others have said, this turned out amazingly moist. I guess cooking low and slow works! Next time, I’ll have to do it according to the recipe. I had no garlic and no onions, so I just added garlic powder and onion powder to the dry rub. Will proably do that again, but also add the garlic and onion to the cavity.
Love the feedback dAN! Thanks for sharing.
This turned out so good, tender and tasteful. Great recipe, thanks.
You are so welcome Nielsen! Thanks for stopping by.
kristin you are a QUEEN and I now have an altar of you in my house that I kneel before, each day.
I’m a first time turkey roaster and I had the bright idea to host a Friendsgiving. was so stressed with how to prepare this thing and cook it.
but this recipe! so simple! an absolute clown such as myself was made to look like a Top Chef!!!!!
so delicious and so easy I’m using this recipe + method every year!!!
Favorite. Comment. Ever. Thank you Angel!
This is my go to Thanksgiving Turkey recipe. It comes out super flavorful. Juicy on the inside and crisp on the outside. Thank you for sharing!
You are so welcome Briana! Thanks for stopping by.
Hands down THE best turkey I’ve ever made. I’ve tried different recipes – much more complicated – in the past, and none even compared to this. I adjusted the amounts for a 16lb turkey and it came out perfect! Juicy, flavorful, and that extra hour at 400 degrees crisped up the skin beautifully. I used garlic, onion, celery, and lemon for the cavity aromatics. I loved how easy this was, and the most delicious turkey. This is the only one I’ll make every year from now on.
Nice! Awesome feedback Andi! Thanks for stopping by to share.
I will never NOT use this recipe!!! It was FANTASTIC! First time hosting ever and for 15 people, no less. The turkey came out perfect!!! Made it as written with the exception of Rosemary because I’m not a huge fan so I didn’t have any. I also seasoned the turkey the night before. Threw the onion and garlic plus the butter in the cavity, rubbed butter under the skin and cooked for 3h45m @325 then and hour at 400 (19lb bird). Perfection! Thanks for this awesome recipe!!!! Simple and delicious!
You are so welcome Ash! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this Awesome feedback with us.
Everyone reading this review this in Not a 5 ⭐️ It’s a 10 ⭐️ Recipe.
I have not cooked a lot of Turkeys and came across this recipe. I followed the instructions to a tee and the house smelled so good and the Turkey was so moist and delicious. My mother in law said she couldn’t shovel it fast enough in her mouth. She also said this was the Best Turkey she has ever eaten. She’s a young 85 and has eaten a lot of Turkeys. Everyone raved about it. Thank you for sharing Kristin you made my Thanksgiving a hit!
Hi Sue, you are so welcome! Thank you so much for the awesome feedback. Glad it was a hit.
9/10! And only because I never give 10/10 lol. 49 years, 29 years of making Thanksgiving dinner and this is by far the best Turkey. The unsalted butter (globs is what I call them) really do make a difference and I could actually taste the butter and dry rub all over! 22lb Turkey and not a dry piece of meat. I love the idea of an hour at 400 at the end not the beginning I truly think that helps it from drying out. I’m so happy with this and so was the Fam! Thanks for the recipe and Happy Thanksgiving 🍁🦃
Hi Sandy, we are so honored that we made it to 9. Thanks for taking the time to share with us. Happy Thanksgiving.
my butter would not stick to the turkey at all!! even room temp, with dry skin. how do you get it to stick?
Only thing I can think is that the skin was too loose. Because the skin is usually pretty tight and will hold the pats of butter pretty tight.
I made this today for Thanksgiving and had more compliments than any other recipe that I’ve tried in the past!
This is definitely a keeper and the only recipe I will use in the future.
You are so welcome Shannon! Awesome feedback, thanks for sharing.
This turkey turned out fabulous! I made it for 2 separate festivities! Everyone loved it. So easy to follow and turns out amazing! This will be my go to recipe every Thanksgiving. I didn’t have a rack that would fit inside my roasting pan, but crumpled up foil in the bottom of the pan worked just as well. Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m making a 19lb shady brook Turkey. The package says to cook for 3 3/4hrs at 325. Can this be wrong? Will my Turkey be dry if I do the 4hr low and 1at 400?
This recipe is different based on my experience. The packaging is not wrong, but there are several different ways to cook a turkey.
I have a 20 pound turkey that I just put in the oven at 325. So the foil won’t stick to the skin if it’s on there for the first 4 hours?
It shouldn’t stick to the turkey. If you have concerns you could remove it sooner, but you risk burning the top of the turkey.
Hello, I have an 8 pound turkey, because we have a pretty small group this year. Would cooking it for 1 hour at 325, and then 1 hour at 400 be the right amount? it looks like that based off the math of the other ones, just wanted to make sure. Thanks!
Yes, that is correct.
Do I need to truss the turkey?
It’s not necessary, but you can if you like.
What are your recommendations for stuffing the turkey? I have a recipe for stuffing, but do I need to do anything besides add more roasting time?
I don’t recommend stuffing your turkey with anything but aromatics. I have a great stuffing recipe here: Homemade Stuffing
The first time I ever made a Turkey I used this recipe a couple of years ago. It was the best turkey I have ever had. I have some fantastic cooks in my family and they all said the same thing. I think they were shocked at how good it was considering I was a newbie to cooking Turkeys. They all asked for the recipe. THANK YOU so much! I will be using this recipe again this year.
You are so welcome Cassie! Thanks for taking the time to share.
I appreciate your detailed post, especially the pictures. My first question is how long should I cook a 5lb turkey? My turkey is only 4.89 lbs. It is for our small family on the day of thanksgiving, to satisfy us until we have our large family get together over the weekend. I realized that your chart only went down to 8lbs. My other question is when you say dried sage, dried rosemary, and dried thyme- do you mean ground sage/ground thyme/crushed rosemary OR rubbed sage/thyme leaves/rosemary leaves?
Any help is appreciated! Thank you!!
Hi Jasmin, Are you talking about a whole turkey, or do you have a turkey breast? I haven’t cooked one that small, but given the size, I probably wouldn’t use the foil and just cook for 15 minutes per pound at 325, or 13 minutes per pound at 350. Also you can use either for the herbs, but I use ground.
So excited to make this!!! Do you take your turkey out of the fridge and let it get to room temp before putting in the oven? Or take directly from the fridge to the oven?
It will increase in temperature while you are prepping it for roasting.
I can’t wait to try out this recipe! Any favorite turkey brands??
I personally get our turkey every year from Butcher Box. However, I love a good Butterball turkey and actually Costco usually has a great turkey, but I haven’t seen any there recently.
This recipe sounds great. I have been looking at many turkey recipes to decide how to cook my turkey. Many say to start at high temperature and then turn down and also to baste the turkey. It looks like your recipe turns temperature up at end and does not require basting. Do you find this preferable. Thanks again for sharing your recipes.
Hi Lisa, Yes this method turns out great for me year after year! Cooking at a lower heat first lets everything cook, and then turning up the heat towards the end browns and crisps the skin. So juicy and moist! No basting required!
Hi, thinking about spatchcocking the turkey while using your recipe for the 1st time. Do you think it will work? Any suggestions?
Hi Marion, I’ve never spatchcocked a turkey, so I don’t know how well it works. But I know this recipe is delicious if you want to give it a try!
I cannot express how much I love this blog post and recipe. It’s absolutely perfect. It’s simple to follow. Gives you plenty of good information and tips without it being overwhelming. I didn’t have paprika or mustard powder. But I literally just made the turkey and let it rest for an hour and sliced it up and it was absolutely gorgeous and delicious! Thank you so much! I pinned the recipe for later!
You are so welcome Tammy! Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback.
I have not made this turkey yet, I plan to this year. Do you dry brine it? Or wet brine it? Can you please share your best recipe for either dry or wet brining? Thank you soo much!
Hi Mandy, No need to do either – just follow the directions in the recipe for a juicy, moist turkey!
Hi! What do you mean by covering just the breast with foil? You leave the keys uncovered? How long do you keep the foil on for? Thanks!
Hi Janine, I’m assuming you mean leave the “wings” uncovered. And yes, that is correct. Just cover the breast with foil.
Going to try to make this recipe for thanksgiving this year, if just looks so good! I was wondering what were the measurements to the gravy that was being made at the end of the video?
Hi Nicole – You can find the recipe for turkey gravy HERE. I added a link in the recipe notes and it’s in the post as well. Good luck and enjoy!
Just had a question….this recipe looks great… It’ll be my first time making a turkey this year and I just didn’t know if I used a Reynolds oven bag for the turkey if it is recommended vs. use of the foil? Just wondering your thoughts! Thanks!
Hi Sara, You don’t need to use a bag. It will steam the turkey and won’t allow it to brown.
My husband and I have used this recipe the last 2 years for Thanksgiving, and all of our family has went crazy over it!! They have all raved about how this is the best turkey they have ever had and have made my husband and I the designated turkey cookers from now on lol!! They have all asked me to send them this specific recipe because it is that dang good!! I think the pads of butter under the skin elevate the turkey to a whole new level!!
Hi Michaella, Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this awesome comment. So happy your family loves it. Thanks for stopping by.
For the garlic butter under the skin- is the recipe you linked for that proportioned already for the amount that needs to go under the skin of the Turkey? Or would you suggest different measurements. I have a 14 pound Turkey
No, it’s to make a batch of garlic butter. If you cut that recipe in half, it should be fine, but you might end up with a little leftover.
This recipe is perfect. When I first used it I got so many compliments. It was the best turkey I had ever had. It’s now my go to. Hack for those out there, Bacon Grease makes an amazing tasting alternative to butter in this recipe and it’s easier to spread around the bird. Yummm
Thank you Guppi! Love the feedback, thanks for stopping by.
So impressed with your recipe and comments. I do have a question though. I am planning to take Thanksgiving Dinner to a shut-in couple. Can I bake the turkey as per your instructions the day before, carve it, put it on a serving plate and take it to them the next day to be reheated in their oven?
Absolutely, and what a kind gesture. Just be sure to wrap it up real tight.
Soooo how do you recommend defrosting a turkey? 🤣I think that’s where I mess up! Do you leave it opened uncovered for a few days in the fridge?
Hi Beth, I usually defrost (sealed) for a couple of days, then unwrap it and remove all the innards, and place it in a large baking dish in the fridge, totally exposed, so it can dry out overnight. Just be sure that nothing is touching it.
I have used this recipe for the past few Thanksgivings and it’s always turned out fantastic. Thank you so much for your recipe! I’m wondering if there’s a roast chicken version with cook times and temperature for it. Possible to just divide the lbs and cook times?
Yes I actually have a similar recipe for a roast chicken – Roast Chicken (Whole Roasted Chicken)
I cooked my first turkey 2 years ago using this recipe. It was so easy to follow and turned out wonderful!! This is the only recipe I use!!!!
Nice! Awesome feedback Guylaine! Thanks for stopping by.
What can I use instead of ground mustard? By chance can I use regular mustard? I plan on making this tomorrow and spaced on getting ground mustard at the store. 🙁
You can omit the dry mustard altogether if you don’t have it.
Are you using a convection oven?
No, just a regular oven setting.
I’ve made this recipe two years in a row with perfect results!!! I’ve gotten so many compliments too, everyone loved it! I was so intimidated to cook a turkey but this recipe broke it down in simple easy to follow steps and a turkey that comes out moist and flavorful without basting! Thank you thank you thank you for posting!!!!!!!!!
Awesome feedback Meagan! You are so welcome! Thanks for stopping by.
Thank you you for such an amazing recipe! I did this last year and it came out so juicy! I can’t remember if I had my oven rack on low or should I raise it up a bit? Thanks in advance!
Usually the turkey is so tall, you have to lower the rack. Depends on your oven. Glad you loved it!
Thanks so much for responding!!
The best turkey I ever made. Everyone loved how moist it was. The only recipe I will ever use. Thank you.
That’s awesome Bunny! Your so welcome ! Thanks for stopping by.
This was my second year cooking The Turkey, and my second year using this recipe! 🙂 Thank you for sharing! Amazing flavor, perfect doneness, and soooo easy!
Awesome feedback Candace! Thanks for stopping by.
Sooo excited to cook this recipe for Christmas dinner. I’m planning on cooking a 20 pounds turkey so I guess I would have to cook it for 4 H at lower temp and another hour at 400. Is that correct?
Also, what’s the ratio of seasoning needed for a 20 lb turkey?
Yes it would be 4 hours at 325 and an hour at 400. Increase the seasoning by 50% or so.
What cook times for a 22lb bird?
22 pounds: 4 hours, 30 minutes at 325 degrees; 1 hour at 400 degrees.
First time trying this. I used a 24-pound turkey. I was nervous trying a new recipe on such an important day. It came out perfect. Very moist and beautifully brown. I had rave reviews from my family. This will be my go-to for Thanksgivings to come. Can’t wait to try it on chicken. Thank you.
You are so welcome Kathy! Thanks for the positive feedback.
This recipe is amazing and a keeper. The breast and dark meat are so moist and delicious. My rub was Hawaiian salt, poultry seasoning, paprika. Oranges and lemons from my trees. My friend who only eats breast meat said it was the best turkey she ever tasted. Mahalo for sharing.
You are so welcome Cynthia! Thank you for the awesome feedback.
This is my second year using this recipe. Turkey turned out great, family loved it. Thanks for sharing this.
You are so welcome Shondale! Thanks for stopping by.
This is my 5th turkey I’ve made with this recipe. I love it! The bird turns out perfect every time. Seasoning is fantastic.
Awesome feedback Janelle! Thanks for stopping by.
I’m determined to cook a delicious turkey this year for Thanksgiving. Let’s just say my family has been less than pleased the last few years. No one likes a dry and tough turkey on turkey day! Wish me luck!
Good luck! I’m sure you’ll do great!!
What if my turkey says it’s “fully-cooked” and just has oven reheating instructions?
*Also, I used this recipe on a raw turkey a couple of years ago, and it was PERFECT! So, thank you!
Follow the directions on your turkey.
I have used this recipe for several years and it is absolutely the best way to cook a turkey! Thank you for the recipe!!
Hi!!! Last minute turkey gal!!!! HELP! Do we put seasoning the night before?!!!!! HELP MEEEE!!! First timer here!
Hi! You can, but it’s not necessary. It will take 15-20 minutes or so to prep the bird with butter and seasonings, so be sure to factor that in to your time.
Hi! Just to clarify if I’m cooking a 24lb turkey I’m adding an ADDITIONAL 3hrs at 325°? 12lbs extra x 15m per lb so 180m extra. 5hrs total at 325° + 1hr at 400°?
Just want to make sure! I’ve made this recipe 3x before with much smaller birds 🙂
Yes, your math is correct. 🙂
Thank you!! So looking forward to it! It’s always amazing ❤
Is it okay to roast this without a wire rack? I only have a regular roasting pan
Yes you can do it just in a regular pan. Keep in mind that the bird with be sitting in its juices instead of raised above them, which could cause the bottom skin to be a little soggy. But it will fine.
Hi! I have rolled up pieces of heavy duty foil for the turkey to sit on in a regular roaster. Success every time! Happy Thanksgiving!!
DO I PUT THE OVEN ON BAKE, CBAKE OR ROASTING @325 ? THANKS!
Do you havepicture of turkey in pan with foil on top. I know you say to cover breasts only, but wanted a visual if you have one. Thank you!
I’m sorry, I don’t. It’s really easy!Just place the sheet of foil on top and tuck it right in the crease where the drumstick meets the breast. Good luck!
I made my first turkey ever last year. This recipe was amazing!! It was so easy and got rave reviews. Many people came up to me after dinner even “turkey haters” to say it was the best they ever had. It was moist and flavorful. I followed the gravy recipe too and it was delicious, perfectly seasoned. This is now my go to recipe for Thanksgiving.
should i cook it with roasting pan lid off or on?
You do not need a lid.
If I cook until the breast is 165 how will the thighs reach proper temp?
Because they are all cooking at the same time.
I’m a little confused on the cooking times. It says 15 minutes @ 325 per lbs of turkey. So a 10 lbs turkey would be 150 minutes (15×10) or 2 hrs and 30 mins at @325 but you listed that a ten lbs turkey should be 1 hr and 30 min and then an additional hour @ 400. So is the cooking time (15 min/lbs) for the total cooking time or is it just for the time @ 325?
Thanks, this is my first year doing the turkey and I don’t want to mess it up 🙂
I’m sorry that was confusing. The line before that statement clarifies that it’s based on a 12 pound bird. So that is your base. Anything abover 12 pounds you’ll add 15 minutes per pound. So for your 10 pound bird, you’ll actually subtract 15 minutes per pound. Hope that helps!
Ive cooked turkeys a lot of ways but this is the best recipe! Thank you! I have a question though. Should I leave my prepped uncooked turkey uncovered in the fridge 8-10 hours before cooking? I’ve heard by doing this it will give an extra crispy exterior when cooking .
I usually leave mine open white it’s defrosting, so it will dry out the skin. You could prep it the night before and that could help get the skin even crispier. However, with this method alone you’ll get crispy skin.
What would be the cooking time with a convection oven
Hi Ginger, It really depends on the oven and I have not tested this with a convection oven.
I purchased my Empire 14.6 lb. turkey a week ago and put it in the refrigerator to defrost. The turkey is still very cold. What are my options for still being able to use it for Thanksgiving?
Hi Mollie, it should be defrosted by Thanksgiving, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it.
sorry if you have already answered these questions! What salt do you recommend (kosher, table, sea?) and would you recommend salted or unsalted butter? Thank you so much!
Hi Caitlin, I recommend using whatever salt you have on hand. I personally always use kosher salt. Same with butter – whatever you have on hand. I usually just use regular salted butter.
I revisit this post every single Thanksgiving. If you ever delete it, I’m screwed! 😀 Seriously though, thank you for helping me win the holidays every year.
Ha Ha! You are so welcome Wendy! Thanks for stopping by.
Do you need to put any water or broth in the bottom of the roaster?
No water is needed.
My turkey is 21.5 lbs. Would you suggest doubling the butter, spices, onions and garlic? Also, how long would I cook at 325 degrees & how long would you still just do 1 hour at 400 degrees?
Karen, you probably wouldn’t need to double the ingredients. They just cover the surface area, but maybe 50% more. You can follow the instructions and do the calculations for the size bird you have. And yes, one hour at 400 no matter the weight.
I made this turkey recipe back in 2017 I believe and it was awesome! Few questions in preparation of this year’s thanksgiving:
How much flavor will be altered if I don’t used garlic cloves? What do you suggest instead of any garlic ingredient?
If I’m looking to cook a 15-17 pound bird, how much do I alter the ingredients?
Thank you for posting the varying cooking times as well
Hi Karissa, You can leave out the garlic. It won’t alter the flavor much. For a 15-17 pound bird, you can add a little more seaoning and butter if you want, but really you can follow the instructions and it will be fine. Enjoy!
This is my 2nd year using the recipe. This by far is the best recipe I have ever tried. However I am making a much bigger turkey this year and nervous that it will not turn out the same as past years. I have a 17 pound turkey this year. How long do you suggest I cook it for?
Hi Jenna, you can find the cook times for different size birds in the printable recipe card. Enjoy!
Hi! I made this recipe with a 10 pound turkey last year and loved it! This year I will be making a 4 pound turkey. What would the time for a 4 pound turkey be?
Hi Carrie, do you have a turkey breast or a whole turkey? 4 pounds is pretty small, so I wonder if you are talking about a bone-in breast.
I am brining my turkey this year. How would you adjust this recipe to account for brining? Perhaps not at all, but let me know. Thank you! Looks delicious.
Hi Melissa, there is no need for brining your turkey with this recipe. It’s incredibly tender and juicy just as it is. If you decide to brine, you will probably want to reduce the salt in the rub.
Great looking recipe! Excited to give it a try this year. I’ve never made a turkey but I’ve seen a lot of sites that recommend trussing. Do you recommend it with this recipe?
It’s not necessary with this recipe and method.
This is the best turkey I have ever made the breast was juicy and not dry and it was amazing. I do have to say that I didn’t do 400 for a full hour because my oven runs hot and I tempted the turkey in between 325 and 400 to see where it was at. But oh my goodness best turkey recipe ever. Thank you
You are so welcome Jessy! Thanks for the awesome feedback.
Have you ever made this in a roasting pan,I have a small oven I like to keep it open for other dishes.
If your making a smaller turkey, you can use a regular roasting pan without a rack (I think that’s what you’re talking about). Keep in mind that it will sit in the juices so the bottom will be a little soggy and not crispy.
This might be a silly question…bear with me this is my first turkey…but do I put a lid on the pan? I saw I put tin foil on the breast but wasn’t sure about the lid. I have a roasting pan with a rack.
Hi, no silly questions! You do not need to put a lid over the turkey when roasting in the oven. You cover the breast with foil to keep it from overcooking. You’ll be fine!
Thanks! I’m making this soon. It looks so easy. Crispy skin is so yummy….some people won’t try it, they don’t know what they’re missing.
You are so welcome Carolyn! Thanks for stopping by.
Thanksgiving will be here before we know it. Thank you.
You are so welcome Rebecca!
Best turkey recipe, hands down. I’ve used this recipe for the past 2 thanksgivings and anytime I just want to make a turkey (I usually pick up an extra to freeze when they’re on sale). One thanksgiving, my aunt couldn’t make the smoked turkey she normally does for our big family gathering. I whipped this baby up easily and now my aunt officially designated me the official turkey-maker after her 20+ years of being the turkey-maker!
Awesome feedback Misty! Thank you so much for stopping by.
This was hands down the best turkey I have ever made. I made it for Christmas and wow! It was so juicy and flavourful. It was so easy and straight forward. It will now be my go to recipe for making a turkey.
Awesome feedback Gabby! Thanks for stopping by.
I’m planning on making this for Christmas and am wondering, when you put it in the oven, do you cover your roasting pan with a lid? Or just the foil? Or both? ?♀️
Hi Angela, just cover the top (breasts) with foil. No lid.
I made my first turkey for our family three years ago. So this was the third year in a row that I’ve used this article. It is tried and true! I’ve made some modifications to the dry brine and aromatics. I also use a compound butter that goes on top of the turkey in addition to placing it under the skin. This year was the best turkey yet. There is one thing that I can’t figure out. I’ve followed the oven instruction to the letter. Over the 3 turkeys I’ve made, when I take the turkey out and check the thigh, it’s always ~190 degrees! What I don’t know, is when to check the temp and hot to adjust the time. I would think that you’d want the turkey at 400 for the last full hour to make sure the skin gets crispy. Now despite that higher than desired temp, the turkey has never been dry. In fact, it’s always juicy and flavorful inside with a crispy skin. So I guess I’d just like to know when to check the temp of the bird and how to adjust. Thanks for this delicious tutorials and recipe!
Hi Brett, I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! As long as the breast reaches 165, you’re good. The dark meat is often a higher temp, and that’s ok because it stays juicy.
I’m so thankful that I found this recipe! This was the first time that I had to make a turkey and I’m beyond proud to say that it was perfect! Thank you so much!
That is so awesome Kimberly! Thank you for stopping by.
You mentioned something about basting the turkey, when should that be done? Thanks
Hi Pamela, I don’t mention basting in this post, other than that’s a method I used to use. There is no need to baste this turkey.
Hi Kristen…just wanted to thank you for sharing this recipe. My husband and I usually get to enjoy our turkey day in Florida with family (we live in New York) Due to covid we spent turkey day at home with family and I hosted dinner. Followed your recipe and our turkey was AMAZING!! So very moist! Your tips, techniques and all the info was extremely helpful. If we cant go to Florida next year, this will definitely be my go to turkey recipe!?
You are so welcome Lisa! Thank you for stopping by.
This was the by far the best recipe I have ever used in cooking a turkey. It was moist on the inside and delicious all around. Well never cook a turkey any other way!
Awesome feedback RC! Thanks for stopping by.
This was the best Turkey, and I make a great Turkey to begin with! Making it this way forevermore.
Now I would love to try your roast chicken recipe! Do you have one? Thanks for this recipe and possible for a chicken one as well!
So glad you enjoyed it! And yes, I do have a Roast Chicken recipe that is similar to the turkey and totally delicious!
We made this Turkey for this Thanksgiving. It was so juicy , tender and tasty. And it was easy too. I would definitely make it again.
Nice! Thank you so much for stopping by Marcia.
Thank you, Kristin! Best turkey I have ever made! Juicy white meat, crisp skin, and delicious gravy! 40 years later and I finally and I finally found the perfect recipe!
You are so welcome Annamary! Thank you so much for stopping by.
Hello! What temperature should the Turkey be before turning the heat up the last hour?
Hi Christina, No need to measure the temp before turning up the heat.
Made my first turkey today from this recipe. It turned out wonderful. Thank you so much. This recipe is a keeper.
You are so welcome Hope! Thank you for stopping by.
I’ve been using this recipe for the last three years it is amazingly delicious and the turkey comes out ?
Thank you Tara! Thanks for stopping by.
Number 11 says roast for 2 hours. I’m assuming ignore that and stick to the chart below? Thanks for this recipe!
The recipe is for a 12 pound turkey. The chart offered in the notes gives you the formula for a larger or smaller bird.
Can I use this recipe and still use a turkey bag?
Hi Kris, I suppose you could, but the skin won’t get crispy.
Last minute shopper here and I wasn’t able to get sage or thyme. I do have the rest of the seasonings I hand as well as poultry seasoning. Any suggestions on how to switch up the portions?
The herbs mentioned are similar to what’s in poultry seasoning. So you’d be fine to just use that in place of the sage, and thyme. Poultry seasoning probably has pepper in it too.
Should I double the seasoning for a 20 pounder?
Yes you could do that. Maybe not double but 50%?
Hi – any considerations for high altitude? Cook for a longer duration?
Nope you won’t need to alter the recipe for altitude. That’s usually for baked goods.
Best recipe all around. Several people have said, “you’re doing the hard part of the meal”. Its really pretty simple with this recipe. This will be my 3rd year. I’ve had my nephews say its the best turkey they’ve had. Love it. Great for ADD moms 🙂 Thank you for sharing!
You are so welcome Annette! Thanks for the awesome feedback.
So ,you should do the butter and seasoning step then let your turkey get close to room temperature before putting it in the oven?
I’m not sure I understand your question. The turkey won’t come to room temperature just during the 20 minutes it takes to prep it. And you won’t be letting it sit out at all, it goes straight in the oven.
This is what I was referring to.
Once your turkey is fully defrosted, you can prep it for roasting using the recipe below. Allow the bird to come close to room temperature once prepped to help it to cook evenly.
Oh yes I see; this pretty much happens while you’re prepping it. But yes you can let it sit for a little bit longer.
If I don’t have a pan and rack can I still make it work ?
A pan and rack is best; however, some of the alternatives I’ve seen are using a deep baking dish and placing balls of foil, or using the ceramic insert of a slow cooker (just the insert AND only if the instructions for your device permit oven cooking). As a last resort, you can roast without a rack, the bottom would be sitting in some of the liquid but it will still cook fine.
Thank you so much ! 🙂
Hi there! I’m going to try your recipe tomorrow. So no need to baste it at all while cooking? Thanks!
Nope, no need to baste it.
I’m thinking of stuffing my bird with dressing. Should I plan on adding additional time for cooking. About how long would I add. Can’t wait to try your recipe
If you want to stuff your turkey, make sure the stuffing is completely cooled to room temperature or chilled so that the bird won’t sit at an unsafe temperature for too long. Remember that the stuffing needs to be cooked to 165 degrees F because it absorbs the drippings from the turkey.
Check out my homemade stuffing!
This will be my first time cooking a turkey this year. Quick question, If I only have salted butter should I decrease the amount of salt in the dry rub?
Honestly it depends how salty your butter is. I’ve used salted butter and not changed the seasonings, but I like things a little saltier than the average person. It would be a personal preference.
Hello. I was wondering if you HAD to use the mustard in the seasoning. If I omit it will it change the flavor of the turkey much? I’ve never used that before on turkey. Thank you.
You don’t *have* to, but it does add a goo flavor and isn’t at all overpowering.
Thank you for your reply. I will definitely do it your way. The reviews were great so I can’t wait to try this! Happy Thanksgiving!
It’s my first time preparing a turkey, do I need to baste it with this recipe?
Nope, no need to baste.
Hi there! I am looking to make this recipe for a 12lb turkey, but was intending to use an electric roaster. Are there any adjusted cooking times for that?
Hi Brittany, an electric roaster won’t give you the crispy skin, so you really should just use the times your roaster calls for.
Hi! For the foil, would I put it on the top only or the bottom and top. And by pepper I’m guessing you mean black pepper right? Thank you!
Yes just cover the breasts the best you can on the top. Also yes, black pepper. Enjoy!
This will be my second year making this turkey. Follow the recipe to a T and you will get the best, most “moistest” bird you’ve ever eaten! 🙂
Seriously, my entire family raves about the juiciness of the turkey!!
How long do I cook a 27 lb turkey in the oven
Hi Luke, just follow the instructions in the recipe card to figure out the cook time for your turkey.
Hello there..: I was wondering if I stuff the bird do I have to cook longer? I have a 20 lb turkey. Thank you!!
Hi Jessica, I don’t recommend stuffing the turkey with a bread stuffing. That said, the rule of thumb is that the stuffing has to come to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F to be considered safe to eat.
HI Kristen! Just wanted to say thank you for this recipe as i’ve used it the last three years and it has turned out awesome each time! Excited to do it again this year with my 22 pounder this year! 🙂
Due to covid we aren’t gathering with family this year. This just got decided today. So last minute first timer here. I have a small family so we just bought a fresh 6lb turkey since we are really only feeding 2 people. What would you suggest for the cool times? Thank you so much!
I would start with about 1.25 hours at 325, then uncover and turn to 400 for about 45 minutes, or until the breast is 165 degrees. Let me know how it turns out,; I haven’t tried this method with a bird that small.
So easy and it simplified roasting a turkey! I made a 20lb turkey, followed the time estimate in the recipe, only basted once when I pulled off the foil to roast it the last hour. 4 hours at 325 and an hour at 400. It came out really dark but was incredibly moist and I had a pan full of drippings! I should have checked the temperature sooner because every oven cooks different and I forgot that basic thing but the recipe is fool proof! Many thx!
That’s an excellent tip Brenda – I had mine come out a little dark the first time cooking it in my new oven. Every oven is different!
I know this is probably a stupid question, and I’m assuming since the ground mustard is part of the dry rub it is the mustard seasoning not the ground mustard in a bottle like regular mustard. Am I right I just wanted to make sure I use the right one.
You are correct. Dry mustard is similar in flavor, but a totally different ingredient.
Can you use sub fresh herbs?
Yes you can sub fresh herbs.
I’m excited to try this! Is the onion flavor for the turkey strong? My bf does not like onions and I am wondering if you have any recommended substitutions for the onion?
The onion doesn’t flavor the meat like onion, it’s used as an aromatic and doesn’t add an overbearing flavor.
Do you need the foil if you are using the kid to the roasting pan? Also does the cooking time change according to the elevation your at?
I meant to say lid ?
Hi Cindy, the lid would keep the skin from browning and crisping. I’ve never used a lid when roasting in the oven. Are you using an electric roaster? No the time won’t change due to elevation.
Hi, I’m excited to try this!! I’m cooking it today in about an hour. We have two thanksgivings a year and I always host one. I’ll return later with my true comments
I accidentally cut the ovens down a half further. Will
That alter the taste to more onion?
No it should be fine.
Hello! I’m excited to try this recipe as it sounds delicious. What are your thoughts on using an oven bag for the turkey?
Totally not needed!
Hi Kristin! I used this recipe last year to cook my first ever turkey! It was extremely juicy and skin was crispy! The dripping made an incredible gravy. Thank you for this miracle recipe 🙂
This year I will have a a couple dairy-free family members. Do you know if using margarine or dairy-free butter will have the same effect?
Hi Amy, I haven’t tried with margarine of non dairy butter, I only cook with butter. That said, it probably won’t have quite the same effect. I’d like to think it would be fine but don’t know if it could cause it to burn.
This looks delicious! Can’t wait to use it to make my first turkey ever! My bf doesn’t like onions, will there be a strong onion taste to the turkey or do you have any suggestions for substituting the onion? TIA!
The onions are used for aromatics so it won’t taste like onions.
First time doing a turkey. Do I need to baste it? If so how often, and just remove the foil and replace it each time?
Hi Sarah, there is no need to baste this turkey. Follow the recipe as written and it will be fabulously juicy!
I had Thanksgiving a few years ago for the first time and cooked my first turkey using this guide! Everyone was so amazed with how perfect the turkey was. I am having Thanksgiving again this year and using this same guide!
Nice! Thanks for stopping by Rachel.
Thank you so much for this wonderful guide! I’ve only made a Turkey once and that was 6 years ago, so I’m a bit nervous about getting it right.
I’m making a small turkey because it’s only for 2 adults and one child. How long would I cook a 6-8lb turkey for? Also, should I reduce the butter, spices and onion/garlic (for inside the bird) or just leave it the same? Thank you in advance for your help! 🙂
Hi K, I’ve got a graphic in the post that includes time for cooking an 8 pound turkey. You could reduce the amount of butter and seasonings slightly since it’s a smaller surface area.
Do you recommend brining the turkey ?
I don’t think it’s needed. You’ll get a great flavor with this recipe.
I used this recipe two years ago and it turned out amazing! Now this year I have a 20 lb turkey, how long should I put it in for?
Hi Sarah, Just follow the times listed in the recipe and add time as needed per pound. Enjoy!
Can’t wait to try this recipe!! Quick question, I have an 11.15 lb turkey how long would I cook it? Follow the 12lb turkey time?? I don’t want it to be dry.
You should be able to follow based on 11 pounds. Have a meat thermometer handy so you can watch the temp.
These are really WONDERFUL instructions for the turkey recipe! They are so clear! I have a question. I have a small oven, unfortunately. After measuring the inside cooking racks, I determined that I can safely use a roasting pan of only 13-inches (about 15-inches including the handles). Is that too small for a 12 pound bird? Or, do I have to look for the smallest turkey on the planet to fit in a 13-inch pan? Or, maybe I can only roast a turkey breast??? I live in a condo and for some reason, they allow only these smaller type ovens as built ins in the wall. CONGRATS ON HAVING SUCH A NICE WEBSITE!!!
Hi Robert, thanks for all the kind words! I wish I had a good answer for you, but since turkey can vary in size you’d have to measure. Definitely it would be a smaller bird, like around 10 pounds, but maybe smaller. A turkey breast would work. It really depends on how many people you need to feed.
I did find this resource online, that might help. https://blog.metrokitchen.com/guides/roasting-pan-guide/
Found this recipe a little while back and it’s always been a huge success! Truly mouth-watering crowd pleaser. I had always been so anxious about hosting any holiday dinners at my place as I was always so afraid of the whole “getting the Turkey right” pressure and since I found this its been a breeze. Thank you so much for sharing!
You are so welcome Daniela! Thank for stopping by.
I came across your recipe on pinterest. I had all the ingredients and thought let’s give it a try. Best cooking decision ever. The white meat was so tender and juicy. Will definitely be cooking future turkeys this way,
That’s awesome Laurie! Thanks for stopping by.
This is my go to recipe. I’ve made a lot of turkeys over the years and this is the only one I’ve consistently used over the past 4 years to glorious applause. ❤️❤️❤️This recipe Thank you
That is so awesome! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your experience.
I found your recipe on Pinterest a couple of week ago and made it today for our Christmas turkey. It is by far the best turkey I have ever made, and the gravy is delicious – no additional seasoning required! Thank you so much for your detailed instructions (fool proof!) and for taking the time to share. Merry Christmas!
You are so welcome Teresa, thank you so much for taking the time to leave some positive feedback
This is my go to recipe every holiday and always turns out 100% everyone always compliments the flavor and tenderness …. I have brined the turkey over night … this Christmas 2019 the brining left my brain – completely forgetting…. glad to read that this recipe doesn’t require brining …. will keep you posted ?✨?
Thank you Tiffany! Yes please, let us know how it turned out. Thanks again for stopping by.
I made this for Thanksgiving and it was the best turkey I ever made , everyone loved it . Making one for Christmas too
That’s so awesome Teresa! Please let us know how it turned out. Thanks for stopping by.
Can’t wait to try this out! I assume you meant 2 hours at 325F for a 12 pound turkey instead of 12 hours 🙂
You’re right, thanks for catching that and letting me know.
Hi if I would like to stuff dressing in it. How long and what temp I need to cook the turkey? It’s 12 lbs.
I don’t recommend stuffing the turkey because this can cause bacteria to form. The stuffing itself would have to reach the same 165 degree temperature to be considered safe to eat, which could end up overcooking your turkey.
Can this recipe be used for just a Turkey breast? Since there’s only 3 of use I don’t want to have a lot of leftovers that would be thrown away…
I haven’t tried this exactly on a turkey breast, but yes it should work.
Thanks for sharing! Do you have some recipes for using up the leftovers?
Shepherd’s Pie: https://www.yellowblissroad.com/turkey-shepherds-pie-or-chicken/
Turkey Tetrazzini: https://www.yellowblissroad.com/turkey-tetrazzini-casserole/
Turkey & Stuffing Casserole: https://www.yellowblissroad.com/turkey-and-stuffing-casserole/
Turkey Cranberry Pasta Salad: https://www.yellowblissroad.com/turkey-cranberry-walnut-pasta-salad/
This is so helpful! Turkey can be so intimidating but with the right tools it is so simple!
Thank you Suzanne!
I have a convection oven. Would you suggest I use the same temperature & adjust the time?
Use the same temperature. You shouldn’t need to adjust the time.
Hi there! Do you brine your turkey with this recipe?
No brining is necessary.
Easy way to a delicious moist turkey. Was in a panic because cord to turkey fryer was missing so had to plan to roast at the last minute. Outstanding results.
Hi Tracy, sorry about the missing cord. Glad it all worked out. Thanks for stopping by and leaving some positive feedback.
This was a hit! Everyone raved about how juicy and flavorful the turkey was! I will be using this recipe from now on!
Nice! Thanks for stopping by Jessica.
I was wondering if I can make a whole chicken with this same method. I made my Turkey this way and it was great!
I actually use a similar method for this recipe here: https://www.yellowblissroad.com/roast-chicken-whole-roasted-chicken/
Glad you enjoyed the turkey!
I made my first turkey this year! This recipe saved me! Everyone raved how good it was. So simple and easy to follow!
That’s so awesome Lauren! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave some positive feedback.
I followed your recipe precisely. The turkey turned out perfect, golden brown, juicy, tender and very flavorful. My family loved it, thank you.
You are so welcome Kathy, thank you so much for taking the time to leave some positive feedback.
Thank you so much! This is the best easiest juiciest turkey I have ever ate! My family loved it
That’s awesome Amanda! Thanks for stopping by.
I just did my first turkey ever with this method! We only had 8 people and two of them children, so I went with the 12 lb bird. Followed directions. It was PERFECTLY delicious, flavorful and juicy. Because I was in charge of many other dishes, I did use store-made gravy. But I have saved the drippings from my turkey roasting pan and I’m looking forward to making some amazing soup. Yum yumm and I don’t usually even love turkey. I’m in it for the mashed potatoes and sides. But this turkey was outstanding. It gave me confidence for next year. It was that good.
That’s awesome Angela! We love to hear about first time stories. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave some positive feedback.
This was the best turkey ever! The recipe was spot on with seasoning and time. Turned out moist, so flavorful and golden brown. This will forever be my go to recipe. Thank you so much for sharing.
You are so welcome Laura, thank you so much for taking the time to leave some positive feedback.
I followed this recipe today and it turned out amazing!! It was my 1st time attempting Thanksgiving dinner and it was a success!!
What about basting it? Do I need to?
No need to baste.
Last year was the first time I cooked a turkey for my family. I researched tons of recipes and and dozens of do’s and donts. I was overwhelmed. I came across your recipe and thought OMG this is so simple, I have all the ingredients, and I’m all about using aromatic herbs to cook. I tried it and it turned out soooo good. So good that this is the recipe I’m using again this year. It’s in the oven as we speak. Thanks for sharing!
I made this recipe last year and my husband said it was the best/moist turkey he’s ever eaten.
This year it’s just my small family. What time would you recommend for cooking a 5 lb turkey?
That’s a small turkey! I think you could follow the same method and maybe cook it for 45 minutes at 325 and 45 minutes at 400. But I’ll be honest I haven’t cooked a turkey like this that’s that small, so proceed with caution and keep checking the temp.
Thank you for this recipe and all your great tips.
You’re welcome! Happy Thanksgiving!
This is my third year hosting Thanksgiving and second year using this recipe. Everyone loved it last year! Pretty sure this is my go to recipe from here on out! Thank you!
That’s awesome, happy thanksgiving!
Hi, will there be enough juice at the bottom of the pan to make gravy?
It will vary depending on your turkey, but yes there are juices. I recommend having some chicken or turkey broth on hand to supplement.
Hi what if you don’t have a rack for the turkey to sit on?
You have two options. Either crumple up some balls of foil for it to sit on or don’t worry about it. It won’t ruin your turkey to not have the rack.
So I have 16pd frozen turkey what’s the quickest way to defrost it so I can put the dry rub on it
It takes several days to safely defrost your turkey. A 16 pound should defrost in the fridge for about 4 days.
Hi! So I have a roasting pan that you plug in and sits on the counter, will the cooking time vary because of that or stay the same?!? Thank you!!
This is a different method and will produce different results.
You’re probably busy like me finishing all of the side dishes! I usually put some sprigs of rosemary and thyme along with onion and citrus in the cavity. will that fight with the rub?
You could do that. I love aromatics.
This worked perfectly. Everyone thought I was a rockstar!
That’s great Sarah-Marie!
Hi, do I use Convection Roast or regular Roast in my Oven? Also, where should I put the Turkey, lower in the oven or in the middle?
I loved that reciepe, I’ve done it last year.. yummi!!!
Regular roast is fine.
Ok… sorry, I reread and figured-out how to calc my own timing. But am curious about the temp of dark meat. Various sources say cook dark to 170-175.
How do you manage that when pulling the turkey (breasts) at 165? Does the foil actually do the trick so that the breasts are 165 and the legs are 175?
If you answer before tomorrow, Thanksgiving, that would be so fabulous. Thank you.!
Hi Melissa, Not sure what sources you’re citing, but 165 degrees is for all poultry, regardless of cut.
Would you recommend seasoning it the night before? If so should I still add the butter?
You can prep it all the night before with the butter and seasoning added if you like.
Even with the onion in it?
Or wait to add onion when it’s cooking.
It would be ok to leave it in. But if you’re concerned about the odor you could wait til cook time.
I have a 25 pound turkey. What is the timing of 325/400? How long at each temp?
5 hours, 15 minutes at 325 and 1 hour at 400.
Hi, I just came across this recipe, and I am for sure going to try it. However, I brined my turkey for the last 24 hours (water/salt/pepper/tarragon). Would I still do the rub or eliminate the rub all together? Not sure how to season it at this point.
Honestly, I’ve never brined a turkey before so I can’t say how that would come out. I would be cautious with the seasonings though.
Thanks for a great recipe. My mother-in-law made the turkey for 25 years. Last year was the 1st time I was in charge of cooking the turkey. I have 5o make 2 20 pound turkeys to feed the 25+ people that come to my house. I used your recipe last year and my turkeys came out perfect. I have to cook them the day before then debone them and reheat in gravey the next day. Everyone loved it. Working on turkey #1 using your recipe again.
You are so welcome Karen!
Hi! What would you say for time using a 15lb turkey?
Hi Haley, as stated in the recipe, you will add 15 minute increments. So if it says 2 hours and 30 minutes for 14 pounds, then you will ad 15 minutes to that. Still cook at 400 degrees for an hour.
Ok, 19.31 lb turkey..how long? I’m not going back to the store!! Crazy people everywhere!! Can I omit the mustard seasoning and use minced garlic inside ? thanks so much for this recipe!! I’m praying everything turns out better this year then last ( not all the way cooked and they haven’t let me live it down)
Hi Ronnie, you can use whatever seasonings you like; those won’t alter the flavor too much. I’d be careful with adding too much garlic though 0 and I LOVE garlic. You just don’t want it to be too strong for those who don’t. Cook according to the directions for a 19 pound bird. Use a meat thermometer to know when it’s done.
Thanks for this great recipe! I made it last year and had so many compliments. Just to confirm, my turkey this year is 11 lbs so I’d do 1 hour and 45 minutes at 325 and then an hour at 400 correct? I hope you have a happy thanksgiving!
Yes that is correct! Happy Thanksgiving!
Can this be done in a roaster? And would you still mold the foil to the breast?
You can cook a turkey in a roaster, yes. But you wouldn’t need the foil.
You’re the best!! You give great advice & the best recipes. Keep up the great work.
Thank you Misty! I appreciate that!
What gravy do you use?
I just make a roux and use the turkey drippings. There’s a link for a great recipe in the post.
Hi there! I made your turkey recipe last year and it turned out awesome (13lbs). This year, we have a 24 pound bird! Any tips on how long it should be in the oven? Thanks!
Follow the same rules of 15 minute increments.
Hi! Do you start timing the hour while it’s heating from 325 to 400 or do you wait till its at 400 to start timing the last hour?
It won’t take long to go from 325 to 400. You can time it either way. Just follow the temperature requirements with a meat thermometer.
Hi. After the turkey is cooked I also have to make several sides which will take roughly 2 hours. Do you suggest that I pull the turkey out before internal temp reads 160 degrees and then just cover it with foil and let it finish cooking that way? So maybe pull the turkey out of the oven around 155 degrees?
No, definitely don’t do that. It needs to cook to 165 degrees in order to be safe. You want to plan ahead and prepare as many sides in advance as possible. Some can cook in the oven with the turkey, on a lower rack, and do as many on the stove as you can.
Thermoblog actually recommends a PULL temp of 157.
Read here: https://blog.thermoworks.com/turkey/turkey-temps/
Love your recipe!
I calculated 5.75 hrs at 325 degrees for a 27lb turkey(I know I am crazy!!) then add an hour at 400 degrees? just making sure this is correct
Yes that is correct. And that is a BIG turkey.
I have a 23 lb Turkey how long at 325 and how long at 400 degrees?
Doing the math as specified in the notes, you will cook the turkey at 325 for about 4 hours and 40 minutes. Then like the recipe says, an hour at 400.
Are you basting the turkey throughout it being in the oven to keep it juicy?
Nope! No need to baste!
I used this method last year for my first ever turkey. Definitely doing it again! Quick reminder to novices to check the thigh for temps. I checked int he wrong spot and got a much higher reading…I was terrified. All unwarranted. The bird was crispy on the outside and so tender and moist inside!In addition to garlic and onion, I add a bay (sauteed in butter) to the cavity and throw some carrots, celery and onions in the pan and add about a cup of chicken stock. You can also experiment with the brine seasoning. You really can’t go wrong. This roasting method makes a Heavenly bird!
Thank you Brett for stopping by and sharing your positive experience.
Do I need to put any liquids in the bottom of the pan?
Nope! Just follow the recipe as written.
Did you use a turkey bag, or no? And do we need to put a little bit of water in the bottom of the roasting pan? I plan on buying my first roasting pan this year!
Nope, just follow the recipe as written and it will be delicious!
Can I do this method with a roaster? I won’t be able to use my oven!
We have used a roaster and it doesn’t come out the same. Still tender and juicy, but not crispy. However, yes you can use the roaster.
Hi! When you increase the oven temp from 325 to 400 do you leave the turkey in the oven or take it out while the temp increases? Thanks!!
Great question! Leave the turkey in the oven. It won’t take long to come to temperature.
okay awesome! Thank you!
Hey I plan to do this recipe for thanksgiving. Does the mustard make the turkey spicy at all? I ave few people that dont like any type of spicy.
The ground mustard isn’t flavored the same way as liquid mustard so you’ll be fine.
what about basting the turkey ? should we do that at all? and also i am planning to make a gravy that uses all the drippings from the turkey. Does this recipe dry up all the drippings during the 400 roasting period.
i plan on cooking a 16 pound turkey.
No need to baste! The foil covering the breasts helps to keep the turkey moist and juicy.
Can the dry rub be mixed with the butter and spread under the skin?
Yes that could work.
I put the dry brine on the night before and then put a compound butter all over the bird Thanksgiving morning (in addition to what I had put under the skin) and it came out great.
My husband and I have used this recipe the last two years and plan on it again this year! We use a 23 lb turkey so we amp up all the ingredients and roast time but it comes out perfect every time! We do add carrots and celery under the bird for aroma but besides that we don’t change a thing. Thank you!
You are so welcome Shannon, thank you so much for taking the time to leave some positive feedback.
Doesnt the butter burn when it gets to its smokepoint of 350, and fill kitchen with smoke?
No, it won’t burn. It will help the skin get crispy.
This sounds amazing! I am hosting a small gathering (4 people) this year and will be preparing a bone-in turkey breast. Any advice on how to prepare and cook that is similar? This is my first time cooking turkey. Thanks!
I haven’t tried this method with just a turkey breast, but I’m sure if you adjust the cooking times it would work. I also have a recipe HERE if you want to try it in an Instant Pot.
I made this turkey last year for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. They raved about it for months and I craved it all year. LOL
Now I am back again to print out the recipe and rock this years Thanksgiving too. I figured I’d better leave a review since this bad boy clearly earned it.
Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!
That’s awesome Danielle! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience.
Does cooking time change if using a roaster oven? I read they cut cooking time by 30%, this is going to be my first turkey so dont want to screw it up and i like having the main oven available for heating side dishes. Thank you in advance!
For an electric roaster, follow the directions on the appliance. I have not personally used one.
looks great cant wait to try.
Hi! I am doing the Turkey this year for the first time this Thanksgiving! So nervous! But I’m going to try this recipe:). Just one question, have you ever added stuffing to the cavity of the bird?
My mom used to do that method, but I have never tried it. The thing with stuffing is that you have to cook it to a high temperature in order to ensure it’s safety.
I have never ever left a review before, but I felt this was the perfect one to break the ice. I have used this EXACT recipe for the last 2 thanksgivings AND Christmases…the only time we have ever “Hosted” as a family…and this Turkey has come out PERFRCTLY every, single, time! The tips you share about using a little roasting rack, and keeping the breasts covered in foil for the 1st part of the baking, and the BUTTER stuffed under the skin is BRILLIANT. My family and guests have raved about this being the best Turkey ever…and I obviously agree. I am 9 months pregnant, and Canadian Thanksgiving is in 3 days and I am hosting again and the Turkey is literally the least of my worries. It’s so easy and painful less…and the results yielded are amazing! We are 4 adults and 1 toddler…I made 13-14 lb turkeys, followed your advice for the size/weight…we had plenty of leftovers and it was the perfect size for us. I cannot wait for Monday to enjoy this meal!!
That’s so awesome to hear, Cat! Thanks for sharing!!
Hi! So excited to try this for this weekend. Is it possible to put the rub on a day in advance to enhance the flavour? Our turkey is currently thawing in the fridge so I am wondering if it would make sense to try to get the spices on Saturday so it’s extra flavourful Sunday when we are cooking!
I think that sounds like a good idea but I haven’t tried it. Be careful as the spices can really make your fridge start to be quite aromatic!
Any way to cook this turkey on a super low temperature for a longer period of time and get the same results? We usually cook our turkey during the night so it’s ready first thing in the morning. We’re in charge of the turkey this year and we have a far drive so we won’t have time to cook it during the day!
I suppose you could cook it that way, but it won’t yield the same result. The flavors would still be good but you won’t get the crispy skin and may lose moisture.
When you say 2 pounds of turkey per person does that include the bone? If you have 5 people a 10 pound turkey should be enough?
Yes the portion size given is based on the actual weight of the bird.
so you don’t need to spread any oil or butter onto the outside of the turkey before putting on the dry rub?
Nope, just exactly as written! 🙂
Kristin, great job with this recipe. I made it last week for our family get together and they loved it. -Joe