Easy, Foolproof Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

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 turkey recipe off stress free!

Thanksgiving turkey, roasted and stuffed with onions, in a roasting pan

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 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.

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!

roasted turkey with crispy skin on a cutting board

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 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 them from drying out. 
  • 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.
  • 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 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 rack to hold the 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.

raw whole turkey on a cutting board

How to Prep a Turkey for Roasting

Remove from packaging and remove extra parts. Remove the fully thawed turkey from it’s 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.

hand slid under skin on a turkey breast

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.

pats of butter placed underneath the skin on a turkey

Add seasoning and aromatics. Mix together the dry rub, and 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.

whole raw turkey on a roasting rack in a pan

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!).
  4. 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.
graphic showing how to cook a turkey with times, temps and how many servings
onions stuffed in a roast turkey in a roasting pan

Frequently Asked Questions

How many pounds of turkey do I need?

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.

How long do you cook a turkey?

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.

How do I keep my turkey moist?

One of the best tricks we have for keeping your cooked turkey juicy and moist – 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 the light meat, this method lets the thighs and legs get their roast on while the breast gently cooks.

How do you know when the turkey is done?

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.

turkey leg and slice of breast meat on a white plate

Expert Tips

Every year we get lots of questions for 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 dripping for gravy. Cook the stuffing in a baking dish, like my Classic Sausage Stuffing or Bacon and Onion Stuffing.
  • Save the turkey drippings. The dripping are used to make the gravy, and the flavor will compliment beautifully.
turkey breast, spoon with gravy, green beans, mashe dpotatoes

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 reheating 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!

sliced turkey breast on a white plate, turkey on a cutting board

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.

If you’ve made this recipe, please come back and leave us a star rating or a comment below. Or, tag us on social media @yellowblissroad or #yellowblissroad for a chance to be featured.

Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

A Thanksgiving Turkey that's so juicy with a crispy skin. Easy step-by-step tutorial, even first time cooks can pull this turkey recipe off stress free!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 50 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 12 people
Calories 454kcal


  • 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

Dry Rub:

  • 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.


This recipe is for a 12 pound bird. You will add 15 minutes per pound at the 325 degree cooking time. The temperature increase at the end does not change. Here is a handy list of how long to cook your turkey at different weights:
  • 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.
If you have questions, please be sure to read the entire post – we answer lots of questions and offer tons of helpful tips and tricks!


Calories: 454kcalProtein: 70gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 232mgSodium: 361mgPotassium: 721mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 180IUCalcium: 35mgIron: 3mg
Keyword how to cook a turkey, thanksgiving turkey, turkey recipe

Julie Espy

Food nerd. Cocktail enthusiast. Carboholic. Bacon addict. Basset nuzzler. Boy mom. Come eat something delicious with me at Bread Booze Bacon!

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    1. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. Hi Kristen,
    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? ?‍♀️

  5. 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!

    1. 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.

  6. 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!

    1. 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.

  7. 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!?

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

    1. The recipe is for a 12 pound turkey. The chart offered in the notes gives you the formula for a larger or smaller bird.

  12. 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?

    1. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. So ,you should do the butter and seasoning step then let your turkey get close to room temperature before putting it in the oven?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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!

  15. 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?

    1. 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.

  16. 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.

      1. 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!

  17. 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?

    1. Hi Brittany, an electric roaster won’t give you the crispy skin, so you really should just use the times your roaster calls for.

      1. 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!

  18. 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!!

    1. 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.

  19. 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! 🙂

  20. 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!

    1. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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?

    1. The onion doesn’t flavor the meat like onion, it’s used as an aromatic and doesn’t add an overbearing flavor.

  23. 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?

    1. 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.

  24. 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

  25. Hello! I’m excited to try this recipe as it sounds delicious. What are your thoughts on using an oven bag for the turkey?

  26. 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?

    1. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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?

    1. Hi Sarah, there is no need to baste this turkey. Follow the recipe as written and it will be fabulously juicy!

  29. 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!

  30. 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! 🙂

    1. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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.

  33. 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!!!

    1. 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/

  34. 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!

  35. 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,

  36. 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

  37. 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!

  38. 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 ?✨?

  39. I made this for Thanksgiving and it was the best turkey I ever made , everyone loved it . Making one for Christmas too

  40. 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.

    1. 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.

  41. 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…

  42. 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.

    1. Hi Tracy, sorry about the missing cord. Glad it all worked out. Thanks for stopping by and leaving some positive feedback.

  43. This was a hit! Everyone raved about how juicy and flavorful the turkey was! I will be using this recipe from now on!

  44. I followed your recipe precisely. The turkey turned out perfect, golden brown, juicy, tender and very flavorful. My family loved it, thank you.

  45. 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.

    1. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. I followed this recipe today and it turned out amazing!! It was my 1st time attempting Thanksgiving dinner and it was a success!!

  48. 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!

  49. 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?

    1. 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.

  50. 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!

    1. It will vary depending on your turkey, but yes there are juices. I recommend having some chicken or turkey broth on hand to supplement.

    1. 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.

    1. It takes several days to safely defrost your turkey. A 16 pound should defrost in the fridge for about 4 days.

  51. 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!!

  52. 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?

  53. 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!!!

  54. 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.!

  55. 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.

    1. 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.

  56. 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.

    1. 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.

  57. 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)

    1. 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.

  58. 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!

    1. 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!

  59. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

        1. 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.

  60. 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

    1. 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.

  61. 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!

  62. 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!

    1. 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.

  63. 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!!

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

    1. 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.

  66. 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!

  67. 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!

    1. 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.

  68. 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!

  69. 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!

  70. 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?

    1. 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.

  71. 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!!

  72. 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!

    1. 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!

  73. 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!

    1. 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.

  74. 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?

  75. so you don’t need to spread any oil or butter onto the outside of the turkey before putting on the dry rub?

  76. Kristin, great job with this recipe. I made it last week for our family get together and they loved it. -Joe

  77. Fantastic recipe. I made this recipe as is, only adding an apple to the cavity of the bird, for Thanksgiving. Everyone loved it. A tip to folks new to cooking a turkey: my bird was 14 pounds so I added a bit of cooking time as appropriate. If your bird is smaller than the 12lb turkey listed in the recipe, reduce the cooking time, if larger, add time. Note that add or reduce time to the initial lower temp roast. Still do the hour at the higher temp to get the crispiness and cook the breasts once the foil has been removed.

  78. My first time making a Turkey and decided to use this recipe. It was a great success!! Very tender, juicy and flavorful! Thank you!!

  79. I used this recipe for our christmas dinner last night and it is hands down the best turkey I’ve ever had. Everyone LOVED it! Our triplets are 18 months old and they are pretty picky but they gobbled it down. This will be my go to recipe from now on, thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  80. I just used this recipe to cook my Christmas turkey and it was absolutely fabulous!! Best turkey we’ve ever had!! Super flavorful and juicy. Absolutely perfect. Thanks so much for the recipe!!

  81. Thank you for the recipe, I plan on using this to make our first turkey on christmas. One question, do we use the convection roast setting on our oven or our baking setting? I have never actually “roasted” anything and wasn’t sure if it matters. Thanks again!

  82. I was planning on buying a 16 pound turkey but they only had a 22 pounder. I’m planning on using your recipe for Christmas lunch. Any idea how long and what temp for this guy? Thanks so much!

  83. Thank you so much for this recipe. Made my turkey this way for my crew at the firehouse and it came out awesome! Will definitely keep in our cookbook! Do you have cook temp/times for chickens?

  84. I typically make my holiday turkey using Alton Browns recipe but, this year had no time to brine they turkey. Soooo very glad I didn’t plan my time right so I could happen upon your recipe! By far, the best turkey I’ve made. Better then Alton Brown’s recipe! Seriously! AND I DIDNT HAVE TO BRINE!! YAY!! I had a 20 lbs turkey, cooked in a roaster (to save oven space) that was moist and flavorful. Whole family loved it and agreed that this is our new holiday turkey recipe! Thank you so much!

  85. This recipe is the best even for first timers like me. I baked a 22-lb butterball turkey. Not only it was the highlight of the occasion, but my ‘o my it was so tender and juicy that will stay in my guests memories forever. Thank you so much for sharing this in pinterest.

  86. Hey Kristin!

    Thanks for such a wonderful recipe. I am really very excited to cook the turkey following this recipe this year. I have two questions actually. Can we first cut the whole turkey into pieces before baking? So the spices can get inside the turkey as well? My second question is can we use other vegetables for the stuffing? If so, what vegetables would you suggest? Thanks again for the recipe. 🙂

    1. You can stuff any veggies you like inside – I’d recommend the basics like carrots and celery, but it’s up to you. The onion really does add flavor without being overpowering. I wouldn’t cut the turkey up with this method as it would completely change the recipe.

  87. I can’t wait to try this! I’ve only cooked a turkey once and it was flavorless so this will be my second shot. My question is this (I didn’t see it mentioned in comments)… what do you do about gravy?

  88. This was my first turkey and it was a total success! I used the cook times listed as a guide to plan for sides going into the oven at the end but ultimately used a meat thermometer to determine doneness. The turkey was indeed one of the best that I’ve ever had! Thanks for all of the great tips!

  89. The last hour I added a glaze of 1/2 cup me!ted butter or olive oil with 1/4 c maple syrup. This gave the bird the most wonderful brown and tasty skin.

  90. Made the turkey with the make ahead mashed potatoes. Both were absolutely delicious and easy! Thank you so much for easy good recipes!!

  91. I used this recipe to make my first turkey yesterday and it was delicious and juicy! My mom has always used a cooking bag and encouraged me to do the same, saying the turkey would dry out if I didn’t baste it constantly. So I was very nervous to buck the “tradition” in case I screwed up – but this is the best turkey we’ve ever had! I hosted a dozen people and they all specifically mentioned how moist and yummy it was. Thank you!

  92. Made this today for Thanksgiving and it was definitely the best turkey I’ve ever made! Before now, I’ve tried brining, injecting , turkey cooked in the oven bag and spatchcocking ….BUT this recipe was by far the easiest and the most moist! Thank you thank you THANK YOU! I’ve found my forever turkey recipe??????

  93. Thanksgiving 2018! I made this recipe for Thanksgiving today and it was fantastic!! It was my first time hosting Thanksgiving and the turkey was a hit. Thank you for sharing your recipe and I plan to use it again!

  94. This was fantastic and so much easier than I’ve done in the past. Thank you for sharing. This will be my go-to recipe from now on!

  95. Thank you Julie for this recipe. This was my first time hosting Thanksgiving and the turkey came out juicy and delicious. I’ll definitely be doing this again next year, and for any chickens I may roast in the future. Trust this recipe, you won’t be disappointed.

  96. I was skeptical but thank you so much. The turkey was great. I didn’t have sage or paprika so I used Cajon sesoning. This is a keeper.

  97. Made this tonight and it was amazing. It was s moist and flavorful. This was my first Thanksgiving in my new home and it was a great holiday. Thank you so mucn

  98. Thanks for a great recipe! I needed to cook 2 12 lb turkies, so this was easy to follow. I only made a few changes: oranges, onion and minced garlic in the cavity. On one turkey, I used herb butter under the skin and combo of a turkey rub and salt for the seasoning. I don’t know if this was necessary, but I fed tress the legs…I’m paranoid about dry meat?. I got a ton of compliments from my friends and family. All the tips and answered questions were very helpful! Thanks again for a great recipe and resource?

  99. I followed this to a T for Thanksgiving this year and it came out flawless! My family loved the flavor and crunchy skin. Wrapping the breast in foil kept most of the juices inside the turkey, so no complaints of dryness whatsoever! There was enough juice in pan to make a great turkey gravy for 6. Many thanks for this simple and delicious recipe! Even the food critic of the family said this was the best turkey they have had.

  100. This was the best turkey recipe! Thank you so much for the dry rub. I did add a bit of poultry seasoning from my health store (simply because I had it on hand) and also added a halved apple to the cavity. It was wonderful and moist. My husband said it was simply perfect. Thank you so much!

  101. I’ve tried bags, basting ect. This is by far, the easiest best turkey recipe I’ve ever used. Once you get it ready, you can forget it until you take the foil off and increase the heat. It comes out perfect moist and delicious. My new favorite.

    1. I would let it rest and just carve it when you’re ready. You can always carve and then heat up in the oven for a few minutes.

  102. This little bugger tricked me! It was my first time doing this recipe. My Turkey was almost 11 lbs. I’m an oven peeked… there were no drippings at first and he looked really dry. Nonetheless I followed the recipe to the T and it turned out perfect! Super juicy and reallllly tasty! Will make again for sure! Thank you for this recipe!!! It’s a winner for sure!

    1. Best comment award! Thank you for sharing your experience – a lot of people are worried while the turkey is cooking!

  103. Hi Julie!

    I’m trying this recipe today with an 8 lb bird. Does that mean the cooking time would be an hour at 325 and an hour at 400? I have a thermometer I will use to check the internal temp of the breast and thigh, but if the internal temp isn’t high enough at the end of the cooking time, do I just leave it in longer at 400? Will that dry out the bird? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Yes that is correct – one hour at each temperature. Yes you could leave it a little longer at 400, but you shouldn’t need to.

  104. I used this recipe last year and it was a major hit! Everyone begged me to make it the same. I’m excited to host Thanksgiving at my house and hopeful it turns out as good this year as it did last year!

    1. I would just leave the ground mustard out if you don’t have it. This is a dry rub and the wet mustard could affect the crisping.

  105. I just found out yesterday I’m hosting Thanksgiving. What is a safe and effective easy to thaw an 18 lb turkey in one day? Also I dont have a roasting pan so would it still turn out good in an aluminum roasting pan?

  106. Hi there! This is my first time making thanksgiving dinner and I am using this recipe. I have a 14.80lbs turkey. I do not have a roasting pan so I picked up an aluminum one at the grocery store. I was planning on chopping up some carrots and sweet potatoes for the bottom of the pan to help elevate the turkey. If I do that should I add chicken stock/broth as well? If so, how much? Also, I was late with thawing my turkey. I put it in the fridge last night, should I use the sink method of thawing tonight or tomorrow (thanksgiving) morning? Please and thank you!

    1. Follow the instructions and add time accordingly. You will need to use your judgement on seasoning amounts since that is such a large bird.

  107. I followed this recipe exactly with one minor twist and it was amazing! The only thing I did different was used the roasting pan to cook bacon first so that I could use the bacon grease with basting and for gravy at the end. It was the best, most delicious, and moist turkey I’ve ever made. I might have a heart attack tomorrow but it was worth it Thanksgiving only comes once a year right?!) This is definitely the recipe I’ll be following from now on!

  108. Great recipe and ideas. My only negative is your recommended thermometer. I used to own the ThermoPro in your link but found it to be a cheap knock off of a much better instant read thermometer, which is the ThermoPop from ThermoWorks. It was slow, inaccurate, cheaply made and the trash after 2 uses. Thermoworks also makes an awesome leave-in thermometer called the Chef Alarm–THE BEST for roasting turkey! I think you’d be doing your readers a big favor by recommending the best tools in the industry. Otherwise, great stuff. Love your recipes and your site!

  109. I am using this for my FIRST turkey on Thursday. I’m going to actually put the rub on the night before and let it act as sort of a dry brine. And I’m makinga n herb butter to put under the skin. 21.5 ;bs for the turkey and 12 people (that includes teens\tweens, too.) Wish me luck!

  110. Could use coconut oil (hard) instead of butter? I am trying to keep it 100% dairy free. If not is there another alternative you suggest?

    1. Earth Balance has a great butter substitute that I plan to use! I’m also dairy and soy free so I get their soy free butter. my WalMart carries tubs of Earth Balance butter, but the only place I have found buttery sticks is at Whole Foods. It works for every recipe and is by far the best tasting replacement I’ve found!

  111. Hi! I didn’t see any responses to those who asked about using an electric roaster, rather than the oven due to space saving. Anyone have success using the electric roaster?

    1. The thing with the electric roaster is that the skin will not brown. You could definitely use this recipe however the method wouldn’t yield the same results as in the oven.

  112. I’m doing a 19 pound bird. What degrees and for how long should I cook it? Obviously this is my first time by myself cooking a turkey. Thanks.

  113. Hello,
    2 questions for you!
    I get a fresh turkey from a local farm and this year the turkeys were on the smaller side, so I needed to order 2. How do I adjust cooking time for a) fresh turkey (every year its done so much quicker than I anticipate based on weight, only thing I think is different is fresh versus frozen?) abd b) for 2 smaller turkeys versus 1 bigger one? Thanks!

    1. Hi Michele, I guess it would depend on the size of the birds. I don’t know why they would cook so much faster. I would make sure to have a good digital thermometer on hand so you can check the temperature. The breast should be 165 degrees.

    2. Hi! Just wondering is this a regular oven or convection times? Just wonderingly if the times would be different if using the convection setting on my oven?

  114. I am cooking a 20 lb turkey along with a 6 lb turkey breast using the same rub and butter for both. How long and at what temp should I cook the just the breast? Do I still cover with the foil at beginning? Thank you!

    1. Cooking the breast on it’s own would be different than a whole turkey. Is it bone-in? Because that would make a difference.

  115. Hi, I’m planning to try this recipe and was a little confused about the foil placement. When you say just on the breasts, do you mean to have the foil directly on top of the turkey and tucked under the legs to just cover the breasts?

  116. Hello! I made this recipe last week, using a 6 pound turkey, it was my test run prior to thanksgiving coming up here next week. Any suggestions for now using this recipe on a 16 lb turkey? Also, a few people are telling me to use a bag with some flour. I’m torn, because I did this recipe and loved it, but nervous replicating on such a bigger turkey. And I’ve never used a bag before? Also, do you spray your roasting pan with cooking spray? That is one thing I did wrong I think, and the spray on the bottom of my roasting pan (under the rack) burned I think. Any help or hints are appreciated!!

    1. Hi Katie, I think you should give the recipe a try on the 16 pounder! You’ll add about an hour to the 325 degree cooking time (keep the 400 degree time at an hour). Don’t use a bag and don’t spray the pan. I think you’ll do great! Good luck!!

      1. okay part 2, should i even bother with the chicken stock at the bottom still if i’m doing a pan, no rack?

  117. My sister just asked me to make the Thanksgiving turkey this year. I’ve never made a turkey and honestly not a fan. But I am going to try this recipe. Hoping it turns out!! I’m so nervous

  118. Would I be able to prep this the day/night before? Including butter and seasonings then let it sit in the fridge overnight and cook day of? Would it let the flavors seep in more?

  119. I am so excited to try this turkey recipe, this is my first time cooking a turkey for me and my husband! We will only have a 10lb turkey. I see your guide says to cook a 10lb turkey for 1.5 hours, at what time exactly would I turn up the heat to get the skin crispy and golden and to what temperature?

  120. Hello!

    I am excited to try this for my first Thanksgiving dinner! Can you make gravy from this recipe? or do you make/buy separate. I am sorry if someone already asked-I did look and didn’t see any other comments about gravy.

  121. Hello! As most people are saying this is my first time cooking a Turkey all on my own. I’ve been told to put It in a cooking bag, but I don’t wanna mess with this recipe. Is it possible to use the bag and does it really help all that much? When I bought my Turkey they only had 10 pound or 15 (ugh!) So I’ve got a 15.35 pound one. Besides adjusting the time, so I adjust any seasonings?

    1. This recipe doesn’t use a bag and it’s not needed. If you want to use a bag, I’d follow the instructions on the packaging. You can adjust the seasonings slightly by adding a pinch more of everything if you like. Good luck!

  122. Hi! Recipe looks delicious!

    I will be cooking my first turkey ever for a friendsgiving I am having this weekend and I just had a couple of questions.

    1) How long should I take the turkey out of the freezer for it to thaw out.
    2) I have a 15.86 pound trueky. I know you had stated to add an extra 15 minutes per pound. Should I round it up to 16 pounds or just leave it at 15.
    3) Finally, does the rack really matter? I’ am using one of those disposable trays to cook the turkey in and dont have a rack. Would I need one?

    Thank you so much for your help in advance.

    Happy Holidays.

    1. Hi Jonathon!
      1) A day in advance, as it will take about 24 hours per 4-5 pounds of turkey to thaw completely in the fridge. For your 16 pounder, I’d give it at least 3 1/2-4 days.
      2) Round up!
      3) The rack helps the air to circulate completely around the turkey, so it’s not sitting in the juices.

      1. Just wanted to say THANK YOU so much. My first turkey was such a big success. Everyone enjoyed it and spoke how moist it was and how turkey is usally really dry and once I told them it was a dry-rub they were even more surprised. Everyone took home left overs. Thank you so much. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Holidays.

        * P.S. – I will be making one of you side dishes this thanksgiving! Can’t wait!

  123. I used this rub last Thanksgiving & will continue to use for every Turkey. It has a fantastic flavor! Thanx for sharing:)

  124. My ‘Fanny Farmer’ cookbook says to cook a turkey for 15 minutes per pound if the bird is under 16 pounds…so a 12 pound turkey would take 90 minutes based on those instructions – as well, it is to start breast down, turning upright after one hour.

    Would your instructions of covering with foil and leaving breast up the entire time provide the same intent of a moist breast…and not get dried out cooking for 3 hours unstuffed?


  125. Can I switch the garlic and onion in stuffing and instead make a traditional stuffing with bread, carrots, etc?

  126. So last year was the first time I ever made a Thanksgiving dinner (I was 24). I was definitely nervous when I was making it, I thought it’d all be terrible. Thankfully, it all turned out okay, and everyone absolutely LOVED the turkey!! It was so delicious, and I was told to use this recipe from now on, haha. I cannot wait for Thanksgiving so I can use this recipe again. FIVE STARS!

  127. Hi. Just a quick question – I noticed you started at a low temp and then adjusted to a high temp which is usually opposite. Just want to make sure that’s correct? Won’t 400 degrees at the end dry it out?

  128. I’ll admit I was nervous trying this recipe today because I had to use what I had at home on hand. That meant I had to use ground sage & minced garlic instead, I was also working with a 23 pound bird! YIKES!!!! BUT, it turned out amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  129. I made this tonight with a 21 lb turkey. I had used brining method. I was a bit too busy this time so I decided to try this method. It turned out the turkey breast was just as juicy as it was brined. I am very impressed, so were my family. Thanks for sharing.

  130. I made this over the holidays and everyone said it was the best turkey they ever had! I will always use recipes calling for butter under the skin, this has given me success with juicy white meat every time. I slightly tweaked the cooking time based on other cooking recommendations, as we had other items needing certain temps in the oven and we didn’t want to eat late at night—we had an 18-lb bird and got home later than planned during the day! So we cooked it at 400 the first hour and 350 the rest of the time. This worked perfectly and sped things up without sacrificing flavor or moisture—seriously, this saved us an hour! I did have to also cover up the wings with foil to prevent burning and let it rest about an hour before carving. The best!

  131. So turkeys in the oven – high hopes – any suggestion for the onion / garlic that was stuffed in the cavity – can this be used (in soup or stuffing or ??) or is it just a throw away?

  132. I see many asking if you cover your roaster or not. Im not seeing you have answered it anywhere. Unless I over looked it. My turkey is in as we speak…. uncovered (yikes! I hope I chose coreectly!)

  133. Let me say that I am not a huge fan of turkey… never have been… however, I have a family that are members of the cult of turkey… they can’t get enough of it. Every year I begrudgingly make one and gag as they eat it it… I tried your recipe and followed it to the letter just to change things up a bit and not only did it smell amazing while it was cooking (I cooked mine in an oven bag and then took it out to brown the skin) but I just want you to know that YOU and this glorious recipe are singlehandedly responsible for moving me to the realm of turkey. It was delicious and all 15 pounds of the turkey was totally picked clean by the 8 people having dinner at my house. Well done to you!

    1. What temp did you use for cooking in the oven bag? I see the directions on the box say to cook at 350, but this recipe says to cook at 325.

  134. Hello I’m cooking this in a roasting pan that comes with a lid, should I put the lid on it or leave in uncovered in the oven?

  135. I am planning on making this turkey today but my turkey is only 6 lbs! I’m wondering how long I should cook it for?

  136. so I did everything to the T for this recipe.. even the dark meat is like beef jerky it is so dry and I am extremely disappointed. What a waste of a good turkey

    1. You are literally the first and only person to have a negative experience with this recipe. I wasn’t in the kitchen with you so I don’t know what happened but I’m sorry that it didn’t turn out for you.

        1. I’m sorry it didn’t turn out for you. I’ve followed this recipe myself and it’s out perfect. Can’t say what happened because I wasn’t with you in the kitchen, but I hope you’ll give it another try.

  137. Hello! Have you ever tried a vegan buttery spread instead of butter? I have a few dairy intolerant family members and I’m trying to find a recipe! Thanks!

  138. Thanks for the recipe. I’m planning to try it this weekend but only have an 8lb turkey. Do you know how I should adjust the cooking times? Thanks very much.

  139. This turkey recipe was a HIT!! Delicious, juicey and the skin was crunchy. Traditionally we’ve used a bag method for baking our turkey but no more 🙂
    Thank you!

  140. So this is my first year cooking a turkey, and I’m incredibly nervous. Your recipe doesn’t seem too intimidating, although I do have a couple of questions. First, I don’t own a roasting rack to put into the pan… would you say that this is necessary?

    Also, I’m cooking for a large group and have been given not one but TWO 12 lb turkeys to cook. Do you have any ideas for how I’ll need to adjust the time as I try to cook 2 turkeys at once?? Will this really double the time?

    Thank you!!