This Easy Thanksgiving Turkey recipe takes the guess work out of cooking your holiday bird. Seasoned with a simple herb butter, this turkey roasts to golden brown flavorful perfection–no basting required!
Why this Recipe is Best
Hosting the holidays this year and need the PERFECT turkey recipe? I’ve got you!
- Juicy turkey with no basting!
- Rubbed with herbed butter for amazing flavor.
- Stuffed with lemon, orange and herbs.
- A turkey recipe easy enough for even novice cooks to make.
By eliminating the need for basting, this recipe creates juicy turkey with less effort and time than traditional recipes.
How much turkey do I need
To figure out how much turkey you need, consider both the total number of guests at your meal and how many leftovers you want.
Not interested in leftovers? One pound of turkey per dinner guest should be plenty.
How to make herb butter for turkey
Here’s what I use to make the herb butter in this Thanksgiving turkey recipe:
- softened butter
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- minced garlic
- dried rosemary
- dried thyme
- dried tarragon
- rubbed sage
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Then, rub the herb butter under the turkey skin. This locks in moisture as the bird cooks and makes the skin beautifully browned.
Instead of needing to constantly open the oven door to add juices to the bird (basting), you can focus on preparing your side dishes and desserts. Or just relaxing with your guests!
Tips and Tricks
- This recipe uses dried spices–not ground. If you only have ground herbs and spices, use half the amount listed in the recipe. If using FRESH herbs, use twice the amount!
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before cooking.
- Store leftover cooked turkey in the refrigerator. Use within 3-4 days.
- For longer storage, you can freeze cooked turkey tightly wrapped for 3 to 4 months.
- The herb butter, fruits and vegetable amounts in this Thanksgiving turkey recipe are enough for a 12 -20 pound turkey. Adjust the amounts as needed for the size of your bird.
- SAVE THE DRIPPINGS. Use our fool proof turkey gravy recipe with the drippings from this recipe. All those herbs and fruit make for the best flavor!
- Use the leftovers to make turkey hand pies!
The best way is to loosen the wrapping and place the frozen turkey breast side up on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator to thaw. Keep in mind that a a frozen turkey needs 24 hours thawing time for every four pounds of turkey. Plan ahead of time to ensure your bird is thawed completely by Thanksgiving day!
There is no stuffing in this recipe. Stuffing your turkey with stuffing lengthens the cooking time makes the turkey dry. Instead, we fill the cavity with citrus and fresh herbs, which help flavor our turkey gravy too!
Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh meat. It should register 180 degrees F when fully cooked. Many turkeys come with a built in thermometer to make checking the temperature easy.
If your turkey skin is turning brown long before the insides are cooked, create a foil tent to cover about 2/3 of the turkey for the remaining cooking time.
Resting the turkey for 30 – 45 minutes before carving allows the juices to redistribute. This makes the turkey juicier and more tender when carved. While the turkey is resting you can make your gravy or prep your side dishes.
To reheat leftover turkey, place it in a baking dish and cover with a small amount of broth. Reheat in a 325 F oven until the turkey reaches 165 F. Don’t let any of that delicious bird go to waste! Save some of these ideas for recipes to make with leftover turkey to enjoy your homemade roast turkey for days!
More Thanksgiving Dinner Sides
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Oven Baked Mashed Potatoes
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Classic Stuffing Recipe
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
- Pecan Pie
The easiest Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe you’ll ever make! Impress your dinner guests with beautiful, juicy turkey–made from scratch with love.