The BEST Thanksgiving Turkey recipe
The BEST Thanksgiving Turkey recipe that packs all of the flavor and juiciness you expect from the perfect Thanksgiving turkey, with none of the stress! Plus a step by step tutorial for how to cook the perfect turkey. Not only is this roasted turkey recipe fool-proof and easy to make, it will exceed expectations as the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving feast!
Why in the world do people stress so much over their Thanksgiving Turkey? Ok, I guess it IS the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal. And that usually means you have a table full of people not to disappoint. Ok, I get it. It’s a big deal.
My hope is to squash any fears or insecurities you might have about cooking a perfect, beautiful Thanksgiving Turkey. This method is completely fuss-free and EASY. There’s no brining or basting the turkey, no cooking it upside down, or anything weird.
You don’t even need an expensive roasting pan. I’m convinced that this recipe is not only the simplest way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey, it also yields a gorgeous, super juicy, perfectly cooked turkey.
The real KEY to baking a perfect Thanksgiving Turkey is not to overcook it–that’s what dries out the meat, and you want to carve into a juicy, moist turkey on Thanksgiving! So, just plan ahead to get the timing right.
Let’s go ahead and go over the basics– the do’s, and the don’ts– for How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey:
What size turkey to buy for Thanksgiving dinner:
First things first: Buy about 1.5 pounds of turkey per person. (So if you’re feeding 6 people, buy at least a 10 lb. turkey). That way you’ll have leftovers.
How to thaw your turkey:
Make sure and allow plenty of time for your turkey to thaw! A good rule of thumb is to allow one day in the fridge for ever 5 pounds of turkey. I always give myself one extra day, just to be safe. Set the turkey on a cookie sheet or pan, to catch any liquid the turkey may drip as it defrosts in the fridge.
Don’t wash the turkey.
If you wash your turkey in your sink you will just contaminate your sink. Remove the turkey from it’s packaging, dry it off with some paper towels, and then prepare it for the oven. Any bacteria on the turkey will be killed in the hot oven while it bakes.
How to Cook a Turkey
You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make this top-rated Thanksgiving turkey recipe:
- Season the turkey: Stir together parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon-pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Rub the cavity of the turkey with the herb mixture, then stuff the cavity with celery, orange, onion, and carrot.
- Prepare the turkey: Place the turkey in a roasting pan lined with foil long enough to wrap around the bird. Pour Champagne and broth over the turkey, making sure to get some of the mixture inside the cavity.
- Roast the turkey: Bring the foil over the turkey and seal. Roast in a preheated oven until the juices run clear. Uncover the turkey and continue roasting until the skin turns golden brown.
Why Do We Eat Turkey On Thanksgiving?
Turkey may or may not have been on the menu at the 1621 harvest meal that Americans call the First Thanksgiving. In fact, experts think venison was likely the star of the show.
The roasted turkey had become synonymous with Thanksgiving until the 1800s, when savvy poultry producers launched a post-Civil War marketing campaign that prompted people to eat more turkey — especially around the holidays.