Learn how to make the juiciest and easiest Thanksgiving Turkey recipe! The garlic herb butter gives it an incredible flavor that infuses throughout the crispy golden skin.
When your turkey is done roasting, save those turkey drippings and make a belly-warming turkey gravy that your guests will RAVE over!
The BEST Thanksgiving turkey recipe
We all know that wonderful time of year where we get to cozy up in our homes and enjoy comforting holiday dishes like garlic bacon green beans, cranberry jello salad, cornbread, and pumpkin cheesecake. And the most intimidating one of them all is the TURKEY. Let me tell you, it’s not as scary as it sounds! Follow along and see how EASY it is to make the PERFECT Thanksgiving turkey recipe.
How to make a turkey
- Turkey seasoning– This is where you want to actually keep it simple. No need for a crazy array of spices. I love using Johnny’s seasoning salt to coat the outside and cavity of the turkey.
- The garlic herb butter– Make sure to soften your butter before mixing it with the freshly minced garlic and chopped herbs. This will make it so much easier to get a smooth consistency. It will also spread very evenly under the skin of the bird.
- Turkey stuffing– Some people like to use fresh bread. I love using pepperidge farm herbed stuffing mix since I mix it with chicken broth and sauteed vegetables later.
- Fill the cavity and roast– I always make the stuffing the night before and keep it ina separate bowl until the turkey is ready for the oven. Once I stuff the cavity with the bread stuffing I place it in an oven bag so that it keeps all the delicious juices inside as much as possible.
How to keep a turkey juicy
The best and fool-proof way to keep your turkey flavorful and succulent is by placing it in one of those turkey oven bags. This will create a steamy environment for the bird so it locks in all those flavorful juices of the turkey seasoning and herbed butter.
Thanksgiving turkey ingredients
How long to roast a turkey
The time it takes to roast a whole turkey will depend on the size of the turkey and whether it’s stuffed or unstuffed. Here is a guideline to follow when roasting a turkey.
- 10-18 pounds- stuffed (4- 4 1/2 hours) unstuffed (3-3 1/2 hours)
- 18-22 pounds- stuffed (4 1/2-5 hours) unstuffed (3 1/2-4 hours)
- 22-24 pounds- stuffed (5-5 1/2 hours) unstuffed (4-4 1/2 hours)
What temperature to cook a turkey
Typically the higher the temperature the longer the roasting time. So if you were to cook a 15-pound turkey at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, it would be done in about 3 hours given it’s stuffed with stuffing. Make sure to use a meat thermometer and check for the thickest part of the breast to read at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to make turkey stuffing
- Sautee the vegetables– You want to cook the celery and onion in a skillet with some olive oil and butter until they soften.
- Mix with stuffing– Now you can place the dry stuffing mix into a large bowl and mix it with the cooked vegetables. No need to season since the stuffing is pre-seasoned.
- Add the chicken broth– since I make the stuffing the night before, I don’t mix in the broth until the next day where I stuff the turkey and roast it.
How to keep stuffing from getting soggy
We all know the dilemma pf wanting a juicy turkey but trying to avoid a soggy stuffing. This is why I buy the dry type od stuffing mix. By the time the turkey is done, the turkey juices have perfectly fluffed the bread stuffing.
Best sides for turkey
- Rich turkey gravy
- Cranberry sauce
- green bean casserole
- mashed potatoes
- steamed corn
- scalloped potatoes
- Cheesy stuffed bread rolls
How long can I keep a cooked turkey in the fridge?
After your turkey is cooked, you can store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Full Recipe Instructions
Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe with Bread Stuffing
- 15 lb. Turkey
- 4 tbsp Johnny's seasoning salt (or to taste)
For the herbed butter
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temp
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
- 5 leaves fresh sage
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups onion chopped
- 1 1/2 cup celery chopped
- 16 oz pepperidge farm herbed stuffing mix
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
Season the turkey (inside and out)
- Pat the turkey dry and season the cavity with Johnny's seasoning salt. Put a handful of the seasoning salt in your hand and spread the salt under the skin and on top of the turkey.
Make the garlic herb butter
- Finely chop the thyme, rosemary, and sage. In a small bowl, combine the chopped herbs with minced garlic and softened butter.
- Spread the butter and herb mixture under the skin as well.
Make the stuffing and fill the cavity of the bird
- In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the chopped celery and onion, and sauté until the onion is translucent.
- Combine the dry bread stuffing with the sautéed vegetables. Then add in the chicken broth. If you prefer to prep the stuffing the night before, don't add the chicken broth until you are ready to cook the turkey.
- Stuff the front and back of the turkey with the stuffing, then tie the legs with kitchen twine.
Place in a roasting pan and cook
- Place the turkey into an oven bag and puncture the top of the bottom with a knife about 15 times. I puncture the button so that the drippings fall into the bottom of the pan for later use.
- Cook in a deep roasting pan at 370 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the turkey is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. I stick my meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey to measure, either leg or breast.
What to make with leftover turkey
This recipe was originally published on Nov 20, 2015. We have tweaked it a bit since then.
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I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time ever this year so it was also my first time roasting a turkey. Not to brag, but it turned out pretty good. My husband was skeptical about the bag but this recipe was so delicious and easy to follow that he asked why we don’t roast a turkey more often and just use the meat throughout the week.
So happy to hear that Betty! Glad that this Thanksgiving turkey recipe was easy to follow, and that it made your first Thanksgiving hosting a memorable one 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your awesome feedback! I hope you find many more delicious recipes on my food blog 🙂
Zhanna Kartyshev says
Looks absolutely amazing
Thank you Zhanna!
So that’s the secret! LOL I think mom does hers in a bag 🙂
I’ll have to do it this way this year.
Anna, if you roast your turkey in the bag, let me know how it turns out 🙂