The best easy and juicy thanksgiving turkey recipe that packs all of the flavour and juiciness you expect from the perfect Thanksgiving turkey, without the stress! There is a step-by-step guide for cooking the perfect turkey.
Let’s go ahead and go over the basics– the do’s, and the don’ts– for How to Cook an Easy and Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe:
What size turkey to buy for Thanksgiving dinner:
1 1/2 pounds per person is the turkey to serve on Thanksgiving.
If you serve 10 people on Thanksgiving, choose a bird that is 15 to 20 pounds.
The meat-to-bone ratio for birds that weigh less than 12 pounds is two pounds per person.
How to thaw your turkey:
Allow plenty of time for your turkey to thaw. One day in the fridge for 5 pounds of turkey is a good rule of thumb. The turkey should be set on a cookie sheet or pan to catch any liquid as it thaws in the fridge.
Is turkey better if you brine it:
The turkey stays juicy when it is brined. The turkey gets nicely seasoned since it absorbs salt as well. The turkey is more tender because the salt breaks it down.
Don’t baste the turkey:
Basting a golden brown turkey is not necessary. It also requires you to open the oven frequently, which causes the oven to lose heat and the turkey to take longer to cook, which could lead to a dry turkey. The skin of the turkey will brown beautifully if you put a herb butter mixture over it.
Don’t cook stuffing inside the turkey:
If you put stuffing inside the bird, it will be too hot to eat by the time it reaches a safe temperature. Cook your stuffing in a casserole dish. You can add flavour to the drippings/stock by filling the turkey’s cavity with things that will give it flavour. A mixture of onion, apple, carrots, celery, or citrus with salt and pepper.
Do test the turkey with a thermometer.
The only way to tell if the turkey is cooked is by using a thermometer. If the turkey reaches 160 degrees F, I take it out and tent it with foil. It will cook inside the foil tent to make up for the extra 5 degrees.
Do let the turkey rest.
After removing the turkey from the oven, allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes or up to 35 minutes, which will give you more time if you need to bake or warm anything else in the oven. If you are using the drippings for gravy, remove the turkey from its pan to a cutting board, and tent it with foil while it rests there. Leave the turkey in the pan and tent if you aren’t using the drippings.
Save the turkey drippings.
There will be juice and cooked bits at the bottom of your roasting pan after the turkey is done cooking. It’s possible to reserve all of it for turkey gravy. The leftover neck and giblets can be used to make giblet gravy. The most delicious gravy!
How to prepare an easy and juicy roasted thanksgiving turkey recipe.
Remove the turkey from the package. The bag of giblets can be found in the smaller neck of the bird. Save them for gravy. The turkey should be dried with paper towels.
The turkey needs to be seasoned with salt and pepper. It should be stuffed with lemon, onion, apple and herbs.
Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan, or on top of a bed of chopped veggies, if you want to use a disposable roasting pan. Tucking the wings makes the turkey sit flatter.
Use your fingers to loosen the skin above the breasts and smooth the herb butter underneath.
Tie the turkey legs together with twine. The turkey should be put in the rest of the butter.
That is it! The oven is ready to do the rest of the work for the easy and juicy thanksgiving turkey recipe.
You should check the turkey about halfway through cooking. If the skin is golden, place a large piece of tinfoil over the breast meat to keep it from cooking.
- 1 12-20 pound turkey
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 apple (your favourite kind), quartered
- 0.75-ounce container of fresh rosemary
- 0.75-ounce container of fresh thyme
- 0.75-ounce container of fresh sage
For the herb butter:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- fresh chopped herbs
- If the turkey is frozen: For every 5 pounds of Turkey, keep it in the fridge for 24 hours. I like to have an extra day to be safe.
- The turkey should be removed from the fridge 1 hour before roasting.
- The turkey will sit in the centre of the oven if you adjust the oven rack. The oven should be at 325 degrees F.
- The herb butter can be made by combining room temperature butter, garlic, salt, pepper, freshly chopped Rosemary, freshly chopped thyme, and freshly chopped sage. You can use the remaining fresh herbs for stuffing the turkey.
- The neck and giblets of the turkey need to be removed from the inside of the bird. If you want, you can reserve them for gravy. The turkey needs to be dried with paper towels.
- Rub the turkey with salt and pepper. It should be stuffed with lemon, onion, apple and leftover herbs.
- Use your fingers to loosen the skin above the breasts and smooth the herb butter underneath.
- The herb butter mixture can be microwaved for 35 seconds. To brush the herb butter on the turkey, legs and wings, use a brush.
- Put the wings of the turkey underneath the turkey and put it in a roasting pan.
- Roast at 325 degrees F for about 13-15 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature reaches about 165 degrees.
- Once it reaches 160 degrees, I remove the turkey from the oven. I put it on the counter and let it rest. To reach 165 degrees F.
- When the turkey’s skin is golden brown, cover the top of the turkey with tin foil to protect the breast meat from overcooking. During the last hour or so of cooking, you can take the foil off and let the turkey brown.
- Allow the turkey to rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Reserve any drippings and juice remaining in your roasting pan to make turkey gravy.