The PERFECT Thanksgiving Turkey recipe that packs all of the flavor and juiciness you expect from your Thanksgiving Main Attraction. WITH NONE OF THE STRESS!!!

This roasted turkey recipe is fool-proof, easy to make, and will be the unequaled centerpiece of your Thanksgiving table.

Let’s Start With The Basics For How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

What Size Turkey To Buy For Thanksgiving Dinner:

We like to use a 22-25 pound turkey so we have plenty of leftovers for creating new dishes for at least the next 2 nights after Thanksgiving (don’t forget to check out our recipes for “Turkey Enchilada Casserole” and “Pulled Turkey Sandwiches”). 

If you aren’t interested in lots of leftovers buy about 1-1.5 pounds of turkey per person.

How To Thaw Your Turkey:

Defrost turkey in the refrigerator. Plan ahead allowing approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds. Place the turkey in a container to prevent the juices from dripping on other foods.  We always give ourselves one extra day, just to be safe. 

No Need to Brine:

If you buy a high-quality turkey from the store, then brining the turkey is unnecessary. You can do it if you want, but you can still achieve a deliciously moist turkey without brining it.

No Need to Baste:

Basting is unnecessary to produce a beautiful golden brown turkey with our Overnight Turkey recipe. Constantly opening the oven causes the oven to lose heat and the turkey to take longer to cook leading to a dry turkey. By smearing an herb butter-oil mixture over the outer and inner skin of the turkey you will ensure the skin will brown beautifully, and taste amazing. And leaving the oven closed will result in a deliciously moist turkey.

Cook Stuffing In A Casserole Not In Turkey:

If you put stuffing/dressing inside the cavity of the bird, the turkey will be overcooked by the time the stuffing reaches a temperature that’s safe to eat and the stuffing will be a soggy mess from the extended slow roast. Instead, cook your stuffing in a casserole dish. Then you can fill the cavity of the turkey with the things that will give it flavor and add flavor to the drippings/stock.

Do Use A Thermometer:

The only way to really tell if the turkey is cooked (165’ F), is by using a thermometer. Test the turkey right from the oven. When it reaches 160’ F, we take it out and leave the foil tent on while resting. It will continue to cook inside the foil tent to make up that extra 5’ F. 

Let Turkey Rest:

Remove the turkey from the oven, letting it rest for at least 15 minutes and up to 40 minutes (we use this extra time to bake or warm anything else that needs oven time). If you’re using the drippings for gravy, remove the turkey from its pan to a cutting board. Be sure to put the foil tent on as it rests there. If you’re not using the drippings, then just leave the turkey in the pan.

Time To Get To Work:

  • 1 turkey, 22-25 pounds
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (can also melt butter)
  • 3 tablespoons Del’Oliva Tuscan Herb Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon coarse BFF Kitchen Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon BFF Kitchen Parsley
  • 1 tablespoon BFF Kitchen Italian Seasoning
  • 2 cups chicken stock

The Night Before Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving eve night, clean the turkey by removing the innards, rinsing, and patting dry. Loosen turkey skin so you can get your hands between the skin and meat.

Finely dice the onion and 4 cloves of garlic. Combine onion, garlic, butter, oil, pepper, parsley, and Italian seasoning in a bowl. Set aside ¼ cup of the mixture. Smear the rest of the mixture under and over the turkey skin, massaging it in well.

Add the saved mixture to the chicken stock and pour it into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Tent the turkey with foil. Ensure the foil is tightly crimped around the pan to hold in steam and moisture while cooking. If your turkey is 18 lbs or below and you want it ready for a 12 noon* serving time, place turkey in 200’ F oven and go to bed at midnight. Set alarm for 8 am.

If your turkey is over 18 lbs and you want it ready for a 2 pm* serving time, place turkey in 225’ F oven and go to bed at midnight. Set alarm for 8 am.

Thanksgiving Morning

When the alarm wakes you, remove the turkey from the oven and check the temperature at the breast with a meat thermometer. Once the turkey breast has reached a temperature of 160’ F, increase the oven temperature to 350’ F. Remove the foil tent and save for later. Roast for another 30-45 minutes on 350’  until the skin is browned and crispy and the meat thermometer reads 165’ F.

Let the turkey rest while you use the oven to finish baking the rest of your feast.

If you’re using the drippings for gravy, remove the turkey from its pan to a cutting board and use the set-aside tent to cover it while it rests. If you’re not using the drippings, then just leave the turkey in the pan and place the tent over the turkey.

*This method of slow-roasting the turkey will guarantee a moist turkey so no worries if preparing the sides takes a bit longer and you don’t serve until an hour later. Just keep the turkey covered with the foil tent until you are ready to carve it. You can use some clean dish towels over the foil tent to slow the cooling.

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