A Moist and Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

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Easy instructions on how to perfectly roast a moist and juicy Thanksgiving Turkey.  So full of flavor and tender, it’s the tastiest  turkey we’ve ever had!

how to roast a thanksgiving turkey from zagleft

I’ll always remember the first turkey I ever roasted.  It was a few months after EJ and I were married and I was asked to make a Thanksgiving turkey for EJ’s entire family!

I’m not completely sure how I ended up with the task of roasting a turkey.  I joke with EJ’s mother that I think it might have been some kind of test. I adore EJ’s mom but twenty-six years ago, she was just getting to know me and she may have wanted to see how I’d hold up under such intense pressure.

Since this was before Google, I can remember calling up my mother and asking her to walk me through the turkey roasting process. After hours of peeking at the bird in the oven and a lot of nervous hand-wringing, I’m happy to report that the turkey came out moist and delicious and Thanksgiving dinner was saved.

I’ve roasted a Thanksgiving turkey every year since and each year it gets tastier and tastier.

Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe from ZagLeft

Start off by removing the turkey from the wrapper.  Take out the neck and giblits from the two body cavities, rinse the turkey off and then pat it dry with paper towels.  Treat the turkey just as you would raw chicken.  Wash your hands after touching the turkey and be sure to use a separate cutting board and utensils to avoid contamination.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper inside the turkey cavity.  Stuff the inside of the cavity with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves of garlic and 1 sliced lemon.

How To Roast a Thanksgiving Turkey from ZagLeft

How To Roast a Thanksgiving Turkey via ZagLeft

 Place the turkey in a large roasting pan, pour 1 stick melted butter over the top and sprinkle the top of the turkey with salt and pepper.

Preparing to Roast a Thanksgiving Turkey from ZagLeft

Roasting a Thanksgiving Turkey from ZagLeft

Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and cook.  Periodically, baste the chicken with the hot pan juices.  This makes the meat super moist and tender.

Follow the guidelines below for the appropriate cooking times based on the size of your turkey.

When you’ve got about an hour left for the turkey to cook, remove the foil cover and place back in the oven to finish cooking.

To check for doneness, temperature on a meat thermometer should be 170 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh.

Let the turkey stand for 15 minutes before carving.

If you like to serve wine with your Thanksgiving dinner, I think a dry Rose’ or a Pinot Noir go very well with turkey.

Butterball.com is a great place to go if you have any turkey roasting questions.  Either log onto their website and chat with their Turkey Talk-Line experts or call them at 1-800- 288-8372.

Butterball has a calculator and conversion table that can help you calculate and convert everything from the size of your turkey to how much time you’ll need to thaw or cook it.

Thank you so much for reading!

A Moist and Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Turkey so full of flavor and tender, it's the tastiest turkey we've ever had!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 6 people
Author: Joanie Zisk

Ingredients

  • 15 pound turkey
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon slice lemon in half
  • 4 oz butter

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Remove the turkey from the wrapper. Take out the neck and giblits from the two body cavities.
  • Rinse the turkey off and pat it dry with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper inside the turkey cavity. Stuff the inside of the cavity with the rosemary, onion, garlic and lemon. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan and pour the melted butter over the top. Sprinkle another teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper over the top of the turkey. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and cook for 3 1/2 - 4 hours depending on the size of the turkey.
  • Carefully remove the turkey from the oven periodically and baste with the juices of the turkey. Return to the oven and continue cooking. When there is an hour left for the turkey to cook, remove the foil cover and place the turkey back in the oven to finish cooking. After the turkey has cooked, remove from the oven and cover again. Let the turkey stand for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Notes

According to Butterball, here are the approximate roasting times for unstuffed turkeys based on size... 10 to 18 lbs. - 3 to 3 1/2 hours / 18 to 22 lbs. - 3 1/2 to 4 hours / 22 to 24 lbs. - 4 to 4 1/2 hours

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