How To Cook A Turkey – You don’t need to salt and you don’t need to water. Just a few simple steps and you will have a perfectly browned, juicy and incredibly delicious roast turkey recipe that will impress your family and guests.
There’s something about cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving that intimidates a lot of people. I understand this completely. I remember being intimidated the first time I cooked a turkey. Is it because you don’t want to waste a big holiday meal with all your friends and family… am I right?
How To Cook A Turkey
But the fun part is that cooking a turkey is really easy! Think of it like cooking a very large chicken. It may take longer to cook, but other than that, the process is pretty similar.
Roasted Turkey Recipe
Sure, some people like expensive equipment, gadgets, smokers, and flavors, but you don’t need any of that to make a classic, ultra-tasty, juicy turkey. Just follow my Thanksgiving game plan so you know what to buy and when to cook. Then follow the recipe and tips given below. Easy!
I also add vegetables (like celery, carrots, and onions) to the bottom of my turkey when I roast it. This is not required, but I recommend it. Not only will it enhance your turkey recipe, but it will also take the flavor of your turkey gravy to the next level.
The general rule of thumb is 1 pound turkey per person. Or a pound and a half of turkey per person if you want leftovers (and we always want leftovers, right?). It’s always better to have a little too much turkey than not enough, so I recommend:
Thanks don’t do that! Remember that a large turkey will take a while to thaw in the refrigerator. Each 5 pound turkey takes about 24 hours to thaw properly. My recommendation: Buy your turkey at least a week before Thanksgiving. Then, let it thaw in the refrigerator 3 to 4 days before the big day.
Roast Turkey Recipe
You will just contaminate your sink and kitchen and spread the mess. We have talked about chicken before and the same applies here. Any bacteria present on the turkey will die in the oven during cooking.
For fully cooked turkeys, cook them separately. If you overfill the turkey cavity, it will slow down the cooking time. And besides, it is best to stuff the turkey with spices and herbs that give it flavor and moisture. So cook your stuffing in a casserole dish.
You’ll need three basic kitchen items to roast a turkey: a roasting pan, a thermometer, and a sharp knife.
Defrost and remove offal. Once the turkey is thawed, leave it out at room temperature for an hour. Remove the offal bag and neck, which are in the larger cavity and sometimes in the smaller neck cavity (check both areas to make sure you’ve taken everything out). You can save or discard these items for the sauce.
How To Cook A Turkey For Thanksgiving With Video • Bread Booze Bacon
Dry and fill. Pat the turkey dry with a paper towel. Removing any excess moisture makes the skin crisp. Then sprinkle salt and pepper inside the turkey and fill the cavity with quartered onions, lemon and fresh sprigs of herbs. If anything, consume less sage than other herbs, as it is more potent.
Make herb butter. Make the herb butter by whisking together the softened butter, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme in a small bowl.
Spread the herb butter all over. Loosen the turkey skin over the breasts by gently sliding your fingers underneath. Add about 1/3 of the herb butter and spread it evenly under the skin. Spread remaining herb butter all over outside of turkey.
Don’t worry about your feet! Resist the urge to tie off the turkey legs. Yes, it makes the turkey picture perfect, but the truss prevents air from circulating properly, causing the meat to cook unevenly. So even if your mom (and maybe grandma) did it, skip it.
Easy Roast Turkey Crown
Cook the turkey. Place the turkey on a roasting rack or on a bed of vegetables (or both, which is what I do). Then there’s only one thing left to do: cook the turkey!
Ready for some good news? Since we haven’t stuffed the turkey, it will cook about 30 minutes faster. On average, plan on about 15 minutes per pound of turkey. But remember that the best indicator is temperature. You want to cook the turkey to 158° to 160° F (measure at the thickest part of the thigh or breast). But here’s a guideline:
Keep an eye on your turkey when it gets closer to 75%. Then check the temperature every 10 minutes. Remember that ovens may cook slightly hotter or cooler. If you notice that the skin is browning too quickly, you can always place aluminum foil on top.
Once you remove the turkey from the oven it is important that you let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the juices to be redistributed throughout the meat, making this turkey a juicier one. Better to have a juicy turkey than a wet cutting board!
Simple Roast Turkey Recipe
Now all that’s left is to admire your beautiful turkey, carve it, make delicious turkey gravy, and surprise your guests. Just follow my tips on how to carve a turkey. For the perfect Thanksgiving spread, consider serving the turkey:
Need help with a timeline on the big day? Check out my Thanksgiving game plan and check out the Thanksgiving menu I put together. If turkey isn’t your jam I also have honey cooked prime rib or ham. And if you have leftover turkey (which is always best), turn it into turkey cobb salad or turkey casserole.
Your bird may be thick or the butter may be too cold and hard. Make sure the turkey comes to room temperature for an hour and pat dry with paper towels to remove moisture. You can also soften the butter in the microwave for 5-10 seconds, then it will spread easily.
If you check the temperature in the breast and the thickest part of the thigh and it’s 165F, it’s done. If it’s not golden enough, you can always turn on your top broiler for just a few minutes.
Easy Turkey Recipes
Reduce oven temperature and cover with aluminum foil. Also, I recommend purchasing an oven thermometer to check if the oven is cooking too hot.
Make sure your turkey is not too high in the oven. If you can, lower the shelves. Then cover only that part with aluminum foil.
It’s normal for a cooked turkey to have some pink color, especially if you have a young bird. As the USDA says, pay attention to temperature, not color. As long as the turkey is cooked to a temperature of 165°F, it is safe to eat.
I’m confident that with this tutorial, you will become a Thanksgiving turkey master. So if you make it, let me know how it turns out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
How To Cook A Turkey Breast In The Oven
This is the best Thanksgiving turkey recipe. You don’t need to salt and you don’t need to water. Just a few simple steps and you will have a perfectly browned, juicy and delicious roast turkey that will impress your family and guests. Watch the video below to see how I cook and carve a turkey!
Calories: 515 kcal Carbohydrate: 1 gram Protein: 70 grams Fat: 25 grams Saturated Fat: 9 grams Polyunsaturated fats: 5 grams Monounsaturated fat: 8 grams Trans fat: 1 gram Cholesterol: 249 mg Sodium: 528 mg | Potassium: 733 mg Fiber: 1 gram Sugar: 1 gram Vitamin A: 411 IU | Vitamin C: 1 mg | Calcium: 43 mg | Iron: 3 mg
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Lisa is a best-selling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) who lives in Southern California. She started in 2014 and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.
Overnight Turkey Recipe
I remember the first Thanksgiving dinner I served…it’s the first time I cooked a whole turkey. This was a few years ago and I was very nervous! What if the bird turns out to be dry? What happens if you don’t cook all the time? Ahh!
A friend of mine gave me some words of encouragement and reminded me that a turkey is basically a very large chicken, and I’ve roasted a lot of chickens before.
So, I did some research and after finding several different ways to make a “perfect” turkey, I decided to combine a few methods. The turkey was edible and I felt accomplished.
How To Cook A Turkey (no Baste, No Brine, No Stress!)
Since then I have made a whole turkey for Thanksgiving almost every year.