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The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey



Of all the recipes that I love to try out once in a while, mastering the art of a Thanksgiving turkey recipe seems to be an entertaining challenge every year. Though my mother has her own turkey recipe reserved for the holidays, I still love checking out techniques and new recipes to upgrade the typical roasted turkey taste. Luckily, as I bumped into this recipe, I think, my search is finally over.

A Delectable Turkey Recipe To Savor On Thanksgiving

Few recipes tyrannize each year as much as roasting a turkey. Perhaps it is because most people reserve preparing the turkey for the holidays like Thanksgiving but achieving the perfect turkey really isn’t as difficult as people make it out to be. I personally prefer a flavorful recipe with a juicy and tender meat after hours of cooking and somehow, coming up with this was a challenge before. The good news is, this not a challenge for me anymore! *hooray!* If you’re just like me who are looking for a not-so-complicated recipe but definitely has a superb taste, this is what you’re looking for.

What You’ll Need:

  • 12 lbs whole turkey

For The Herbed Butter Mixture:

  • 4 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons of freshly chopped rosemary
  • 8 tablespoons of softened butter
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 lemon (for zest and juice)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic paste

For The Turkey Stuffing:

  • lemons, onions, and sliced apples

For The Roasting Pan:

  • chopped onions, sliced oranges, and apples, parsley, and thyme

The Oven Is Waiting So Let’s Start!

If you begin with a frozen turkey, keep in mind that defrosting it takes much longer than many people imagine, and it can even take several days for a large turkey to become completely defrosted. The best way to do it is to let the turkey slowly defrost in your refrigerator, but that can take around a day for every four pounds of turkey. If you are short on time, you can also defrost it in cool water baths, but, even then, prepare to set aside at least half an hour for every pound of turkey.

Step 1: Keep It Dry

Step 1: Keep It Dry | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 1: Keep It Dry | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Once you have finished rinsing your frozen turkey well, dry it out as best as you can. You can use a paper towel and pat your turkey dry. Set it aside to allow it to reach room temperature.

Step 2: Prepare The Herbed Butter Mixture

Step 2: Prepare The Herbed Butter Mixture | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 2: Prepare The Herbed Butter Mixture | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

While the turkey is coming to room temperature, start chopping off some fresh herbs: parsley and rosemary. This will help flavor the turkey very well. After chopping them, add your herbs to the softened butter. Season with some salt and pepper to taste. Next, add the zest and juice of the lemon. Then, pour some olive oil into the mixture. This will stop the butter from burning while your turkey is roasting. Lastly, add some garlic paste and give it a good mix!

Step 3: Separate The Skin From The Meat

Step 3: Separate The Skin From The Meat | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 3: Separate The Skin From The Meat | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Grab your turkey and carefully separate the skin from the meat itself. Be very gentle while doing this part ’cause you don’t want to tear the skin of your turkey.

Step 4: Stuff The Herbed Butter Mixture Underneath The Turkey’s Skin

Step 4: Stuff The Herbed Butter Mixture Underneath The Turkey's Skin | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 4: Stuff The Herbed Butter Mixture Underneath The Turkey's Skin | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Using half of your herbed butter mixture, place it underneath the skin of your turkey. Spread some of it too inside your turkey to bring out the flavor from within.

Step 5: Press And Spread

Step 5: Press And Spread | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 5: Press And Spread | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Press down the herbed butter mixture you placed underneath the turkey’s skin and spread it out evenly. You can do it in a circular motion ’til it’s mostly coated.

Step 6: Coat The Whole Turkey With Herbed Butter Mixture

Step 6: Coat The Whole Turkey With Herbed Butter Mixture | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 6: Coat The Whole Turkey With Herbed Butter Mixture | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Using the remaining herbed butter mixture, coat the whole turkey. Spread it on the thighs, wings and every single part of the turkey.

Step 7: Stuff The Turkey And Tie The Legs Together

Step 7: Stuff The Turkey And Tie The Legs Together | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 7: Stuff The Turkey And Tie The Legs Together | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

To add some extra flavor to your turkey recipe, stuff some lemon, onions and sliced apples inside your turkey. Once lightly filled, you can either tie the legs together or cut a slit in the skin and tuck the legs into the opening to keep them in place while baking. Tuck the tips of the wings underneath the legs.

Step 8: Prepare The Roasting Pan

Step 8: Prepare The Roasting Pan | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 8: Prepare The Roasting Pan | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Before placing your turkey in a roasting pan, put some chopped onions, sliced oranges and apples and some fresh parsley and rosemary. Then, place your turkey over it.

Step 9: Cooking Time!

Step 9: Cooking Time! | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 9: Cooking Time! | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

With a temperature of 350ºF, place your turkey into the oven and cook it for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Step 10: Baste Your Turkey

Step 10: Baste Your Turkey | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 10: Baste Your Turkey | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

When the turkey comes out, use the drippings in the roasted pan and baste your turkey. This will add more flavor to your dish and it will also prevent your turkey from drying.

Step 11: Cover With Aluminum Foil

Step 11: Cover With Aluminum Foil | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 11: Cover With Aluminum Foil | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

After basting your turkey, cover it with an aluminum foil and bring it back to the oven for about two hours, still with a 350ºF temperature.

Fresh From The Oven!

Fresh From The Oven! | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Fresh From The Oven! | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Now here’s what your turkey looks like straight from the oven! From the looks of it, it’s just so mouth-watering! But before admiring your work and taking a break, let’s do some plating first!

Ready To Serve!

Ready To Serve! | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Ready To Serve! | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Garnish your roasted turkey with some fresh cranberries on the sides and some parsley and rosemary to bring more color to your dish.

Let The Carving Begin!

Let The Carving Begin! | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Let The Carving Begin! | The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Ta-da! Now, how can anyone resist such a delicious meal like this? The color is just perfect, it’s still moist and juicy inside and most of all, it tastes perfectly delicious!

Watch the full video tutorial of this sumptuous dish for Thanksgiving from Cooking with Claudia:

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May I suggest you don’t throw away the carcass and any other leftover skin, bones, and other bits? They can be made into the most delicious and nourishing turkey rice soup. Have you tried making one? That is, by far, my favorite way to enjoy the turkey’s leftovers! Enjoy your turkey! Happy Thanksgiving!

Will you try this Thanksgiving turkey recipe? Let us know in the comments section below what your thoughts are on this delicious Thanksgiving turkey recipe.

Up Next: 10 Tempting Thanksgiving Desserts to Love | Thanksgiving Dessert

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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in November 2016 updated for quality and relevancy. 

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