Last week my six-year-old had his tonsils out and because my husband would be traveling for work my mom was gracious enough to come down from Virginia to help me out during the week. She was a HUGE help with both my youngest during his recovery but also with my older two boys. It was her first time visiting since we moved to our new house and we had a great visit. One of the evenings she was here we went through old family recipes and decided to make a Thanksgiving meal together even if it was a month early so I could share the recipes with you here today. Today we, of course, start with the star of the show-the turkey! I love this no-fail Thanksgiving Roast Turkey Recipe because it’s way too easy!
The first time I cooked a Thanksgiving meal was in college. I didn’t go home for the holidays one year and had a friend who was staying at school too so I cooked for us. I had it all planned out except for one little detail, I didn’t defrost the frozen turkey I had bought far enough in advance! And since we’re being honest, the first year I cooked for my husband I did the same thing! So first things first-I give my turkey about four days to defrost in the refrigerator. If you are buying a fresh turkey be sure to order ahead of time and pick up the day before if possible. (See this Thanksgiving planner for more tips that help you prepare!)
So now that we’ve covered the essential defrosting step the rest is easy-peasy! Simply stuff your turkey with yummy flavorings, oil up the outside and start the cooking process breast side down to keep the meat incredibly juicy! Read on below:Print
Roasting a Thanksgiving Turkey is easier than you think-a few simple steps will have your main dish perfectly cooked and ready for guests!
- turkey (recipe is based on 10-12 pounds, adjust cook time for smaller or larger bird)
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 2 apples, halved
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- Remove defrosted turkey from refrigerator and allow to warm to room temperature 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a roasting pan with a rack and spray with nonstick spray.
- Remove neck and giblets from turkey cavity. Rinse with water and pat dry with paper towels. Move turkey to the rack.
- In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Use hands to rub mixture inside the cavity to coat. Add fresh herbs, onion, apple, and lemon to the cavity. Brush outside of turkey with olive oil or melted butter. Flip turkey over so that the breast side is down and brush remaining areas with butter or olive oil.
- Place turkey in the oven uncovered and cook for one hour. Lower heat to 350 degrees and cook another hour. Remove turkey from oven and carefully turn over so breast side is facing up. Return to oven and cook an additional 30 minutes or until a thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the thigh and/or breast reads 165 degrees. If your turkey is getting too brown on top loosely tent with aluminum foil.
- After removing from oven tent with aluminum foil and allow to rest 45 minutes before serving.
Keep an eye on your turkey after the first hour of cook time. All ovens cook differently and cook times will vary. Estimate 15 minutes per pound for this recipe (stuffed turkeys will take longer.)
Keywords: turkey, roast, thanksgiving
Be sure to check out these other Thanksgiving recipes and tips: