Damn Delicious

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey - The only recipe you will ever need! It's the world's simplest, no-fail, no-fuss turkey! Perfectly golden brown, juicy and tender!

The only recipe you will ever need! It’s the world’s simplest, no-fail, no-fuss turkey! Perfectly golden brown, juicy and tender!

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey - The only recipe you will ever need! It's the world's simplest, no-fail, no-fuss turkey! Perfectly golden brown, juicy and tender!

I have never been the go-to person to make the Thanksgiving turkey.

Nope, I’d do all the sides though – from the ham to the best creamed corn to the sausage stuffing. All of it. But I always steered clear of the turkey…until now.

I know, it’s super daunting if you have never made a turkey before. If it’s the giblets and stuff that freak you out, there are a few grocery stores that remove them for you like Whole Foods. So there, problem solved.

If you’re just worried and nervous you might mess it up, don’t worry.  Just be sure to use up all the butter, and baste as noted. The pan drippings are EVERYTHING. From there, the turkey comes out perfectly golden brown.

This recipe is 100% fool-proof. PROMISE!

If not, you guys can all come over to my house and spend Thanksgiving with me and Butters.

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey - The only recipe you will ever need! It's the world's simplest, no-fail, no-fuss turkey! Perfectly golden brown, juicy and tender!

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

The only recipe you will ever need! It’s the world’s simplest, no-fail, no-fuss turkey! Perfectly golden brown, juicy and tender!

30 minutes3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-14 pound) fresh whole turkey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Remove giblets from the turkey cavity. Dry turkey thoroughly with paper towels. Season turkey cavity with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. In a small bowl, combine butter, shallot, lemon juice, sage, thyme, lemon zest and garlic; season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, or more, to taste.
  4. Using your fingers, carefully loosen the skin from the breast meat, spreading half of the butter mixture under the skin. Secure skin over the butter with wooden picks.
  5. Place carrots, celery and onion in a shallow roasting pan. Place turkey, breast side up, on top of the vegetables; tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine, tucking the wingtips under.
  6. Spread remaining half of the butter mixture over the turkey; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add wine and chicken stock to the roasting pan.
  7. Place into oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Continue roasting until the turkey is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the thigh, about 2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes more; baste every 30 minutes with pan drippings. When turkey begins to brown, cover lightly with aluminum foil.
  9. Let stand 20 minutes before carving; reserve pan dripping for gravy.

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39 comments

  1. Wondering if I could use avocado oil instead of butter as one of the guests is dairy-free?

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    So delicious. This recipe is a keeper, thank you!  The herbs and wine gave the breast a wonderful, juicy flavor. I cooked a 21 lb turkey so nearly doubled the recipe but otherwise followed it exactly. My relatives loved it. Even those who aren’t crazy about turkey commented about how delicious it was, saying it was one of the best they’ve ever tasted. Thanks again!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Hi, does this recipe still work if I cook it in an oven bag? Thanks

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    My sister made this last year so delicious, I’m going to try it this year! 

    What are the flat green leaves you used for decor? 
    Love a good presentation thank you! 

  5. do you cover the turkey while roasting?

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Amazing! Seriously, the best turkey I’ve ever eaten and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t really enjoy turkey. It was juicy and very flavorful! And it made fabulous leftover turkey sandwiches! 

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    Thank you thank you thank you! Made it today for my family Thanksgiving. It turned out great. I made a few whoopsies along the way but improvised. 17 lb. deliciousness! Another wonderful recipe. ~A forever follower.

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    My rating is based on the smell alone. I have a turkey breast cooking now and the smell is fabulous! I’m sure the taste will be great, too. I made a double recipe so I can do it all over again with the whole turkey on Thanksgiving.

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Hi Chungah! I used this recipe for a Friendsgiving turkey! I didn’t have white wine so I bumped the chicken stock up to 2 cups, and I didn’t have a shallot so I skipped it. Besides that I followed the recipe as written. Wasn’t sure whether to leave the carrots and celery whole; I chopped them into large 2-inch chunks. I had to bump up the temperature for the last hour or so and it roasted longer than the recipe stated (total of about 3.75 hours vs. the 2.5 to 3 hours written) to reach the right temperature. It looked beautiful and got great reviews from my friends. Thank you!!!

  10. You guys have a nourishingly hearty Thanksgiving feast! I can see the turkey meat is perfect, golden enough, brown enough and super sucullent ❤
    – Natalie

  11. Won’t the bottom of the turkey get soggy and waterlogged from sitting in 2 cups of liquid? I am worried that it will fall apart down there when I try to lift it out. Thanks!

  12. Rated 3 out of 5

    Hi Chungah, can I use this recipe on Cornish hens instead of a turkey? I know I will need to adjust my cooking time… Also, you think I can use the drippings for gravy too? Many thanks in advance!

  13. Can I make this with a turkey breast? Do I need to adjust anything?

  14. sounds ans smells delicious! will it make a difference using a frozen and thaw out turkey?

  15. Can you tell me if I can adjust this for a 24lb turkey?
    Just double ingredients? And any advice on cooking time and temperature? It’s my first time hosting thanksgiving and I need a damn delicious turkey! Thank you!

    • Major props on trying to tackle a 24lb turkey for your first time hosting Thanksgiving!

      I would recommend not roasting such a big bird but instead, roast 2 smaller birds. It will be so much better as the breast meat will be very dry on such a large bird.

      If you still want to proceed with a 24lb turkey, I am not entirely sure on the cook time but I recommend doubling or almost doubling the butter mixture. You may not need all the liquid in the roasting pan, maybe 1 1/2 times, but you can always add more as it cooks.

  16. I must try this! Sounds absolutely marvelous

  17. Question, I am ordering a pre-brined turkey. Would I be able to follow these steps as well? Or is this specifically for a non-brined turkey? I don’t want to over do it and not a turkey expert! Help!

  18. What happens with the cooked carrots + celery + onion once turkey is done?

  19. Do you use a roasting rack in the roasting pan? Or just place the turkey directly in the pan? Sorry if this is a dumb question!

  20. Looks beautiful – can’t wait to try it with my first turkey ever. I’d also like your stuffing recipe – looks fantastic!

  21. This will be my first Thanksgiving I am hosting. I am intimidated by the turkey, since the rest of my family can’t seem to get it right. But I am determined to nail it!

  22. Can we get your turkey gravy recipe too?

  23. Ok, that is one gorgeous looking turkey and table!! Where do you live and what time is dinner, so I can join you and Butters?