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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


  • 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


  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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  1. This is the first time I’ve ever made turkey. I didn’t have any of the fresh herbs. All I had was Italian seasoning. And I didn’t have white wine. So I made the recipe with what I had and the turkey came out AMAZING. I have never enjoyed turkey so much. It was only a little bit more difficult to make than a roasted chicken, but barely. And 100x better tasting. It’s so juicy on the inside and the skin is nice and crispy. Thanks for sharing!! Also this is the first recipe review I’ve ever written (because it was so good)  and I cook for my family almost every day. 

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Delicious and moist turkey!
    This recipe was easy and perfectly delightful. Fallowed recipe exactly.
    And the leftovers were just as good (if not better.)
    I ended up placing my turkey a little too high in the oven for the first 30 min (at 400 degrees) and evaporated all the liquids. I just added the same amount (2.5 cups of stock and 1/2 cup white wine. Problem fixed!
    Definitely will make this turkey my Christmas dinner each year. I also made the classic stuffing and gravy and it was a perfect trio. Don’t look any further for a moist turkey.
    My husband loved it and still raves about it.
    And my guests only had compliments and wanted to know the how to’s. Thank you for such a great website!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    I made this for thanksgiving 2020, it was the best turkey I ever made. I will be making it for xmas dinner as well. Dont forget the gravy, its as awesome!

  4. Can I use this recipe for a stuffed bird? Would I just need to adjust the cooking time?

  5. Can this be done with just a bone-in turkey breast, instead of a whole turkey? What changes might I need to make for that? I’ve never cooked a turkey before, and it’s just my boyfriend and I this year, so we got just the bone-in breast because we don’t need a whole turkey for just the two of us.

  6. Do I need to brine the turkey?

    • Brining is another type of preparation IMO. My motto is try the recipe as described the 1st time & then you can tweak it. Sorry, I noticed no one had gotten back to you (or anyone else on this chat board) yet…Hope that helps.

  7. This looks delicious. I have a family member who is allergic to carrots; what do you recommend instead? Can I just use a roasting rack?

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Do I still place the carrots, celery, and onion into the pan if using a roasting rack? 

    • I would prepare them separately since they will dry out without the turkey on top. Hope that helps.

    • The veggies are there to flavor the dripping as prep for the gravy. They are not served with them meal. You definitely still want to put them in the pan.

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

  10. 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!

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

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

  12. 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! 

  13. do you cover the turkey while roasting?

  14. 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! 

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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!!!

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

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

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

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

  23. 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.

  24. I must try this! Sounds absolutely marvelous

  25. 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!

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

  27. 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!

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

  29. 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!

  30. Can we get your turkey gravy recipe too?

  31. 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?