The Ultimate Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe: How to Make It Perfect

Celebrate Thanksgiving with the Perfect Turkey! Discover Our Secret Ingredient for Ultimate Flavors

Looking for the most perfect Thanksgiving turkey recipe ever? Look no further! Our recipe includes a secret ingredient that will leave your guests in awe. What could it be? Try it out and find out for yourself.

Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition that brings families and friends together to give thanks and enjoy a delicious feast. At the heart of this celebration is the iconic Thanksgiving turkey. It’s hard to imagine a holiday dinner without a perfectly roasted turkey as the centerpiece.

The origins of Thanksgiving date back to the 17th century when the pilgrims settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The first Thanksgiving feast was held in 1621 and was a three-day celebration shared between the pilgrims and the Native American Wampanoag tribe. Turkey wasn’t actually on the menu at the first Thanksgiving – instead, the feast featured venison, seafood, and various vegetables.

It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that turkey became the go-to main course for Thanksgiving dinners across the United States. In fact, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, and it has been celebrated every year since.

Although the turkey is the star of Thanksgiving dinner, it can be a daunting task to prepare it perfectly. But don’t worry – we have a delicious turkey recipe that is sure to impress your guests. It’s a classic roast turkey with a flavorful herb butter rub and a bed of aromatic vegetables, giving it a depth of flavor that is truly unforgettable.

Our Thanksgiving turkey recipe begins with a 14-16 lb turkey, which is rinsed inside and out and patted dry. Then, a mixture of softened butter and freshly chopped rosemary, thyme, and sage is spread over the turkey breast and underneath the skin. This herb butter adds incredible flavor and helps keep the turkey moist as it roasts in the oven.

The turkey sits atop a bed of chopped onion, garlic, carrots, and celery, which impart their savory flavors into the pan juices. A generous amount of chicken broth is poured in the bottom of the pan to create a moist cooking environment. The turkey is then roasted in a 325°F oven for several hours, with regular basting to ensure a golden brown, crispy skin.

Once the turkey is done and has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F, it’s important to let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures that the meat stays tender and juicy on the plate.

When it comes time to carve the turkey, be sure to do so with a sharp knife and some patience. The meat should be carved against the grain and served with your favorite Thanksgiving sides.

This Thanksgiving turkey recipe is a true labor of love, but the end result is worth every minute of preparation. Your family and friends will be impressed by your culinary skills, and your taste buds will thank you for the amazing flavors. Give it a try and enjoy a truly memorable Thanksgiving feast!

Ask the Chef: Pro Tips for making Thanksgiving Turkey

Thaw the Turkey Properly

Before cooking your turkey, be sure it’s properly thawed. The safest way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator. Plan for 24 hours of thawing time for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. Alternatively, you can thaw in cold water or the microwave, but be sure to consult cooking guidelines for times and temperatures.

Do Some Prep Work in Advance

Prepping ingredients ahead of time can make the actual cooking process much smoother. You can chop vegetables and herbs a day before roasting your turkey.

Know Your Cooking Times

Roasting times can vary depending on oven temperature, the size of the bird, and whether or not it’s stuffed. The best way to ensure that your turkey is cooked properly is to use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding touching the bone, and check that it’s at least 165°F.

Don’t Forget to Baste

Basting keeps the turkey moist and adds additional flavor. Be sure to baste it every 30 minutes with pan juices.

Let the Turkey Rest

Let your turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This gives the juices in the meat a chance to redistribute, making it juicier and more flavorful.

Add Some Personality to the Recipe

For additional flavor, you can add lemon or orange slices to the cavity of the turkey, or add other herbs like parsley, chives, or even tarragon and cilantro. You can also experiment with different seasonings and spices like paprika, cumin, coriander or even cinnamon.

Make Use of the Drippings

The drippings from the turkey can be used to make gravy. Collect the juices in the bottom of the pan after removing the turkey, skim off the fat, adding a bit of flour or cornstarch, and cook until smooth for a delicious homemade gravy.

How Many Calories are in Thanksgiving Turkey?

Nutrition Facts

14 Servings per Recipe

Calories: 530

  • Total Fat: 28g
    • Saturated Fat: 10g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 15g
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 205mg
  • Sodium: 750mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 3g
    • Dietary Fiber: 1g
    • Total Sugars: 1g
    • Added Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 69g

What Drinks Pair Best with Thanksgiving Turkey?

Wine pairing: A suitable wine pairing for this Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe would be a Pinot Noir. Its light to medium-bodied structure with notes of herb and spice, along with its acidity, pairs well with the seasoned butter and aromatic vegetables in the dish.

Beer pairing: A Belgian Dubbel would be a great pairing for this turkey. The malt sweetness and dark fruit notes of a Dubbel complement the roasted flavors of the turkey, while the beer’s carbonation cuts through the richness of the butter and broth.

Cocktail pairing: A suitable cocktail pairing for the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe would be a classic Manhattan. The warm and cozy flavors of bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters will complement the earthy herbs and vegetables used in the recipe.

How to Make Thanksgiving Turkey

How to make Thanksgiving Turkey

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  • 1 Turkey (14-16 lbs)
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Sage, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, smashed
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 2 Celery Stalks, Chopped
  • 2 Bay Leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey and discard or save for later.
  3. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels.
  4. Mix the softened butter with chopped rosemary, thyme, sage, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  5. Loosen the skin over the turkey breast by carefully running a hand under it.
  6. Spread half of the butter mixture over the turkey breast, underneath the skin.
  7. Rub the remaining butter mixture over the outside of the turkey.
  8. Place the chopped onion, garlic, carrots, and celery in the bottom of a roasting pan.
  9. Set the turkey on top of the vegetables, breast side up. Place the bay leaves inside the cavity.
  10. Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the pan, being careful not to wash off the seasoning on the turkey.
  11. Cover the turkey with foil and roast in the preheated oven for about 3 hours.
  12. Remove the foil and roast for an additional 1 to 2 hours or until the thickest part of the turkey registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  13. Baste the turkey with the pan juices every 30 minutes.
  14. Once the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.
  15. Carve and serve with your favorite Thanksgiving sides. Enjoy!

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