Holidays
Simple Recipe For Cooking The Deliciously Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey
This easy recipe has earned over 4.7 million views.
Kathleen Shipman
11.25.20

So you’re in charge of cooking the Thanksgiving turkey this year, but it’s feeling a little overwhelming. I mean, it’s not like it’s the main dish or anything…

Luckily, roasting a turkey doesn’t have to be a daunting activity – thanks to a simple recipe from Tasty! In the end, you’ll have a delicious, beautiful bird to serve at dinnertime, leading to some very happy bellies.

Plus, since it’s not too difficult, you’ll still have energy for all the other Thanksgiving festivities (like watching football and eating pie).

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“How to Roast a Thanksgiving Turkey”

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 fresh or frozen turkey (1.5 pounds per person)
  • 1/2 tsp of kosher salt (per pound)
  • 1 cup butter (unsalted) (softened and cubed)
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage (chopped), extra for garnish
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 lemon (sliced into wedges), extra for garnish
  • 1 medium white onion (sliced into wedges with skin on)
  • 1 large carrot (chopped)
  • 1 celery stalk (chopped)
  • 32 oz chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (optional)
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Step 1: Defrost your bird

Set the packaged turkey onto a baking sheet, then place it on your refrigerator’s bottom shelf. For a fresh turkey, defrost for one day. If it’s frozen, defrost for approximately four-five days.

Need a quicker defrosting method? Put the turkey in a large kitchen sink and fill with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Plan on defrosting the bird for 30 minutes per pound.

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Step 2: Prepare to brine

A day prior to cooking the turkey, you’re going to brine it. Add the amount of salt you’ll need into a bowl (1/2 tsp per pound). Then, prepare a workstation with a nearby garbage can, kitchen shears, a new baking sheet (with a wire rack on top), and a plastic bag.

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Step 3: Cut the turkey loose

Snip open the package (being careful not to cut the flesh), then remove the turkey from the bag. Set it on your fresh baking sheet that’s topped with a wire rack.

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Now, cut the excess skin off the bird’s neck, and also the plastic piece holding the legs together. Begin removing the innards from the cavity, along with the giblets (discarding them all). Dry the entire turkey (even in the crevices) by thoroughly patting it with paper towels.

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Step 4: It’s brining time

Sprinkle salt on the whole bird. Be sure to get all the skin, in the cavity, and in the crevices – so that it’s entirely covered with the salt. Place turkey back in the refrigerator (uncovered) for a day.

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Step 5: Prepare for roasting

Several hours before you plan on serving the turkey, get it ready to be roasted. Place a rack at the lowest level of your oven, then another in the middle. Preheat to 325˚F.

Step 6: Mix together a butter blend

Put your butter into a bowl. Add the chopped sage and garlic, along with the dried thyme and rosemary. Stir until evenly combined.

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Step 7: Get the turkey ready

First, place a roasting pan (or a disposable aluminum pan on top of a baking sheet) in your work area.

Cut off the turkey’s wingtips and set them inside the pan. Remove any excess skin so you’re able to reach the wishbone through the neck. Then, cut the wishbone out using a paring knife, adding it to the pan as well.

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Step 8: Butter it up

Turn the tray so the legs are now facing you, and remove the plastic holder if there’s one inside. Now, gently loosen the turkey’s skin in the breast area using your fingers.

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Start rubbing some of your butter mixture under the skin. According to the Tasty team member, it will keep the “breasts moist” and the “skin crispy.” Rub the remaining herb butter all over the turkey, including on the bottom, and in the crevices. If there’s any left, you can put some in the cavity.

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Step 9: Stuff the bird

Place your lemon wedges and 1/4 of the onion inside the cavity. Toss the rest of the onion into the pan. Add the carrot, celery, and chicken broth to the pan as well.

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Step 10: Add the juices

Place the wire rack (with the turkey) over the roasting pan. Then, pour the juice that’s on the baking sheet inside the pan.

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Step 11: Time to put it in the oven

Place the roasting pan onto the oven’s lowest rack. Then, set the turkey (with the wire rack) onto the oven’s middle rack, right above the pan. This way the pan can catch the falling juices.

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Step 12: Let it roast

On the Tasty website, it says:

“Roast the turkey for about 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160˚F (71˚C). Start checking the turkey about 90 minutes into roasting to ensure it does not overcook.”

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Step 13: Let it rest

Once the turkey is ready, take it out of the oven, and place the wire rack on top of a baking tray. Allow the bird to rest for approximately 30 minutes, letting the internal temperature reach 165˚F.

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Step 14: Make your yummy gravy

Start by taking the bigger pieces out of the roasting pan, so that you’re left with just the liquid. Then strain that liquid into a big pot. After bringing it to a boil, reduce, and allow the gravy to thicken.

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You can either use the gravy as is – or, make it thicker. If you’d prefer a thicker consistency, begin by scooping out several spoonfuls into a bowl that contains the all-purpose flour. Whisk it really well until there aren’t lumps, then slowly add it to the pot of gravy and mix. Bring the gravy to a boil and allow it to cook for five minutes to thicken. (Repeat until the gravy is the consistency you desire).

Keep the gravy on low heat, stirring occasionally, until you’re ready to serve. Or, take it off of the heat altogether, heating it back up at suppertime.

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Mouths should be watering over the amazing smells coming from your kitchen! Now all you have to do is carve up the turkey and prepare to serve it.

Watch the video below to see Tasty’s step-by-step demonstration for roasting a Thanksgiving turkey, plus, how to carve it for serving. Happy cooking!

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By Kathleen Shipman
hi@sbly.com
Kathleen Shipman is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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