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Thanksgiving Turkey on baking sheet with vegetables, herbs, sliced oranges and cranberries

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

An Easy Thanksgiving Turkey recipe for a beginner, or anyone who wants a simple, juicy turkey on Thanksgiving, or any time!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword How to cook a Thanksgiving turkey
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 - 20
Calories 412 kcal
Author Sandy Clifton

Ingredients

  • 10-25 lb Turkey

Herb Butter

  • 1 cup Butter, softened
  • 4 sprigs Fresh Rosemary (minced to make 1 Tbsp)
  • 4 sprigs Fresh Thyme (minced to make 1 Tbsp)
  • 8 Fresh Sage Leaves (chopped to make 1 Tbsp, or use 1 Tbsp dried rubbed sage)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder

To Stuff the Turkey

  • 1 Onion, sliced thick
  • 1 Orange or Lemon, sliced
  • 1 Apple, cut in wedges
  • Fresh Herbs (use the remaining from making the herb butter, or use what you have)

Instructions

Thaw Turkey if Frozen

  1. If your turkey is frozen you will need to thaw it 2-3 days in advance, in the refrigerator.

  2. If turkey is still a bit frozen when you unwrap it, submerge it in cool water or run cool water on the frozen area.

Prepare Turkey

  1. Position the oven rack on the lowest level. Heat oven to 325° F. Make a note of how much your turkey weighs. The price tag will show this.

  2. Remove the turkey from the packaging and place it in a shallow roasting pan, preferably on a rack. If there is no rack, lay down a layer of thick cut vegetables (onion, carrot, celery, etc.) and set the bird on it.

  3. Pat the outside of the turkey dry using paper towels.

Make the Herb Butter

  1. Mix together the butter, rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Season the Turkey

  1. Place your fingers in between the skin and meat of the turkey and gently loosen it. Use your hand to get the herb butter in there.

  2. Coat the outside of the turkey with the remaining herb butter.

Stuff the Turkey

  1. Insert the onion, orange, apple, and herbs into the cavity where the legs are. Then tie the legs together with butcher's string, or secure them under the flap of skin below the legs, if there.

Cook The Turkey

  1. Place the turkey in the oven. Cook it for approx. 15 minutes per pound (see post for my handy cooking time charts).

  2. Check on your turkey about 2/3 of the way through the cook time, just to make sure it is not cooking too fast or too slow. If it is browning too fast, spray a piece of foil and tent it over the bird to slow down the browning.

  3. Take the turkey out of the oven when the temperature reads 160° F in the thickest part of the thigh, and let the turkey rest for 25 minutes lightly tented with foil. It will finish cooking and the temperature will rise to the safe 165° F.