Turkey Recipe

Picture of Turkey Recipe
This is the turkey recipe you have been searching for! We've got you covered with instructions on how to cook your Thanksgiving turkey, because you have arrived at the #1 turkey roasting how to guide on the internet!

The technique described in this Instructable resulted in the beautiful 15 pound bird pictured below. It turned out to be one of the juiciest, most delicious turkeys to ever grace the delicate taste buds of Noah's family and friends since the pilgrims got all antsy in the pantsy more than 500 years ago.

This method has been thoroughly tested year after year at Thanksgiving dinners everywhere. Following the tips in this Instructable, you can make one that's just as good, if not better!
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Step 1: Gather materials

Picture of Gather materials
I find that I don't roast turkeys too often, so when I do, I put in the extra effort to make them come out as good as I can because they'll be feeding a lot of people, and I might not be making another one until next year.

With that in mind, gather the following ingredients, and don't skimp on quality if you can.

  • A 15 - 25 lb turkey depending on how many people you'd like to feed. Figure on 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. of the whole turkey per person.

I prefer fresh, unfrozen turkeys if possible, but often you'll have to get a frozen bird. If it's frozen, give yourself at least three or four days lead time in the refrigerator for the turkey to thaw before you plan to roast it. DO NOT roast a frozen bird, you'll be sorry.

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2-3 stalks of celery
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • fresh thyme
  • fresh sage
  • fresh parsley
  • chicken stock
  • meat thermometer (this is the key to telling when your turkey is done cooking. I don't trust the red pop-up dot)
  • turkey baster
  • butchers string (cotton string safe for cooking with)
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • suitably sized roasting pan with a rack
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nagutron6 years ago
I have friends who swear that it's all about brining the turkey first. Here's their recipe:

Brine Recipe for Turkeys
For each 2 gallons water

  • 2 cup Kosher salt (less salty than table or sea salt) or 1 ½ sea salt
  • 2 cup sugar
  • sage (Fresh herbs where possible)
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • 8 bay leaves
  • cinnamon sticks
  • cardamon seeds
  • large chunk of ginger cut up
  • peppercorns
  • juniper berries
  • garlic cloves
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Let cool, add 1 gallon apple cider. Brine bird for 24 to 48 hours. Rinse off well and cook.
Been looking for a brine, does it take 2 gal. of water to do just one bird? How big must the container be to soak that sucker in the frig? Or can you put it in some sort of bag and do it in an iced-down beer cooler? Thanks, JJ
To hold turkey+brine, we used a plastic file container we bought at Big Lots for $2. Worked perfectly!
ndana1 year ago
Awesome instructable thank you soooo much I placed the toothpicks like you do in the photo but what exactly is the purpose?? great finished product thanks again!!
viktorbeat1 year ago
This is disgusting! Celebrating what you have, Thanksgiving, killing an animal just for pleasure? Would you like someone else did that to you with the excuse of "Christmas"?
radratonly1 year ago
sounds tasty
My school of thought here is that since the veggies are crammed inside, they lack the proper temperature to cook fully. You could achieve the same goal by placing them around the bird, allowing them to swim in the broth you have created by adding all the herbs to the cavity and flushing it with baster every hour.
A cold turkey inside means a raised risk of salmonella and we can't run that risk.
Simply stuff two sliced lemons inside and squeeze them and they will help keep the bird moistened while it cooks they absorb the broth and give off steam.
The process of rubbing down a turkey with salt and then rinsing it off again is obligatory, it serves no real purpose since the salt being rubbed on, and then rinsed off actually gives no flavor to the finished product.
My suggestion:
When the turkey is ready for the oven, spread a layer of good olive oil on the bird, rub it down, then a handful of Kosher Salt, pepper, and various seasonings, (thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley) whatever you choose.
This way at least when you baste the turkey with the chicken broth, you retain flavor and spread all these herbs throughout the turkey cavity and on the skin as well.
Teachable1 year ago
delicious looking turkey.
SD4562 years ago
I've roasted my first turkey in my life. My Dad was speechless when he tasted it. Thank you very much for this recipe! :) It was a complete success, my family loved it!
Wow. It looks very delicious.
kpromo4 years ago
So nice, so interesting. I will make this on my birthday
scot.hacker4 years ago
Just wanted to say thanks. At age 46, I finally cooked my first turkey, using this recipe, and it came out fantastic! Really easy, actually. Used an 11-lb bird, and amazingly, it was cooked perfectly in 2:15' (so plan accordingly for smaller turkeys!)

The only difference was that we used a roasting pan with lid, so no tinfoil involved.

Also made my first gravy and first stock - all came out great.
magic19694 years ago
this is my way for years.good anyway you do it yuuuum.happy turkey day to all.
doc_howell4 years ago
I recommend leaving the pop-up thermometer in place until the bird is completely cooked and rested. If you remove it before the juices have redistributed, juices will escape from the hole. Doesn't really matter if it's popped or not. Remove it just before you serve it.

Also, if you brine, I found adding apple juice or cider to the brine makes the bird a deeper reddish-brown...very GBAD.
JeannieW4 years ago
This looks like a really good recipe. I'm going up north for Thanksgiving, so we're doing turkey Mom's way this year... will try this next time. :) We usually do it the way Grandma did:

Melt 1/2 to 3/4 cup of butter in a pan, add 2-3 cups of flour and mix in. Cool it a bit. Use your hands to cover the top and sides of the turkey, including the legs and wings. Bake it. Right before its done, make a pot of water with onion soup mix. When the bird is done, scrape the flour/butter mixture into the pan. Add the pot of onion soup and cook on a low heat while you loosen all the pan drippings and mix the flour in. You now have a very nicely crisp and browned turkey, with tons of sumptuously rich gravy. :)

Thanks for sharing Grandma's method of making the turkey, most importantly, GRAVY !
Just to clarify, melt the butter into 2 to 3 cups of flour? Seems like it would be very stiff.
Please reply if you see this
Gobble-Gobble !
Melt the butter in a pan, then add the flour. This makes a roux paste which will stick very nicely to the outside of the turkey. You can also add some seasonings to this if you want, like salt and pepper or poultry seasoning. The butter and flour roux will take on a nice golden brown color and flavor, adding flavor to the gravy. Add extra water if needed. From a large bird, you can easily get 10 cups of gravy. It takes some time to dissolve all that flour, so someone needs to be working on gravy, while someone else does the turkey slicing and getting all the food into bowls, but its well worth it. We usually end up with enough gravy to last as long as the leftovers.
daemonkrog4 years ago
I love this instructable. I do a very similar Turkey and do only one thing different.

I rub the herb butter between the skin and meat. You just use a spatula to gently peel the skin away from the meat, load it up with herb butter, and rub it around inside. It really adds flavor to the meat. Try it sometime. The skin is much stronger than it seems so don't worry too much about it breaking.
frogmama4 years ago
My 7 year old was dissapointed that she has never seen a turkey, either on Thanksgiving or the 2 or 3 times each year I cook one, all laid out on a platter with the veggies around it. She really wants me to do it that way next time. I chuckled and told her that you only see that on TV - it gets too cold to let it sit there on a plate to carve, etc.

....But I'll have to do it this way because (1) it looks yummy and (2) I'm kinda a sucker for indulging my daughter on these little things :)

ivonce774 years ago
Sounds good to me!Thanks
scot.hacker4 years ago
How would you adjust these instructions if cooking the stuffing separately? I assume the bird would cook from inside more quickly? (and if so, how much more quickly?)

Also: What would you estimate would be the total cooking time for a 11-lb turkey?
happyguy545 years ago
I used a Jennie-O (already injected) 18 lb. turkey....added green onions with bulbs to the cavity.....didn't peek for 3 hours.....basted uncovered for 2 more hours....the digital thermometer read 175 degrees......made a gravy with corn turkey I have ever roasted in my life!!!!   Next time I'll quarter my carrots and cut the celery stalks smaller too....the veggies will be an addition to the other recipe ever in my book....I didn't apply the Kosher salt but need to rinse....added garlic powder to the seasonings......perfect!
happyguy545 years ago
Since my 18 lb. Jennie-O came already injected I decided to go directly with the Kosher salt and ground black pepper.  I added garlic powder to the bird as well.  I foiled the pan and did not peek until the 3 hour mark and basted away for the next 2 hours.  The digital thermometer showed 175 degrees and it was cooked.  This is the best turkey that I have ever cooked.  The fresh herbs and veggies really made the difference!  Thanks for sharing with us!!
rocklocker5 years ago
Be careful when brining a turkey. It must be a fresh, unprocessed bird. Most of the commercial brands have been injected with a salt/water solution to allegedly make them juicer. If you brine this type of bird you will be sorry. Remember fresh is best.
Why will I be sorry? What happens when you Re-Brine a Turkey? 
The amount of salt will be too high. A fresh, unprocessed bird soaked in a brine you make will give you much better results.
bscleveland5 years ago
okay seriously, best turkey recipe ever.  I don't know if we tented it really really well or something but our 21.4 lb turkey cooked in 2 hours to 170 degrees, it was juicy and delicious but we had to crisp the skin so we just took the foil off.  We didn't add stock because we forgot but the veggies and butter with herbs provided so much we had a ton of gravy.  Thank you so much!  Know any more?
flyatsky5 years ago
it's very nice
WILL625 years ago
turkeylover5 years ago
Wow! First, I've never seen such nicely written description of a recipe in any other site. My favorite have been the turkey recipe at But I am gonna try this one next... The pic looks so inviting.
tireswing6 years ago
1) 155 F in the breast and rest to get 160. Use a wire rack and the thigh will be just fine. 2) Good idea with the flavored butter but get nearly all of it under the skin even if you brine. If you brine use unsalted butter. 3) Try to brine with an un-injected turkey. You'll know by the label. 4) Reduce a large amount of your favorite beverage that goes with turkey to nearly a syrup and combine with the compound butter; in the past I have used sherry, chardonnay, gewurtzraminer, liebfraumilch, and American Pale Ales with great success. 5) I get that you feel under scrutiny at these holidays but cut yourself some slack...........roast, fry, smoke, grill........whatever you want as long as you and the family have fun. Otherwise, go out to eat and give someone else the money and satisfaction of a job well done.
crg11096 years ago
where is this stock listing needed in step 7 in the 'gather materials' step????? attention to detail... might cost me my turkey dinner...
noahw (author)  crg11096 years ago
I just added it in. A thousand pardons, I really hope I didn't cost you your turkey dinner.
JellyWoo6 years ago
great instructable!
(removed by author or community request)
good for you
Hunnyb89756 years ago
That is without a doubt the most beautifulest looking turkey Ive ever seen in my life. Looks like the meat just falls off the bone. Hmm hmm, im coming to YOUR house this year! LOL
ElChick6 years ago
NOM NOM NOMilicious!!!!!! (8O)>
jhorton6 years ago
Step 3 seems like a waste of salt to me. But otherwise, awesome Instructable!
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