Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

Tender, juicy Thanksgiving turkey that is easy to make and has the best drippings for gravy!

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What could be better than a tender, juicy Thanksgiving turkey that is easy to make and has the best drippings for gravy? This recipe should make a delicious, savory, and scrumptious turkey for the whole to enjoy over the holiday season.

Why not make your own Turkey Gravy for this recipe? Or use your own Poultry Seasoning as well?

roast Thanksgiving turkey on a white platter

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

People have this strange fear surrounding preparing the Thanksgiving turkey. There are all these worries about overcooking it or not seasoning it properly when it really doesn’t have to be that difficult!

This simple and easy-to-follow guide for making turkey for Thanksgiving should produce a delicate, tender turkey that isn’t at all overcooked. Plus, it should have super crispy skin and be flavorful in every bite.    

ingredients for Thanksgiving turkey

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Ingredients

Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts so that you know exactly what to buy for this recipe.

• Fresh whole turkey, between 12 and 15 pounds

Butter Herb Mixture

• Unsalted butter softened to room temperature

• Shallot

• Poultry seasoning

• Garlic cloves

Cavity Ingredients

• Carrots, peeled and chopped

• Celery

• Yellow onion, peeled and cut into wedges

• Cloves of garlic

• Dry white wine

• Turkey or chicken stock

roasted Thanksgiving turkey in aluminum foil in a roaster

How To Make Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

• Line a turkey roaster with sheets of aluminum foil that are long enough o wrap up and over turkey

• Remove any giblets that your turkey came with, and then thoroughly dry the interior with paper towels

• Season the inside with salt & pepper

• Put the turkey on the roasting tray, and then make your butter herb mixture

• Combine the butter, shallot, poultry seasoning, and garlic in a small bowl, and spread it all over the turkey

Place half of the cavity ingredients inside the cavity and the other around the turkey in the roasting pan to flavor the drippings

• If wanted, tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine, and make sure to tuck the wing tips underneath the turkey

• Mix together your chosen broth with wine and pour it into the cavity of the turkey

• Bring the excess foil up and over the top of the turkey and seal the ends together

• Bake the turkey at 350 Fahrenheit for 2 hours, and then uncover the turkey and continue baking until the skin turns golden brown

• Cook until the thigh meat near the bone reads 185 Fahrenheit, at least another hour

• Remove the turkey from the oven

• Remove as much of the drippings as you can from the pan while covering the turkey with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes

• Make your turkey gravy while it rests and prepare everything else, serving it carved with gravy

crispy roasted Thanksgiving turkey on a white platter

How To Get Really Crispy Skin On Your Turkey

If there is one thing that most hopeful turkey chefs struggle with, it is getting their turkey skin nice and crispy.

The key thing to achieve crispy skin is to remove the foil for the last hour at least of cooking. This allows plenty of direct heat to hit the skin, letting the fat render out and water to evaporate. This creates that crispy texture and also helps the skin pull away from the meat.

An even better way to ensure you get crispy skin is to put some of the butter mixture you have made underneath the skin itself. 

It is a bit of a task, but you need to separate the skin from the meat, ideally using a big spoon or spatula, and then spoon the mixture in.

You have to sort of separate the thin membrane connecting the meat and skin, but once you do, you should be able to easily slide the butter in. This butter mixture will not only heavily flavor the meat underneath but will also aid in even more crispy skin once it’s done.

Just make sure you don’t tear a hole in the skin!

sliced turkey breast

How To Avoid Overcooking Your Turkey

The other main problem people have with making turkey at home for Thanksgiving is the propensity for turkey meat to get super dry when overcooked.

Turkey just isn’t as lenient when it comes to chicken about being overcooked, so it is so incredibly easy to accidentally overcook it.

However, this recipe takes care of that, thanks to its double layered aluminum foil bag. The bag helps to keep the turkey super tender and moist while still cooking it faster thanks to steam heat transfer. This helps to prevent accidental overcooking while still keeping it super moist.

Looking for more delicious Turkey recipes? Try these out:

How to Cook the Juiciest, Most Tender Oven Roast Turkey

How to Make Turkey Stock

How to Make Turkey Carcass Soup

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



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Tender, juicy Thanksgiving turkey that is easy to make and has the best drippings for gravy!

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

Tender, juicy Thanksgiving turkey that is easy to make and has the best drippings for gravy!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Main Course
Karlynn Johnston


  • one 12-15 pound fresh whole turkey

Butter Herb Mixture

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

Cavity Ingredients

  • 4 medium carrots peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 4 stalks celery cut into large chunks
  • 2 medium yellow onion peeled and cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and smashed flat
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups turkey or chicken stock


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F and move the rack in your oven down to the second from the bottom slot. Line a turkey roaster with long sheets of aluminum foil that are long enough to wrap up and over the turkey, without touching it!
  • Remove any giblets from the turkey cavity. Dry the turkey thoroughly with paper towels. Season the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Place the turkey in the middle of the prepared roasting pan.
  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, minced shallot, poultry seasoning and minced garlic. Spread the butter herb mixture over the turkey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place HALF of the carrots, celery, onion and garlic inside the cavity. Place the OTHER half around the turkey in the roasting pan for flavor in the drippings!
  • If needed, tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine, and make sure to tuck the wing tips under the turkey.
  • Mix the turkey broth and the wine together, then pour into the CAVITY of the turkey, letting the excess run out into the bottom of the pan.
  • Bring the excess aluminum foil up and over the top of the turkey, and seal the ends together, making sure that the foil doesn’t touch the turkey at all.
  • Bake the turkey in the preheated oven for 2 hours. Uncover the turkey, and continue baking until the skin turns golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh near the bone reads 185° F, another hour or hour and a half, depending on the size of your turkey.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven. Remove as much of the drippings as you can from the pan then cover the turkey with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  • Make the turkey gravy while the turkey rests and get your other side dishes finished.
  • Carve and serve with the gravy.

Recipe Notes

  • The aluminum foil acts like an oven bag and keeps the turkey tender and moist, but it also can cook it faster than an uncovered turkey. Luckily because you have steamed moisture into the turkey for 2 hours, it helps with accidental overcooking! 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 1213kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 97g, Saturated Fat: 60g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 26g, Trans Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 255mg, Sodium: 746mg, Potassium: 1604mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 27588IU, Vitamin C: 28mg, Calcium: 244mg, Iron: 4mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. Karen says

    This is a good and easy recipe. Any tips or thoughts on making it ahead and re-heating to save some oven space on the day?

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      Oh I wouldn’t reheat it however what I do to save oven space for the turkey is make everything else in the Crock-Pot if I can even stuffing or mashed potatoes!

5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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