Everything you need to know for roasting a turkey this holiday season! From the timings to the seasoning, this guide will help you serve the juiciest and the most flavourful turkey to your friends and family. Serve with our homemade gravy!
If you are looking to host a smaller gathering, why not roast a delicious and juicy chicken instead? Also, check out my Thanksgiving Recipe Collection to give you cooking and organization tips for the holiday season ahead as well as all recipes you could possibly need!
Who is gearing up for the holiday season and thinking of their festive menu?
It is officially that time of the year, and we need to talk TURKEY…seriously. And I’ve got a recipe for roasting a turkey, that is tried and true, which I am sharing with you today.
I hear a lot of talk of how it is downright impossible to cook a turkey, that is not dry. Yes, there are a lot of factors against success.
- It’s giant.
- It has two types of meat-white and dark, which need different temperature to cook well.
- Did I mention it’s giant?
Yet, I’ve cooked turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the last 20 years, and I have yet to come across one we didn’t like.
Now, I am not a magician and I don’t like to brag but I do have several tricks that allow me produce a turkey that is NOT dry. And by “several” I mean three. Ready??
How to Cook a Juicy Turkey
Trick number 1. ACCURATE THERMOMETER
It’s impossible to tell whether you turkey is cooked all the way through without a thermometer. Because of the fear of serving a raw turkey and making your guests sick, people usually overcook it, which results in a very dry turkey.
You need to cook your bird until the internal temperature of this thickest part of it registers 165F or 75C.
Trick number 2. SMALL TURKEY!!!
What I mean by a small turkey is the one that weighs no more than 10lbs. With an array of side dishes on your holiday table, there is rarely a gathering, which requires more meat.
Just think back of your past Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and try to remember how many leftovers you ended up with. (By the way, I have a few recipes for them as well. My Leftover Turkey Soup is a huge winner. I believe you will also love my Hearty Turkey Stew. )
I know what you are thinking right now…You are thinking, you have a large family and you NEED a huge turkey to feed them all. No, you don’t.
Buy two 10 lbs turkeys if you must but don’t buy a 25 lbs beast. It will never, ever be juicy. End of story.
Trick number 3. LOADS AND LOADS OF AROMATIC HERBS AND TENDER LOVING CARE.
Turkey loves herbs and you cannot go wrong with loading your bird up with a mix of thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley, garlic and lemon.
How To Prepare Turkey For Roasting
- The simplest and easiest way to cook a flavourful turkey is to chop up a good combination of herbs.
- Next mix them up with some minced garlic and lemon zest. Then douse them all in extra virgin olive oil.
- Carefully separate the turkey skin from the breast, and spread that herby goodness under the skin of your bird.
- Then truss your turkey with a kitchen twine so it all stays snug.Doing so will keep your turkey nice and moist.
- Finally, slather it with some good olive oil and sprinkle with some flaky salt like Maldon, it will make the turkey’s skin impossibly thin and crispy!!
Roast Turkey Cooking Times
Roast your turkey according to its weight-approximately 20 minutes per 1 lbs.
My turkey was 8 lbs and I cooked it for 2 hours to reach 165F/75C, which produced a juicy and fully cooked turkey.
Wondering what sides go well with a perfectly roasted turkey?
Here are our favourite ideas:
- Herb and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Fresh Green Bean Casserole
- Sausage, Pear and Sage Stuffing
- Port Cranberry Sauce
This recipe was originally published in 11/2018. Updated with new photos, text and video and republished in 11/2020.
- 3.6 kg/8lbs Turkey
- 50 g A bunch of fresh herbs-sage rosemary, thyme and parsley, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 lemons
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- kitchen twine
- flaky salt such as Maldon
- Preheat your oven to its highest temperature. Place your turkey inside a roasting pan.
- Chop up all herbs and combine with zest of 1 lemon, minced garlic and 2 tbsp of olive oil.
- Gently peel back the skin that is covering turkey breast, grab a handful of the herb and garlic mixture and spread it all over the breast under the skin, repeat until the whole surface is covered. Use the rest of the herb rub for the cavity if you have any leftover.
- Pierce lemons with a sharp knife in several places and place inside the cavity.
- Slide a piece of kitchen twine under the turkey, bring the legs and together tie them with a twine, you can also run the twine along the side of the bird so the thighs also stay tucked in.
- Rub the entire turkey with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky salt like Maldon.
- Put the turkey in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350F/18C.
- Roast until the thickest part of turkey breast and turkey thigh reach an internal temperature of 165F/75C. Allow for 20 minutes per lbs of roasting time.
- Baste with turkey juices every 30 minutes or so.