How to Roast a Thanksgiving Turkey? Our stress-free method for Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey is EASY to follow along with great tips for roasting a Turkey! Cooking a whole turkey for Thanksgiving can be intimidating or even overwhelming for some of us cooks, but shortcuts and no-fuss tips help take the pressure out of the holiday!
How to roast a turkey on Thanksgiving!
Whether it’s your first time making a Thanksgiving turkey or just looking to simplify the cooking process; look no further!
When it comes to roasting a Thanksgiving turkey, my husband Joe does it best!
Nothing fancy to his method, just a simple and easy prep to clean and stuff the turkey with a few vegetables, and into the oven it goes.
First, forget fussing over complicated garnishes for the turkey and SKIP the multi-step brines and expensive marinades and rubs for the turkey.
No need for them.
You can easily choose your favorite spices to make the perfect rub for pennies.
My husband makes the turkey the same way year after year, without any fancy seasonings and without the ‘brine in the bag’ for days. And it turns out perfect year after year!
Always turns out crispy on the outside, juicy and tender inside.
Shortcuts and No-Fuss Tips to Take the Pressure Out of the Holiday!
- He simply cleans it, then stuffs the turkey (not with your traditional bread stuffing) with some fresh vegetables: onions, garlic, and some peppers.
- Stuff the turkey with fresh vegetables! This will ensure and keep the turkey moist while it’s roasting in the oven.
- Rub only with extra virgin olive oil all over the turkey, and season it with only salt and pepper! That’s it!
First, how many pounds of the whole turkey will I need to buy?
For a whole turkey, which is heavy in weight because of the bones, and other parts that are located inside the bird, it’s SAFE to say about 1 pound per person.
How to Thaw and Clean Turkey? (the easy way!)
- Two nights before! The first thing to do. If frozen, allow the frozen bird to sit inside your sink (while still in the package) to thaw completely overnight. Or if it is a small turkey, you can do this on the “eve” of Thanksgiving.
- Also, you can thaw the bird in your refrigerator, a few days before, allowing 24 hours for every four pounds, or 4 to 5 days for a 16 to 20-pound turkey.
- While it’s still sitting in the sink, remove the bird from its packaging, and remove everything inside, including the neck and bag from the turkey’s breast cavity. We discard these items, no need for them.
- Rinse the turkey in the sink under cold running water for a few minutes, including rinsing the inside as well thoroughly. Then pat dry with a paper towel.
- Once the turkey is fully cleaned, place the cleaned turkey onto a large workspace platter or directly into its roasting pan.
How to Prepare the Turkey Before Roasting?
We prefer to stuff Turkey with a few vegetables. This will help keep it moist and not dry out. Then season with a few seasonings.
- Stuff the turkey with one pepper (green, red, or orange) that has been cleaned, corded, and sliced, along with 2 or 3 large onions chopped into chunks and 4 large garlic cloves.
- Stuffing the turkey with fresh vegetables will not only help keep the turkey moist, but it will also help eliminate the “gamy” taste.
- Season the bird with some salt and pepper.
Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey is very simple to do and always turns out perfect, super moist, and juicy every time!
Slow roasting it in the oven is the way to go.
Depending on how many pounds the turkey is, it’s always BEST to start roasting the turkey in the morning. This way the turkey will be ready to serve in the afternoon.
Then he always makes our traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing Sicilian Style (which is made outside the turkey) and serves it as a side.
It is made separately and becomes a stuffing not only amazingly flavorful but also better and healthier for everyone as a side. Best part? The stuffing can be made the night before, baked, and reheated before you serve it.
Additional TIPS on ROASTING…
- Some turkeys may have a thermometer inside for it to pop when the turkey is ready, but it’s best to invest in a good meat thermometer for a moister turkey.
- Plunge it deep into the thigh and when it reads 165 degrees F, pull the turkey from the oven, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.
More Helpful Ideas for a Stress-Free Holiday…
1. Set the Table the Night Before! …everyone is preparing and cooking the night before for the Thanksgiving feast, we find it to be extremely helpful and definitely less stressful if you set your table the night before.
This way, if you need or forget anything, like flowers or more napkins, you have the possibility to run out and get them.
I always set the table with plenty of napkins, both fancy cloth for their laps, and paper for those “just-in-case” spills. Besides the food, we’ll have plenty of water and wine on the table.
2. Prepare as Much as You Can! Make and prepare as much as you can ahead of time as possible. Things like homemade cranberry sauce take 20 minutes to make, and can stay in your fridge for up to one week! Side dishes can be made the day before and reheated on the holiday.
3. Delegate! If you’re hosting and someone asks you if they can bring something… say YES and take a dish or two off your “to-do list.”
Next to the turkey, our favorite thing is always… the sides!
What shall we make? These side dishes can be prepared the night before, and you can either bake or reheat them on Thanksgiving Day!
Delicious SIDES to go with Turkey…
- Sauteed Green Beans with Onions
- Green Bean Creamy Casserole
- Pumpkin Cornbread Recipe
- Sweet Mashed Potatoes with Mascarpone Cheese
- Green Beans and Carrot Salad – Italian Style!
- Easy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- BEST Butter Beans Recipe
- French Green Beans with Lemon & Almonds
- EASY Stuffed Mushrooms
- Cheesy Mini Biscuits
- Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon
- Broccoli and Bleu Cheese Casserole
- Best Broccoli Salad
This holiday, we’d like to say cook as much or as little as you want. Cook the things you feel comfortable with and buy or order the rest!
Don’t feel you have to do it all just because you’re hosting Thanksgiving.
*ONE LAST GREAT TIP!
Send out emails to your family or guests inviting them to “call dibs” on contributing any favorite sides, desserts, or even an appetizer and make Thanksgiving a stress-free fun holiday!
Make it the best as you can this Thanksgiving and… relax and enjoy!
- 1 - (12-14 pound) turkey (grain-fed turkey), defrosted, rinsed, cleaned
- 2 or 3 large onions - peeled, chopped into large chunks
- 1 large pepper - cord, chopped into large chunks
- 4 garlic cloves
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and black pepper
- 1 to 2 cups of water or white wine
- large roasting pan
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove some of the racks to make room, and adjust the rack to the lowest position.
- Stuff the inside of the bird with chunks of peppers, onions, and garlic.
- Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; breast side up and drizzle generously with olive oil over the bird, and season with salt and pepper. Pour water or white wine into the pan under the turkey.
- Cover and tent the bird with aluminum foil and place it into the oven. Follow the directions on the package for how many hours to cook the turkey, (usually 15 to 20 minutes per pound). Or when the thermometer reaches the proper temperature, 165 -180 degrees F, depending on size.
- UNCOVER the turkey for the last hour. This will give the turkey the chance to get its golden-brown color. QUICK NOTE: Hold onto the foil wrap! You will need to "tent" it again to cover the turkey once you remove it from the oven to keep it warm while it sits before carving.
- When the turkey is ready, remove it from the oven. Set it aside and COVER it with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. This will allow the bird to retain all its juices and not dry out. Use a large fork or spoon to remove the vegetables from inside the turkey and discard them.
- Transfer the turkey to a carving board, or serving platter. When carving the turkey, always go against the grain of the meat. Slice to your liking, transfer to a serving platter, and Serve!
- Serves 8 to 10
If you don't have a lot of time to slow-roast the turkey in the oven, then roast it at 350 or 375 degrees F. This will speed up the time needed to roast it. Keep in mind, when the thermometer pops up, the turkey is completely cooked and ready.
Serving Size:1 serving (4 ounces)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 152Total Fat: 8.8gCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 00gSugar: 0gProtein: 32g