Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey

54 reviews, 4.6 star(s). 85% would make again

Ready in 8 hours ; part of No Red Meat collection

Brined, herb-roasted Thanksgiving turkey for the holiday. I was never thrilled about turkey at Thanksgiving. One year, I was in charge of the bird and bound and determined I would make it really well. After trying this recipe I feel in love with Thanksgiving turkey and will never do it any other way. It was so moist, everyone loved it. I wish I had some now!


1 cup Salt
1 cup Brown sugar
2 oranges; quartered
2 lemons; quartered
6 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
10 pound turkey; (up to 12-pound)
1 large orange; cut into 1/8ths
4 tbsp unsalted butter; at room temperature
Salt and pepper
1 large yellow onion; cut into 1/8ths
1 stalk celery; cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large carrot; cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Bay Leaves
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1/2 bunch Sage
3 sprigs parsley
1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock; for basting, (up to 2)
Turkey Broth:
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
1 Reserved turkey neck and giblets
1 large carrot; coarsely chopped
1 onion; coarsely chopped
1 large stalk celery; coarsely chopped
1 small Bay leaf
3 cups turkey stock; chicken stock, or canned low-salt chicken broth
3 cups Water
4 cups turkey broth
1 cup Dry white wine
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup All-purpose flour
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Original recipe makes 6 Servings



For the Brine:


To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a nonreactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, food grade plastic storage bag). Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary. Note: if you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.

Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.

Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels both inside and out. Place turkey, breast side up, in a large, heavy roasting pan. Rub breast side with orange segments and rub on all sides with the butter, stuffing some underneath the skin. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, remaining orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string. Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour.

Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock.

Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

For the turkey broth:

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard to the pan and saute until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Pour the stock and 3 cups of water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about 1 hour, adding the chopped liver to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup. Pull the meat off the neck, chop the neck meat and giblets, and set aside.

For the pan gravy:

Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a glass-measuring cup and skim off the fat.

Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat add the pan juice and 1 cup turkey broth and the white wine to the pan, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 3 cup of broth and bring to a simmer, then transfer to a measuring cup. In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux. Add the hot stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add the reserved neck meat and giblets to the pan and adjust seasoning, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve. Have a great holiday!

Slice and serve guests with desired sides.


Loved it best turkey I've ever had. Couldn't wait for it to hit the table I just kept eating it.

Verified by Tammylucas
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This was my first Turkey EVER!!! My friends where impressed as I am only about 1 year into this cooking "thing". I even have ideas about how I may modify this recipe...but not much because it was the BOOM!!

A 20 lbs turkey in brine, in a 4 quart zip lock bag, in the roasting pan works very well! Same amount of brine. No more brine added. Breat side down. Works very very well.

Calories Per Serving: 1553 Get detailed nutrition information, including line-by-line nutrition insights?  Try BigOven Pro for Free for 14 days!

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Took some time to prepare but it was worth it, everyone at my family dinner loved it. My turkey was moist and juicey. I will make it again!!!
Annieldynred 3m ago

Too Many Steps, Basting Un-Needed Step
TheChefReilly 5m ago

Thank you for sharing this recipe! I used it for my first hosting of a Christmas dinner, and everyone loved how the turkey came out. They said it was flavorful and juicy! I will absolutely use this recipe for future dinners. To future cooks who stumble on this recipe: it may look overwhelming, but it really is fairly simple and well worth it in the end!
veeimm22 1y ago

This is really great. I love turkey.
bestlova 1y ago

I forgot to mention I brined it for about 30 hours in a cooler and just kept draining the water and adding more ice around the bag that contained the turkey.
_AshlynNicole 2y ago

Cooked a turkey for the first time on thanksgiving and used this recipe. I consider myself an above average cook but always avoided cooking turkey due to the fact that my wife does not like it. I brined it for 24 he's and then cooked it with Alton Browns instructions. Came out perfect!!!! My wife raved about it. No leftovers! She even asked me to cook it again for Christmas!!! Definitely a keeper!
Jkohlerdc 2y ago

Great recipe. Worth the effort. My new Thanksgiving recipe.
matthover 2y ago

I made this yesterday for Thanksgiving; 13 guests, 26 pound turkey. Barely any left overs for two turkey sandwiches. It was the most succulent turkey EVER. Definitely watch your cooking time, mine was done in 4 hours- so juicy, it was unbelievable!!. No gravy needed, definitely a must any time turkey is made! YUMMMMM!
Akindergar10 2y ago

I helped my aunt make this..OMG it was WAAAY too much work for a very mediocre result! As for the gravy it simply didn't happen. I ended up going to the store to buy some canned stuff. I'm making my turkey tomorrow, but it won't be with this recipe.
KendraCooks 2y ago

I made this today and followed the directions precisely. I have NEVER received so many compliments before! Even my picky eaters gobbled this down and then asked for seconds. Everyone was so surprised about how juicy it was! Thank you for posting this recipe!!!
KattBluu 2y ago

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