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+ servings

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

This easy Thanksgiving turkey uses a simple herb butter mixture and a cooking method that always makes crispy, browned skin. It's the easiest way to make an impressive and perfectly-cooked turkey of any size. This is a no-fuss recipe with no brining and no basting.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Resting Time20 mins
Servings: 15 people*

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 3 teaspoons dried sage
  • 3 teaspoons dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 - 22 pound) turkey
  • 3 large yellow onions cut into quarters
  • 1 lemon cut into quarters

Equipment

  • String or twine (for tying the legs of the turkey)
  • Large roasting pan (aluminum or stainless steel)
  • Meat thermometer

Instructions

  • Prepare the oven: move an oven rack to the lowest position possible. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Make the herb butter: In a small bowl, mix together butter, sage, thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Prepare the turkey: remove the turkey from its packaging and remove the neck & giblets from inside its cavity. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Stuff the turkey: place the turkey in a roasting pan. Add the onion and lemon into the cavity of the turkey. If not all of the onion fits, add it into the pan around the turkey. Tie the legs of the turkey together with string or twine.
  • Add the herb butter under the turkey skin: loosen the skin on top of the turkey by placing a hand under the skin at the neck of the turkey. Move your hand along the turkey breast until the skin is separated from the meat. Add half of the herb butter under the skin, covering the turkey breast.
  • Add remaining herb butter: Add the remaining half of the butter on top of the skin of the turkey, rubbing it on the whole turkey (including the wings & legs).
  • Roast & add foil: Roast the turkey in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Then loosely tent foil over the turkey, covering it completely but not tightly. The turkey should be lightly browned before adding the foil, let it roast longer before adding foil for a more browned turkey.
  • Finish roasting: for turkeys 15 - 18 pounds roast for 2 ¾ - 3 ½ more hours; for turkeys 18 - 20 pounds roast for 3 ½ - 4 more hours; for turkeys 21 - 22 pounds, roast for 4 ¼ - 4 ½ more hours. Take the temperature of your turkey in the thickest part of the breast meat (not touching bone) to know when it’s done. It should be cooked through to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Rest & serve: remove turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 20 - 30 minutes before carving.

Notes

*Turkey serving size: 
  • 15 - 18 pounds: 12 - 15 people 
  • 18 - 20 pounds: 15 - 18 people
  • 20 - 22 pounds: 18 - 20 people

Nutrition

Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.4g | Protein: 17.1g | Fat: 13.6g | Saturated Fat: 7.1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 1.4g | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg