Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe

Juicy Roast Turkey. This turkey has the juiciest, most flavorful turkey breast! KEEPER!! | natashaskitchen.com

I was so excited about this juicy roast turkey recipe every step of the way and I think you’ll feel the same way when you try it. I spent several days researching all of the best turkey recipes online, in books, and getting trusted advice from my Mom and you, my readers. This tender and delicious turkey will impress your dinner guests.

The turkey breast is so juicy and flavorful and the skin is crisp and roasts to a beautiful golden brown. I invited all of my family over to help eat this turkey and received rave reviews from 10 adults and quite a few kiddos. I was so giddy with excitement when I tasted the juicy bird. Since the beginning of my blog (2009), I’ve been flooded with requests for a great turkey recipe for the holidays.

P.S. Be sure be sure be sure to make the turkey gravy; it’s super delicious and was the talk of last year’s Thanksgiving dinner! Big Thank you to Wolf for sponsoring this recipe!

Watch How to Make a Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe:

You don’t need to be scared to try new things in the kitchen, like the Thanksgiving turkey which is the “year’s most important dish”. You can’t go wrong by adding this roast turkey recipe to your menu. It’s fantastic. Read on to learn everything you need to know for a perfect turkey. P.p.s. you can even make this turkey recipe a day in advance (stuff, butter it up, cover and refrigerate overnight then bake the next day) if it makes your life easier and it will taste even better! 🙂

Juicy Roast Turkey. This turkey has the juiciest, most flavorful turkey breast! KEEPER!! @natashaskitchen

Roast Turkey Recipe Ingredients:

12 lb turkey (Anything from 11-15 lbs will work, but bake time will vary – see below)
Salt & Pepper for the inside and outside of the bird

For the Flavored Butter:

1 cup (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin), plus more to drizzle the top
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon), plus 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
3 large garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/2 Tbsp salt (I used sea salt)
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe

For the Turkey Stuffing:

1 large onion, quartered (no peeling)
4 garlic cloves, halved (no peeling)
1/2 bunch parsley
1 lemon, quartered

What you’ll need:

Kitchen String
Heavy duty foil
A heavy roasting pan that accommodates your bird, but isn’t over-sized
A temperature probe (to ensure a fully-cooked turkey)

Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe-3

Note:

Many of you have asked about using a larger turkey. One of my readers, Shannon, shares her experience with a 23 pound turkey (Thanks Shannon!): “Used this recipe last night with a 23 pound turkey and it was superb!! I used 3 sticks of butter instead of the 2, about 1 cup of parsley, kept the zest and juice of 2 lemons and quartered them for the stuffing. Kept 1 large onion peeled & largely sliced, used about 8 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced in half.

Cooked at 430 for 20 minutes and then 350 for about 5 1/2 hours, basting occasionally. I used the tin foil hat and had to made a couple other tin foil accessories for the legs that started to scorch. Took the tin foil hat off when it had 10 minutes of cook time left to ensure a nice browned top. Had tons of drippings to make a delicious gravy with. Will use this recipe every year! So flavorful and yummy. Thank you”

Required Prep for Roast Turkey Recipe:

*If using a frozen turkey, defrost it in its plastic bag in the refrigerator for 3 days prior to roasting.

*Remove turkey from fridge about 30 minutes before you start working with it. If the turkey is closer to room temperature, it will bake more evenly. *Remove the neck and bag of giblets from the turkey.

*Rinse turkey with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Let turkey sit in over paper towels to soak up any excess water from the turkey.

*Fold the wings behind the turkey; if you don’t they are the quickest to scorch and dry out.

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Seasoning, Stuffing and Tying up a Turkey:

1. Season inside of turkey cavity generously with about 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

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2. In a medium bowl, combine: 2 sticks softened butter, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest, 4 Tbsp lemon juice, and 3 pressed garlic cloves, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/2 Tbsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Mash/stir with a fork until well combined (the lemon juice doesn’t easily stir into butter, but keep mixing and it will happen after a few minutes). This mixture was adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas Turkey video and it’s wonderful. Take a whiff of it; you’ll fall in love with how fresh it smells!

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3. Separate the skin from the turkey breast by pushing your fingers under the skin. Do this from the front and the back of the turkey, being careful not to tear the skin.

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4. Stuff 2/3 of the butter mixture under skin then spread the butter around by massaging over the top of the skin. This butter keeps the turkey breast tender, juicy and provides rich flavor.

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5. Rub remaining butter over the outside of the turkey (breast, legs, wings). Drizzle all over the top of the turkey with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper; I just love a crisp, salty skin.

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6. Stuff turkey with quartered onion, 4 halved garlic cloves, 1/2 bunch parsley and quartered lemon. Tie turkey base and legs together; crossing the legs to better close up the turkey cavity, plus it looks extra fancy on the table.

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How to Roast a Turkey:

Prep: Pre-heat the oven to 430˚F on the bake mode. Place oven rack in the lower part of your oven (mine was on the second level from the very bottom) – this ensures that your large turkey roasts in the middle of the oven and keeps the turkey breast further from the top heating element.

1. Here is a fantastic tip I picked up from Alton Brown to protect the turkey breast and keep it juicy: Fold a large square sheet of foil into a triangle. Rub one side of your triangle with olive oil and shape the foil (oil-side-down) over the turkey breast, then remove foil;  it will shield your turkey breast and keep it from getting dry. You’ll apply this shield later in the roasting process.

Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe-6Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe-7

2. Place a meat thermometer into the bird; beneath the drumstick; deep into the dark meat. It’s ready for the oven. Start roasting uncovered at 430˚F for 20 min.

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3. Remove from oven; quickly baste with butter from the bottom of the dish. You can use a baster or tilt one side of the pan and collect drippings with a large spoon. Now apply prepared foil triangle to turkey breast area.

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4. Reduce oven to 350˚F and bake for another 2 hours 30 min for a 12 lb bird. (Once you have reduced the oven to 350˚F, you will bake about 13 min for every pound of turkey). The turkey thigh should register at 170˚F on the temperature probe and the breast at 160˚F to make sure it’s fully cooked through then remove from the oven (keep in mind the turkey temp continues to rise slightly after it’s out of the oven).

Note: temperature recommendations based on the USDA which now says the safe poultry temp is 165˚F but the deeper thigh parts really should be at 170˚ to be fully cooked through. 

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5. Transfer turkey to serving platter and cover loosely but fully with foil. Let turkey rest for at least 1 hour. It will become more tender and easier to carve, the longer it sits. Keep drippings from roasting pan for a most delicious turkey gravy. Decorate around your turkey and make it festive. I used kale for my greens, then added small apples, sliced oranges and quartered lemons.

Juicy Roast Turkey. This turkey has the juiciest, most flavorful turkey breast! KEEPER!! @natashaskitchenJuicy Roast Turkey. This turkey has the juiciest, most flavorful turkey breast! KEEPER!! @natashaskitchen

Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe

4.8 from 192 reviews
Cook time:
Total time:
How to Make the Juiciest Roast Turkey Recipe (no lengthy marinating required)
Author:
Skill Level: Medium
Cost To Make: Varies by season and turkey prices

Ingredients

  • 12 lb turkey (Anything from 11-15 lbs will work, but bake time will vary)
  • Salt & Pepper for the inside and outside of the bird

For the Flavored Butter:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin), plus more to drizzle top
  • 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon), plus ½ Tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
  • ½ Tbsp salt (I used sea salt)
  • ½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground

For the Stuffing:

  • 1 large onion, quartered (no peeling)
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved (no peeling)
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 1 lemon, quartered

What you'll need:

  • Kitchen String
  • Heavy duty foil
  • A heavy roasting pan that accommodates your bird, but isn't over-sized
  • A temperature probe (to ensure a fully-cooked turkey)

Instructions

Seasoning, Stuffing and Tying up a Turkey:

  1. Season inside of turkey cavity generously with about 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine: 2 sticks softened butter, 2 Tbsp olive oil, ½ Tbsp lemon zest, 4 Tbsp lemon juice, 3 pressed garlic cloves, ¼ cup chopped parsley, ½ Tbsp salt, ½ tsp pepper. Mash /stir with a fork until well combined (the lemon juice doesn't easily stir into butter but keep mixing and it will happen after a few minutes). Take a whiff of it; you'll fall in love with how fresh it smells!
  3. Separate the skin from the turkey breast by pushing your fingers under the skin. Do this from the front and the back of the turkey; being careful not to tear the skin.
  4. Stuff ⅔ of the butter mixture under skin then spread the butter around by massaging over the top of the skin. This butter keeps the turkey breast tender, juicy and provides rich flavor.
  5. Rub remaining butter over the outside of the turkey (breast, legs, wings). Drizzle all over the top of the turkey with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper; I just love a crisp, salty skin.
  6. Stuff turkey with quartered onion, 4 halved garlic cloves, ½ bunch parsley and quartered lemon. Tie turkey base and legs together; crossing the legs to better close up the turkey cavity, plus it looks extra fancy on the table.

How to Roast a Turkey: (Pre-heat the oven to 430˚F on the bake mode. Place oven rack in the lower part of your oven (mine was on the second level from the very bottom).

  1. Here is a fantastic tip: to protect the turkey breast and keep it juicy: Fold a large square sheet of foil into a triangle. Rub one side of your triangle with olive oil and shape the foil (oil-side-down) over the turkey breast, then remove foil; it will shield your turkey breast and keep it from getting dry. You'll apply this shield later in the roasting process.
  2. Place a meat thermometer into the bird; beneath the drum stick; deep into the dark meat. Start roasting uncovered at 430˚F for 20 min.
  3. Remove from oven; quickly baste with butter from the bottom of the dish. You can use a baster or tilt one side of the pan and collect drippings with a large spoon. Now apply prepared foil triangle to turkey breast area.
  4. Reduce oven to 350˚F and bake for another 2 hours 30 min for a 12 lb bird. (Once you have reduced the oven to 350˚F, you will bake about 13 min for every pound of turkey). The turkey thigh should register at 170˚F on the temperature probe and the breast at 160˚F to make sure it's fully cooked through then remove from the oven (keep in mind the turkey temp continues to rise slightly after it's out of the oven).
  5. Transfer turkey to serving platter and cover loosely but fully with foil. Let turkey rest for at least 1 hour. It will become more tender and easier to carve, the longer it sits. Keep the drippings from roasting pan for gravy. Now you can decorate around your turkey and make it festive. I used kale for my greens, then added small apples, sliced oranges and quartered lemons.

Notes

!Instructions/Tips for prepping your bird:
*If using a frozen turkey, defrost it in its plastic bag in the refrigerator for 3 days prior to roasting.
*Remove turkey from fridge about 30 minutes before you start working with it. If the turkey is closer to room temperature, it will bake more evenly.
*Remove the neck and bag of giblets from the turkey.
*Rinse turkey with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Let turkey sit in a roasting pan lined with paper towels to soak up any excess water from the turkey.
*Fold the wings behind the turkey; if you don't they are the quickest to scorch and dry out.

Final Final Picmonkey Hashtag bannerJuicy Roast Turkey. This turkey has the juiciest, most flavorful turkey breast! KEEPER!! @natashaskitchen

This roast turkey recipe are sponsored by Sub-Zero and Wolf Appliances – I’m so excited to be working with such a phenomenal brand; they are truly top notch; the creme de la creme of ranges and ovens. Wolf is all about empowering home cooks to make predictably delicious dishes every time. This is especially crucial during the holidays when everything has to be just so, like this roast turkey recipe! Be sure to show Sub-Zero & Wolf some like and thank them for sponsoring by visiting their Facebook page.

Now you know exactly how to make this juicy roast turkey recipe :). I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Sue
    January 6, 2018

    I have a question. Since you recommend letting it sit for an hour won’t we be eating cold turkey? How do you reheat it enough to not dry it out? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 6, 2018

      Hi Sue, because the turkey is large, if it is tented with foil for an hour, it will still be warm. You could maybe pull off 30 minutes of resting but I wouldn’t do any less than that 🙂 Reply

  • Nina
    January 2, 2018

    Looks so good! Would those instructions work for chicken?
    Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 3, 2018

      Hi Nina, I haven’t personally tested with a smaller bird like a chicken but I love that idea and I bet it would work great. I would decrease the amount of butter mix proportionally and yes decrease the bake time. I have had a couple of readers report great results using this recipe for chicken (and also covering the chicken breast with foil). One of my readers said it took about 1 1/2 hours for a chicken, but it would really depend on the size of the chicken and I would suggest using a thermometer to check for doneness. Reply

      • Nina
        January 3, 2018

        Thank you for your reply, I just finished marinating the chicken, planning to bake it tomorrow 🙂 Reply

  • Dylan Watson
    January 1, 2018

    Hi Natasha Dylan here just to say I followed your recipe but used oranges instead of lemons and it came out moist succulent and fantastic wish I took a photo of it now . Will never use any other recipe from now on thank you whole family loved it Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 1, 2018

      Hello Dylan! I’m so glad to hear that. Thanks for sharing your excellent review with other readers! Reply

  • Evgenia Jalali
    December 30, 2017

    I followed this recipe and the turkey turned out absolutely delicious and moist. Everyone loved it and i will definetely repeat this recipe next time i make the turkey. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 30, 2017

      I’m happy to hear the recipe is such a hit! Thanks for sharing your great review! Reply

  • Serritha Harrison
    December 25, 2017

    The turkey was amazing! So juicy and tasty! Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 26, 2017

      You’re welcome Serritha! I’m glad you enjoy the recipe. Thanks for sharing! Reply

  • Karen
    December 25, 2017

    Natasha, I have cooked a lot of turkeys in my time – I’m in my mid-70s – but I can always learn something new. Thanks for doing the research! This is beyond question the juiciest, most tender turkey I have ever eaten, and the guests at Christmas dinner agreed. I have sent them all the link to your recipe. Yum. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 26, 2017

      My pleasure Karen! I’m happy to hear how much you enjoy the recipe. Thanks for sharing your excellent review! Reply

  • Christine
    December 23, 2017

    Hi Natasha, I decided to prep my turkey this afternoon, day before Xmas.
    Unfortunately I interpreted 2 blocks of unsalted butter for 2 x 250 grams.
    Will this spoil the result? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 23, 2017

      Hi Christine, 1 cup of butter is 226 grams. You will have twice the amount needed for the recipe. It won’t harm the turkey but give you a lot of extra butter on the bottom of the pan. Have a Merry Christmas! Reply

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