Today I’m sharing how to make a Thanksgiving turkey when you’ve never made one before. Making a Thanksgiving turkey for the first time can seem daunting but it’s actually really easy.
With a few simple ingredients you’ll get a super flavorful and perfectly roasted turkey and everyone will think you’ve been making Thanksgiving turkey all your life!
I was talking to a friend of mine and she shyly admitted to me that she had never cooked a turkey before (referenced this in the amazing cranberry walnut crumb bars recipe I just shared). I couldn’t believe it!
As we continued talking, she said that it just seemed too daunting. She remembers getting up early with her Dad to start the lengthy turkey process. And she mostly just remembers all of the steps (do we pull things out of the turkey? Do we save juices for gravy? How often do we baste? What about adding vegetables?)
So, I invited her over while I made this recipe and by the end of it, she said that she felt like “it wasn’t hard to make” and like she could go home and cook a turkey. That was just music to my ears. It made me so proud that I am able to help with a super simple turkey recipe!
I’ve made turkey recipes before, but they each had a unique twist. For instance, my recipe for an easy 5 Ingredient Turkey has a sneaky ingredient (soy sauce) that helps brown the skin and my other favorite turkey recipe is for Easy Instant Pot Turkey Breast. But I was missing a classic turkey recipe and that’s what inspired me to post this one.
Every year, Nick’s family hosts Thanksgiving so I don’t often make turkey’s, but when I do, I love using Kroger brand turkeys from Pick ‘n Save. You should definitely get your Thanksgiving turkey there, they have everything and are my favorite grocery store because of how easy it is to shop there for everything. And speaking of Pick ‘n Save…earlier this week I shared the most amazing recipe for cranberry walnut crumb dessert bars which you should definitely add to your Thanksgiving feast which I made in partnership with them as well (as you can tell, I love them!!)
I carry a special little tip with me every time I make a turkey and it has nothing to do with how to make the turkey, but instead how to present it beautifully! Tip-buy a large amount of parsley (it’s super cheap so don’t be shy!) and I like to add a little rosemary too. Mostly, the rosemary just adds another layer of delicious scent to the dish. Lay the parsley and rosemary on a platter; fan them toward the inside (stems on the inside). The greens help so the turkey juices don’t flow out on to the plate and look unsightly.
And in case you’re wondering, my friend even went home the week after we made this recipe and made a turkey of her own using this recipe! It looked so yummy and she said it was delicious. So anyone can do it!
If you’re looking for how to make a Thanksgiving turkey when you’ve never made one before (or if you’re simply looking for a delicious and simple Thanksgiving turkey you know will turn out good) THIS is the recipe for you.
Other Thanksgiving recipes you might enjoy:
- What should I make for Thanksgiving
- Pumpkin pie (only 5 ingredients – so good!)
- Sweet potato casserole – made in a slow cooker
Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe
- 1 12-20lb turkey
- 1 head of garlic chopped in half
- 1 yellow onion peeled and quartered
- 1 stick 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- salt and pepper
- 4 large carrots chopped into large pieces
- 4 pieces of celery chopped into large pieces
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Remove any packet of giblets or gizzards and discard
- Place turkey into a roasting pan.
- Cut onion into fours and stuff pieces inside the cavity
of the turkey
- Stuff head of garlic into turkey cavity
- Smear entire stick of room temperature butter all over
- Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper over the butter (I
usually use 1-2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper).
- Place carrots and celery around the side of the turkey,
in the pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 400. Leave turkey in oven and baste
it (use a turkey baster and use the baster to suck up the butter and juices and
baste it onto the top and sides and all around the turkey).
- Bring oven temperature down to 350 and baste turkey every
30 minutes, cooking until internal temperature is 165 degrees. (approximately
six minutes per pound)
This post is brought to you by my partnership with Pick ‘n Save, as always, all opinions are mine alone. Thank you for supporting the brands that make the SweetPhi blog possible. For more inspiration from Pick ‘n Save, be sure to follow their Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts.