Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey

4.8
(886)

This Thanksgiving turkey recipe was passed down to me by my mother and grandmother. Orange wedges and aromatics add flavor while cooking inside the bird while a simmering mixture of champagne and chicken broth work their magic to keep the meat moist and tender. We would change the recipe a little every year since we never had it written down, but it always turned out incredibly juicy and succulent!

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Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs
Additional Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
10

The Thanksgiving turkey has the power to make or break your holiday meal. Luckily, it's not that hard to cook a perfectly moist and flavorful bird! This Thanksgiving turkey recipe couldn't be more beloved by the Allrecipes community — reviewers say they come back to it year after year.

whole turkey with a large knife
acruz6

How to Cook a Turkey

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make this top-rated Thanksgiving turkey recipe:

1. Season turkey: Stir together parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon-pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Rub the cavity of the turkey with the herb mixture, then stuff the cavity with celery, orange, onion, and carrot.
2. Prepare turkey: Place the turkey in a roasting pan lined with foil long enough to wrap around the bird. Pour Champagne and broth over the turkey, making sure to get some of the mixture inside the cavity.
3. Roast turkey: Bring the foil over the turkey and seal. Roast in a preheated oven until the juices run clear. Uncover the turkey and continue roasting until the skin turns golden brown.

How Long to Thaw a Turkey

The safest way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator. Allow approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds of meat. If you have a 15-pound frozen turkey, it'll take about three days to thaw completely in the fridge.

Learn more: 3 Ways to Safely Thaw a Frozen Turkey

How to Season a Turkey

This flavorful, juicy Thanksgiving turkey is seasoned from the inside out: The cavity is stuffed with an herbaceous mixture of dried parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon-pepper seasoning, and salt. The Champagne and chicken broth, which are poured over the turkey before roasting to keep the meat incredibly moist and juicy, also add irresistible flavor.

What Temperature to Cook a Turkey

a low angle view of a perfectly golden-brown, whole turkey sitting on a dressed dining room table.
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

If you follow this recipe with a 15-pound turkey, your Thanksgiving centerpiece should be fully cooked after about 3.5 hours in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F.

How Long to Cook a Turkey

We recommend cooking an unstuffed turkey for about 13-15 minutes per pound. This 15-pound turkey should be fully cooked within about 3.5 hours — but you should always check the internal temperature before serving to prevent food poisoning.

What Temperature Is Turkey Done?

An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone, should read at least 180 degrees F.

Learn more: How to Check the Temperature of a Turkey

How to Carve a Turkey

Turkey being carved on a large platter

Carving a turkey isn't as difficult as you might think. You'll just need a knife, a cutting board, a meat fork, and some easy-to-follow instructions. That's where we come in! Check out our step-by-step turkey carving guide (with photos!) to learn all about the surprisingly simple process.

Why Do We Eat Turkey On Thanksgiving?

Turkey may or may not have been on the menu at the 1621 harvest meal that Americans call the First Thanksgiving. In fact, experts think venison was likely the star of the show.

The roasted turkey had become synonymous with Thanksgiving until the 1800s, when savvy poultry producers launched a post-Civil War marketing campaign that prompted people to eat more turkey — especially around the holidays.

Learn more: Why Do We Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving?

How to Store Turkey Leftovers

Place turkey leftovers in airtight containers or zip-top bags, pushing out as much air as possible. Store in the fridge for three to four days. Reheat the turkey in the oven or in the microwave.

How to Use Turkey Leftovers

Don't let those Thanksgiving turkey leftovers go to waste! Check out these mouthwatering collections for delicious inspiration:

· 13 Easy Leftover Turkey Recipes for After the Big Feast
· 10 Leftover Turkey Casseroles for After Thanksgiving
· 10 Leftover Turkey Pasta Recipes

Explore our entire library of Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"This was such an amazing recipe — very easy to follow, and all of my Thanksgiving guests were raving about how moist and delicious it was," says albertiraross." Be sure to leave a little bit of the dry spice mix to sprinkle over the top of the turkey, as it makes the skin extra flavorful."

"This was amazing and super simple," raves heatherhoney. "Hands down, the juiciest turkey with the least amount of effort. Make sure to use a DEEP baking/roasting dish as the liquid really bubbles up."

"The Champagne and chicken broth really made the turkey turn out deliciously moist," according to Malanmo. "It had such a good flavor with the great combo of herbs too. I definitely recommend this recipe and would make it again."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley

  • 2 tablespoons ground dried rosemary

  • 2 tablespoons rubbed dried sage

  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves

  • 1 tablespoon lemon-pepper seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 (15 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed

  • 1 medium orange, cut into 8 wedges

  • 1 medium onion, chopped into large pieces

  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch slices

  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices

  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle champagne

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a roaster with sheets of aluminum foil long enough to wrap around turkey.

  2. Stir together parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon-pepper seasoning, and salt in a small bowl.

  3. Rub herb mixture into the turkey cavity, then stuff with orange wedges, onion, carrot and celery. Tie the legs together with kitchen string, then tuck the wings under the body. Place turkey on the foil in the roasting pan.

  4. Pour champagne and chicken broth over turkey, making sure to get some liquid in the cavity. Bring aluminum foil up and over the top of turkey and seal; try to keep the foil from touching the turkey.

  5. Roast turkey in the preheated oven until juices run clear, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Uncover turkey and continue baking until the skin turns golden brown, 30 to 60 more minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh, near the bone, should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C).

  6. Remove turkey from the oven, cover with two sheets of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area before slicing, 10 to 15 minutes.

    a low angle view of a perfectly golden-brown, whole turkey sitting on a dressed dining room table.
    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Tips

You can use white wine in place of champagne.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

556 Calories
24g Fat
4g Carbs
69g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 556
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 201mg 67%
Sodium 680mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 69g
Vitamin C 6mg 32%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 789mg 17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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