The biggest myth in all of American cookery is that a juicy, perfectly cooked turkey is difficult for the novice cook to achieve. Even if this is your first time, don't play scared, this will work! There is nothing to fear but the fear of dry turkey itself.

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Ingredients

24
Original recipe yields 24 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

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  • Place onion, celery, and carrot in a large, shallow roasting pan.

  • Place turkey, breast side up, on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan. Pat the outside and inside of the turkey dry with paper towels.

  • Combine salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Season the inside of the turkey with about 1/3 of the salt mixture. Fold wing tips under the bird.

  • Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat until the edges begin to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Cook and stir rosemary and sage for 1 minute.

  • Place rosemary and sage inside the cavity of the turkey; reserve melted butter. Tie the legs together with twine.

  • Brush outside of the turkey completely with the melted butter. Season with remaining 2/3 of the salt mixture.

  • Bake turkey, uncovered, in the preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 3 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest in a warm area 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Cook's Note:

Be sure you buy a meat thermometer before Thanksgiving; it will be the most important tool in the kitchen that day.

Nutrition Facts

355 calories; protein 45.5g 91% DV; carbohydrates 1.5g 1% DV; fat 17.2g 27% DV; cholesterol 136mg 45% DV; sodium 603.5mg 24% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (113)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
01/01/2013
I recommend this recipe to anyone who wants an easy delicious bird. This recipe turned out great for me... I followed it exactly. Read More
(67)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
01/26/2016
I followed the recipe exactly. It was very easy to do. I bought a 12 lb. turkey but when the 3 hours were up the turkey was not done. The breast was almost done but the legs and thighs were still bleeding. I had to put it back in but by the time the dark meat cooked, the breast was dried out. I cried all Christmas dinner. Read More
(38)
150 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 132
  • 4 star values: 15
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
01/01/2013
I recommend this recipe to anyone who wants an easy delicious bird. This recipe turned out great for me... I followed it exactly. Read More
(67)
Rating: 2 stars
01/25/2016
I followed the recipe exactly. It was very easy to do. I bought a 12 lb. turkey but when the 3 hours were up the turkey was not done. The breast was almost done but the legs and thighs were still bleeding. I had to put it back in but by the time the dark meat cooked, the breast was dried out. I cried all Christmas dinner. Read More
(38)
Rating: 5 stars
11/21/2012
Thank You, Thank you, thank you!!! This is an excellent recipe!! Simple, but simply perfection!! The bird is so moist, and no fuss with brining!! Read More
(35)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/23/2012
This was my first year cooking a turkey from scratch. The recipe is flexible but the technique that he explains in the video made this year a complete 100% success! Thanks Chef John! Read More
(25)
Rating: 4 stars
01/03/2014
Great video! For those of us that have been cruising by while Mom made the Turkey each year and all of a sudden it's our turn and we haven't got a clue. Read More
(12)
Rating: 5 stars
11/27/2012
Made a delayed Thanksgiving Dinner today....Absolutely the best Turkey Ever!! So moist and flavorful. Try this recipe and drain the juices and add chicken stock to make the gravy at the end. You will not be sorry. Read More
(11)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/23/2015
I know this recipe says for beginners and first-time turkey makers but I have been cooking the Thanksgiving meal for my family for over 20 years and this is still my favorite way to cook a turkey. There are fancier methods out there but I think turkey is one of those foods that is so delicious all by itself that it doesn't really need all those bells and whistles. This easy recipe gives you a delicious juicy beautiful turkey every single time. Thanks Chef John for another winner!! Read More
(9)
Rating: 4 stars
01/16/2017
Good recipe for flavour. I will definitely do this again. My problem was the temp. For an 11 lbs unstuffed turkey it took 4 hours and it was still iffy by the bone. I will start my next one at 400 F breast down for 1 hour. Then flip it breast side up reduce temp to 325 F for 2 more hours. This is my tried and true method and the meat literally falls off the bone. Looking forward to combining these recipes. Yum! Read More
(9)
Rating: 5 stars
12/25/2015
Excellent! My new stand by And yet again - another perfect turkey:) Thanks Chef John Read More
(6)