Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

I believe that the holidays should be as stress-free as possible, and in order to do that, you have to plan ahead. By now you should have most of the ingredients on your shopping list, especially the star of your meal – the turkey. I’ve used this recipe for years. It’s simple and delicious and gets rave reviews every time.


1 turkey approx 16-18 lbs or 1 turkey breast if prefer to serve white meat only (note shorter cooking time)
1 onion, cut into fourths, for giblet broth
1 carrot, cut into large pieces for giblet broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
1 teaspoon pepper plus more to taste
2 onions and 2 celery stalks cut in half for turkey cavities
1 tablespoon butter, soften to room temp
1 or 2 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth for basting

Makes 12 Servings


1. Remove the oven racks except for the bottom one, so you can put the turkey on the bottom rack. Preheat to 375 degrees.

2. Remove any giblet packages and the neck bone from the turkey cavities.

3. Rinse the turkey in cold water, including the cavities and all the skin. Pat it dry with paper towel. Put it in a large roasting pan and lightly sprinkle inside with salt and pepper. If you have a roasting pan with a rack, use the rack so that the juices and fat drip down into the pan and the turkey isn’t sitting in them.

4. Turn the turkey over so that the breast is down. Put one onion and one stalk of celery in the smaller cavity. Pull the skin over the cavity and secure it with metal or wooden skewers. Turn the turkey over and fold the wings underneath. Put one onion and one stalk of celery into the larger cavity.

5. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine, or use metal clamp that came with the turkey to keep the legs together. Rub butter all over the skin with your hands. If you have a meat thermometer that isn’t the instant-read kind, put it into the thickest part of the thigh, but be sure it isn’t touching a bone.

6. Roast the turkey for 3 to 4 hours, depending on its size (a turkey breast may take just 1 to 2 hours). Baste with chicken broth until the turkey releases fat into the roasting pan. Then baste with the fat, every 15 to 30 minutes.

7. Start checking the meat thermometer says 180 degrees and the juice runs clear when you poke the thigh. (Don’t poke the breast, to keep all the juices in the white meat.) If the turkey is turning brown too quickly, cover it with foil while it is roasting. Keep an eye on it.

8. When the turkey is done, remove it carefully to a platter and cover it with a tent of foil. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before carving. This is when you can put all your other dishes into the over for last minute reheating.

When the relationship is over, if you did your part, he’ll reward you with a fabulous holiday meal. If you are commitment-phobic, just buy and roast a turkey breast. It’s much faster. For more of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, follow me on Pinterest.

For more Thanksgiving recipes, follow Bethenny on Pinterest.