Here you’ll find the recipe for my juicy and tender herb-roasted turkey. You’ll also find a simple yet complete guide on perfectly roasting a turkey to help you create and serve a hassle-free Thanksgiving meal.
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The turkey has arrived
Finally, after all the delicious side dishes for my Thanksgiving celebration, here is the bird. I shouldn’t say finally because the gravy is still to come. What I mean is here is my turkey, seasoned with my herbs and garlic butter and stuffed with my rice, cranberries, apples, bacon, and herbs stuffing. Keep reading for the best tips for seasoning and making a juicy turkey.
How to calculate the amount of turkey per person
When buying your turkey, it’s always a good idea to calculate one pound per person. If you look for lots of leftovers, calculate around 1.5 pounds per person. That weight includes the bones. Consider that larger turkeys tend to have more meat than the little ones.
The ultimate guide on how to roast a turkey
This is not rocket science. I promise that following these easy steps; you’ll end with the juiciest turkey ever:
- In advance (better if the day before), make a log of garlic herb compound butter and freeze it.
- If you decide to stuff your turkey, have your stuffing ready and warm (please see more on stuffing below.)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Use disposable gloves to manipulate the turkey.
- Remove the giblets from the cavity.
- Rinse your fresh or thawed turkey with current water, and dry it inside and out with paper towels.
- Chop some onions, carrots, and celery and make a bed (or should I say a nest?) in an oven bag. Place the bag open in a roasting pan.
- Slice the compound butter in 1/3 inch medallions.
- Put the compound butter medallions between the skin and the flesh of the turkey and inside the cavity.
- Stuff the turkey with the stuffing of your choice or with my rice, cranberries, apples, bacon, and herbs stuffing. If you choose not to stuff your turkey, simply fill the cavity with a couple of apples and small onions so it keeps its form.
- Secure the turkey with kitchen twine, and place it inside the oven bag, breast on top.
- Place a couple of compound butter medallions on the turkey breast.
- Tie the oven bag following package instructions and bring the turkey to the oven.
- Roast the turkey according to its weight (see below.)
- Once the turkey is done, remove the roaster from the oven, open the bag and with the help of a turkey baster, pump the juices and reserve them to make the gravy.
- Wait 30 minutes to carefully place the turkey on the carving board or your serving platter.
- Untie the turkey. If you stuff it with apples and onions, discard them. If you stuff with stuffing, no further action is required.
- Decorate with fresh herbs, including sage, rosemary, thyme, and your choice of fresh fruit. I used oranges, but you can add apples and figs, among others.
How long should a turkey be roasted?
The answer to the question of how long a turkey should be roasted in the oven is simple: it all depends on the size and weight of the bird. Following are the oven times according to different weights, and taking into account that the oven is preheated at 325°F:
- For a turkey 8 to 12-pound, serving 8 people, roast it for 3.5 to 4.5 hours.
- For a turkey 12 to 16-pound, serving 10 to 12 people, roast it for 4.5 to 5.5 hours.
- For a turkey 16 to 20-pound, serving around 12-14 people, roast it for 5.5 to 6.5 hours.
Is it safe to stuff a turkey?
Stuffing a turkey is a personal choice. When I first wrote this post in November 2011, I used to stuff it. Not anymore. Now I prefer to serve the stuffing separately as a side dish. However, it’s safe to stuff a turkey if you follow the recommendations of the US Department of Agriculture, including:
- Avoid stuffing in advance so there is no cross-contamination: cook it and stuff your bird immediately.
- Loose stuff your turkey to facilitate the cooking process.
- If your turkey is stuffed, calculate 30 more minutes in the oven.
- Have a meat thermometer handy and ensure the turkey and the stuffing reach 165°F.
Why use an oven bag?
I am a fan of oven bags for several reasons. The first is because it gives me the certainty that the turkey will not dry out. On the contrary, it will be super moist and juicy. If it weren’t for the fact that everyone loves gravy, you could skip the gravy or the cranberry sauce. Also, inside the bag, the turkey cooks and browns perfectly.
The second reason, but not less important, is once you take out the turkey and remove the juices to make the gravy, you discard the bag, and you don’t have to clean the pan, and that’s a profit.
One last recommendation: do not wait until the last minute to buy your bags as they tend to sell out. To be on the safe side, buy it once November starts.
Herb-Roasted Turkey Recipe
Following is my recipe. I hope you like it as much as my family does. Thank you for subscribing to my YouTube channel, and visiting my Amazon store, where you can find everything you need to roast your turkey.
Juicy Herb-Roasted Turkey
- 10 pound turkey fresh or thawed washed and dried with paper towels
- coarse sea salt to taste
- black pepper freshly ground
- ½ cup a recipe of garlic-herb compound butter, shaped into a log, and sliced into 1/8 inch medallions
- 6 cups wild and basmati rice turkey stuffing with cranberries, apples, bacon, and herbs (in case you choose to stuff the turkey)
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 1 cup carrot chopped
- 1 1/2 cups celery stalks chopped
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Put an oven bag on a roasting pan.
- Place the onions, carrots, and celery on the bottom of the bag.
- Put the butter medallions between the turkey skin and meet, and then in the cavity.
- Stuff the cavity with the rice mixture.
- Secure the turkey and place it inside the bag.
- Place some more butter on the breast.
- Tie the bag and roast the turkey, inside the bag, for 4.5 hours.
- Wait at least half hour to place the turkey on the serving plate.
- Reserve the drippings for the gravy.
- Nutrition facts for this recipe don’t include the stuffing. To see those values, please check my rice, bacon, cranberry, and apple stuffing recipe.
- If you choose not to stuff your turkey, fill it with apples and onions so it keeps its form. Please discard these apples and onions before placing the turkey in the carving board.