This awesome turkey recipe is one that can be completed by a first timer with little to no stress. It's best roast turkey recipe because it's perfectly seasoned and is crispy on the outside while still being juicy on the inside. Lucky for you, if you follow my steps below you'll have a beautiful turkey dish that meets all of these important requirements!
The Best Turkey Recipe for a First Timer
There is nothing that says it's holiday season more than a perfect roast turkey. I can vividly remember my mom patiently keeping an eye on the turkey to make sure that it was cooked exactly the way my dad liked it...which by the way was dried out. Sshh! Don't tell him I told you, but for the longest time I refused to eat any type of meat because I thought that I didn't like it. In reality, I just didn't like it dried out. Thank goodness for my husband who awakened my love for meat with his strong understanding of how each type of meat should be cooked.
A favorite recipe in our house is my roast chicken so I adjusted it a bit and came up with this best turkey recipe. It's crispy on the outside and the meat has fabulous flavor. I also love that you are able to roast the turkey while cooking the vegetables underneath. It feels so efficient and is the perfect way to cook your Thanksgiving vegetables while you multi-task. Overall, this is an easy recipe for a first time turkey roaster to make. If I can do it, anyone can!
Ingredients Needed for this Dish
- One 10-15 pound Turkey
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Cloves
- Salt & Pepper
Steps for Making this Turkey Recipe
- Thoroughly clean, rinse and dry the outside and cavity of the turkey.
- Generously lather the turkey with butter. I try my best to get pieces of butter under the skin as well.
- Sprinkle salt, pepper and onion powder all over the outside of the turkey. Make sure to rub the seasoning over the turkey so that it is evenly spread out.
- Fill the cavity with garlic, onion and butter. Joe doesn't like his stuffing inside of the turkey, which is why I add the vegetables instead.
- On the bottom of the roasting pan pour in 1 cup of water to help with the basting process. For the vegetables that I want to roast with the turkey, I place chopped celery, onion and carrots in the bottom of the pain.
- I put the gizzard and giblets off to the side to simmer while the turkey cooks so that I can use it to make my famous brown gravy, which I just recently perfected. It only took me 5 years!
Equipment Needed To Make Your Turkey
I'm a true believer in not spending a ton of money on fancy equipment that you'll only use a few times a year. That is why I chose to supply my kitchen with just a few items that can be used for this juicy turkey recipe, but also could come in handy other times of the year. A roasting pan is an absolute essential. However, you definitely don't need an expensive one. I would also recommend a turkey baster and a good meat thermometer.
How Many Pounds of Turkey Per Person?
Figuring out how much turkey you need per person is generally a personal decision regarding how many leftovers you'd like. I LOVE leftovers! So the general rule of thumb I use when calculating how many pounds of turkey per person for Thanksgiving is this: assume 1 ½ pounds per serving. So for a family of 6 at dinner, I'd estimate a 9-10 lbs turkey should do the trick.
When Should you Buy the Turkey?
I love the holidays so much that I'm often eager to buy my turkey right when they start popping up in the grocery store. So the question becomes: When is the best time to buy a turkey?
The answer depends on whether you want a fresh turkey or you are okay with freezing your turkey. If you plan on freezing it, then a turkey can last frozen for up to one year (though I don't recommend it given it'll take up a lot of space in your freezer)! Once you freeze the turkey, just be sure to remember to leave enough time for moving it to the fridge for defrosting. How long does it take to thaw a turkey? According to the USDA, it'll take 24 hours per 4-5 pounds of turkey. Also, be sure to keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to keep bacteria from growing and place the turkey in a tray of some sort to prevent the juices from running all over your fridge as it thaws out.
If you are trying to figure out when to buy a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving, then I recommend you buy it no more than two days before your plan to cook it. I've had a few bad experiences with the turkey getting rancid any time I bought it earlier than that.
What are some side dishes to serve with a Turkey Dinner?
My family loves the charred crispiness of the skin with this Turkey Recipe. Also, the vegetables in the roasting pan make a ton of difference on the basting process, as well as the gravy. To compliment the meal, I usually serve it with our Lightened Up Jiffy Corn Casserole and Mashed Butternut Squash with my Garlic Mashed Potatoes topped with brown gravy.
How do you make gravy to go with a Turkey Dinner?
If you're scared of gravy or haven't found one that you love, then my brown gravy recipe is one that you're not going to want to miss! You'll be able to make this meal for multiple holidays; we often have the Turkey and these side dishes for Easter in addition to Thanksgiving. It's that popular in my household!
How to baste a Turkey
Turkey is the traditional choice for most holiday meals, but if you are a first time roaster it can definitely lead to some holiday anxiety! But I promise it won't happen with this best turkey recipe. This turkey recipe is easy enough for a first timer to pull off and flavorful enough that your mother-in-law will even ask for the recipe.
Finally, remember to take your time with the roasting process and be patient with your turkey. As long as you keep an eye on your trusty meat thermometer and continue to baste the turkey throughout the roasting process, you'll have one beautiful meal to celebrate with. Enjoy!
The Best Turkey Recipe
- 15 lb turkey
- 1 stick butter
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1-2 tbsp onion powder
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 onions chopped
- 3 carrots chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 1 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 500 F. Remove the gizzard and giblets from inside the turkey's cavity. Thoroughly clean, rinse and dry the outside and cavity of the turkey.
- Lather the turkey with at least ½ stick of butter and try to get under the skin of the turkey as well.
- Generously sprinkle salt, pepper and onion powder over the lathered butter.Rub the seasoning evenly over the outside of the turkey.Place the rest of the butter inside the cavity of the turkey.
- Add 1 chopped onion and 3 cloves of garlic minced. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the roasting pan and add the other chopped onion, 3 chopped carrots and 3 stalks of celery chopped.
- Roast turkey at 500 F for about 20 minutes or until the turkey begins to brown.Reduce heat to 350 F and continue to roast.
- Baste the turkey every 30 minutes with the drippings and liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan.
- The turkey is done once a thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the bird reads 155 to 165 F.
- It should take about 3 hours and 30 minutes for the bird to cook, but make sure to use a thermometer.Remove the turkey from the oven and let set for 20 minutes before carving.