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Thanksgiving Turkey


roast turkey recipe

Thanksgiving Turkey

Stephanie Gallagher
Everybody makes a big deal about how to cook a turkey. There are all sorts of methods people swear by to keep their turkey moist and succulent. From brining to deep-frying to buying organic or heritage turkeys, I've heard them all and tried most of them. And I've come to believe the simplest methods are often the best. Such is the case with this recipe. As this turkey is roasting, the whole house smells delicious. A compound butter mixture is rubbed under the turkey's skin to keep it moist.

Serve this Thanksgiving turkey with turkey stuffing, cranberry relish and green bean casserole.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 12-18 people


  • 12-15 lb. turkey (thawed if frozen)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 cups apple cider


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Set a shallow rack in a roasting pan.

  2. In the sink, unwrap the turkey. Reach your hand inside the turkey, and remove the neck and giblets. Rinse the turkey with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Set the turkey on the rack, breast side up.

  3. Wash your hands. Mix the softened butter and fresh herbs together.

  4. Gently lift the skin of the turkey breast away from the meat with your fingers. Slide your hand all the way under the skin to the neck to gently loosen the skin without tearing it. Grab all but two tablespoons of the butter mixture, and rub it under the turkey skin on the breast meat. Remember to do both sides of the breast.

  5. Spread the remaining two tablespoons of butter on top of the turkey skin (outside).

  6. Pour the apple cider over the turkey.

  7. Cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil. Roast 2-1/2 to 3 hours (depending on the size of the turkey). Uncover. Roast another 30-90 minutes, basting occasionally to ensure a nicely-browned turkey, until a digital thermometer (buy direct) inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F.

  8. Let the turkey rest 30 minutes before carving.
Use the pan juices from the turkey to make a flavorful gravy.

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