Turkey is the main event of Thanksgiving dinner, so it’s definitely not something anyone wants to mess up. If you’ve been put in charge of the bird this year, then follow along with this recipe to make a flawless (and healthy) turkey. Get more tips for roasting turkey here, and learn how to carve it like a pro here.
Herb Roasted Turkey
Roasting a perfect Thanksgiving turkey can be a tough task that may leave you with a dry, tasteless bird. Find out how to avoid a tough turkey.
- 1 (18 lb.) raw whole turkey
- 1½ tsp. sea salt or Himalayan salt
- 2 Tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
- 1½ tsp. dried thyme
- 1½ tsp. dried ground sage
- 1½ tsp. dried oregano
- 1½ tsp. dried basil
- 6 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth (or turkey broth), divided use
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 18 sprigs fresh marjoram leaves removed and finely chopped, stems discarded
- 18 sprigs fresh parsley finely chopped
- 2 medium onions cut into ¼-inch slices
- 2 medium carrots cut into ¼-inch slices
- 2 medium celery stalks cut into ¼-inch slices
- 2 medium leeks cut into ¼-inch slices
- 1 head garlic halved crosswise
- Cooking string/twine
Preheat oven to 450° F. Place rack in lowest position in oven.
Remove turkey neck and giblets from inside turkey; rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
Combine salt, pepper, thyme, sage, oregano, and basil in a small bowl; mix well.
Slide your hand under the skin of the turkey breast to loosen. Rub the pepper mixture inside turkey cavity, under skin, and on skin.
Pour ¼ cup broth into turkey cavity.
Combine ¾ cup broth and chopped garlic in a small bowl; pour over turkey.
Combine marjoram, parsley, onions, carrots, celery, and leeks in a large bowl; mix well.
Place in turkey cavity with garlic head.
Tie turkey legs together with cooking string. Place turkey breast side up on cooking rack set in a large, heavy roasting pan. Pour 2 cups broth into bottom of roasting pan. Tent aluminum foil over turkey and sides of the pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
Reduce heat to 325° F. Bake for an additional 3 to 3½ hours, basting with remaining 3 cups broth and pan juices every 20 minutes. Remove aluminum foil after 2½ hours. Bake until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 180° F, and juices run clear.
Let turkey sit for 20 minutes before carving. Discard skin and vegetables before serving.
The Nutrition Facts box below provides estimated nutritional information for this recipe.
Photos by Kirsten Morningstar