Turkey Recipe: The Secret to a Perfect Roasted Turkey

Turkey Recipe- The Secret to a Perfect Roasted Turkey | All that's Jas

 

Need a perfect turkey recipe? No matter how much you plan ahead and believe you found that easy, stress-free recipe for the perfect turkey roast, you always end up thinking: if at least the skin was crispy, the meat more tender, and where is that golden color? All you want is delicious results without losing your mind. Is that too much to ask? Trust me, I get it!

 

Simple tricks to a perfectly roasted turkey that is tender, juicy and with a crispy skin. Tips and tricks to make your Thanksgiving dinner planning easier. | allthatsjas.com | #dinner #holiday #thanksgiving #recipe #tips #howto #easy

 

For years I’ve been trying to come up with different, more unique turkey recipes for my family. I served it brined and smoked, and even made a turducken one year, just to name a few.

 

Each preparation was too time-consuming as if only roasting the darn bird doesn’t take enough time. That turducken took two days out of my life that I will never get back. And yet my family prefers this simple, tried-and-true turkey recipe.

 

This is the recipe my mom made for Christmas dinners and special occasions (Europeans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving). The recipe is from an old Croatian cookbook with torn leather binding mom proudly displayed on her bookshelf. Traditionally, Croatians serve roasted turkey with mlinci, homemade baked pasta. If you want the complete experience, you can find the simple recipe for mlinci in my book.

 

The secret to the perfect roasted turkey is keeping it simple, because who needs crazy methods and exotic ingredients? Not to mention time wasted that you could spend with your loved ones or relax.

 

Perfectly roasted turkey is not only a result of good roasting but also a good preparation and selection of the right bird.

Let’s start with these 7 valuable tips for a perfect turkey recipe:

  1. Selection

Although we all know it’s best to buy a fresh turkey, you can also get the perfect roast with a frozen one. You’ll have to keep in mind that you have to completely defrost it before baking. For each pound, you will have to set aside up to 5 hours since it is better to defrost it in the fridge. This means that larger birds can be defrosting for days.

  1. Crispy skin

Leave the turkey uncovered one day before baking or follow the recipe directions below for a crispy skin.

  1. Room temperature of the roast

Make sure that the meat stays at room temperature before baking. If you put the cold meat in the oven, it will not bake evenly. So take it out of the refrigerator at least an hour or two before putting it in the oven.

  1. Spices, spices, spices…

It’s good to season your turkey a few hours before roasting. Then it will be juicier, tender, and more delicious. Rub the bird generously with fresh or dried herbs and olive oil or butter. For extra flavor and to keep the meat juicy, place a lemon and clove-studded onion into the cavity (see the recipe below).

  1. Best cooking temperature

Baking at higher and lower temperatures has its advantages, but the ideal temperature for baking is about 350-375 degrees F. The meat is done when it reaches a temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast and 180 degrees in the thigh. If you expect a crowd, you should rather roast two smaller turkeys.

  1. No peeking!

Once your turkey is in the oven do not frequently open the door, as this will further prolong the cooking time. It’s best to bake the turkey in a roaster with a rack and a lid. See the list of things you might need in the “essentials” box below, which includes some affiliate links for your convenience.

  1. Done but…

Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil, for 20 minutes before carving. Juices inside will settle and you won’t end up with a pool of juice on the cutting board. Timing is everything! Use the sharpest knife to carve the turkey.

 

Download or print this free roasting chart for your reference by clicking on the graphic.

How long to roast a turkey chart | www.allthatsjas.com

 

Additional consumer safety tips from the USDA.

 

Now that you know what to do, check out 7 things not to do.

Consider crispy roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash as an addition to your sides and this maple cheesecake for your dessert.  Not sure how to use leftovers? My husband loves this delicious kickasserole recipe. I, however, prefer something more sophisticated, like turkey tacos.  🙂

 

This post might contain some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

 

Turkey Recipe: The Secret to a Perfect Roasted Turkey

Turkey recipe for a #perfect, juicy #roast with crispy skin. The secret is out! #thanksgiving #turkey #holiday #easy Click To Tweet

 

Thanksgiving table with roasted turkey

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12-14 pounds whole turkey
  • 1 stick butter (or ½ cup vegetable oil)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons Vegeta Natur*** (or salt)
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 onion

 

~ Free Tip ~

Make your own Italian seasoning using:

  • 1 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoons dried marjoram

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Take the giblets and neck out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out (use the giblets and neck to make turkey stock). Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers, and pat the inside and outside dry. Then pour hot water over the skin of the turkey. The skin will tighten (this pulls the proteins in the skin together to form a tight surface which crisps up better). Pat dry the turkey again with paper towels.
  3. Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan. Add one cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Brush the outside of the turkey with melted butter.
  4. Mix together the Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, Vegeta or salt.
  5. Rub the herb mixture liberally all over the turkey, spreading a little in the cavity and being sure to season the back, the breasts, and the meaty thighs.
  6. Wash the lemon and peel the onion. Press cloves into the onion. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, clove-studded onion, and the bay leaves.
  7. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
  8. Cover and roast the turkey for 2½ hours until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear. Uncover the turkey, and continue baking until the skin turns golden brown, 30 minutes to 1 hour longer. (The internal temperature should reach 170 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast and 180 degrees in the thigh)
  9. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  10. Carve the turkey with a sharp knife and serve.

 

Preparation of the turkey for roasting

 

ESSENTIALS

for Roasted Turkey Recipe

  • A large roasting pan with a rack and a dome lid makes roasting a breeze, but you can use the open pan as well and cover with aluminum foil. Just make sure to leave room around the skin.
  • Making sure your turkey is cooked through is very important. Thus, a meat thermometer is a must in every kitchen, plus you can use it for BBQ, baking, and any other cooking needs.
  • Italian seasoning, in case you don’t want to make your own blend.
  • *** Vegeta Natur is a Croatian additive-free seasoning mix. I put it on everything and couldn’t cook without it. It is great to season your meats, soups, stews, and vegetables.
  • Whole cloves for the spiked (punk) onion. 😉
  • Remember, a sharp knife is essential but an electric knife makes carving the turkey much easier.

 

Carved roasted turkey

5 from 5 votes
Turkey Recipe- The Secret to a Perfect Roasted Turkey | All that's Jas
Turkey Recipe: The Secret to a Perfect Roasted Turkey
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 30 mins
 

The secret to a perfectly roasted turkey is an easy, simple recipe that yields crispy skin and delicious tender meat that you can proudly serve to your Thanksgiving guests.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Croatian
Servings: 10
Author: Jas
Ingredients
  • 12-14 pounds whole turkey
  • 1 stick butter or ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons Vegeta Natur* or salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 onion
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Take the giblets and neck out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out (use the giblets and neck to make turkey stock). Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers, and pat the inside and outside dry. Then pour hot water over the skin of the turkey. The skin will tighten (this pulls the proteins in the skin together to form a tight surface which crisps up better). Pat dry the turkey again with paper towels.
  3. Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan. Add one cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Brush the outside of the turkey with melted butter.
  4. Mix together the Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, Vegeta or salt.
  5. Rub the herb mixture liberally all over the turkey, spreading a little in the cavity and being sure to season the back, the breasts, and the meaty thighs.
  6. Wash the lemon and peel the onion. Press cloves into the onion. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, clove-studded onion, and the bay leaves.
  7. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
  8. Cover and roast the turkey for 2½ hours until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear. Uncover the turkey, and continue baking until the skin turns golden brown, 30 minutes to 1 hour longer. (The internal temperature should reach 170 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast and 180 degrees in the thigh)
  9. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  10. 10. Carve the turkey with a sharp knife and serve.
Recipe Notes

~ Free Tip ~

Make your own Italian seasoning using:

  • 1 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme 
  • 1 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoons dried marjoram
Pin it now for later: Turkey Recipe

The secret to a perfect roasted turkey is an easy, simple recipe that yields crispy skin, tender and delicious meat that you can proudly serve to your Thanksgiving guests. Roasting time chart and 7 valuable tips included.

See this recipe featured on Tatertots & Jello, Our Crafty Mom, and Raven Would.

 

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Jas

publisher and creative director at All that's Jas
Jas is a cheesecake addict and the author of Balkan Comfort Food cookbook available on Amazon. You can download a free excerpt of the book when you subscribe to All that's Jas newsletter updates or purchase the full version below. To learn more about Jas visit her About page.
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22 Comment

  1. Reply
    Ann
    October 21, 2017 at 5:01 am

    ThTs s really neat trick – stuffing cloves into the onion. I’ll hv to remember that next time. I love turkeys. Specifically roast . Yum. We shd be making them soon too!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 21, 2017 at 11:50 am

      Thanks, Ann! Hope you like it this way. Let me know how it turned out 🙂

  2. Reply
    Sheri
    October 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    So helpful! Thanks so much for joining us at the To Grandma’s House We Go link party. Your link has been pinned! Please join us again next Wednesday!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 26, 2017 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks!!!

  3. Reply
    Leslie
    October 26, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    I’m almost disappointed that we’re not getting to host Thanksgiving this year, because it would be interesting to compare these tips to our favorite (smoked, grilled) turkey. Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 27, 2017 at 10:36 am

      Aw, there’s always a next time, Leslie! 😉

  4. Reply
    Jann Olson
    October 27, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing these great tips for roasting a turkey with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 28, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      My pleasure, Jann!

  5. Reply
    Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle
    October 29, 2017 at 2:05 am

    Thank you that is such a comprehensive help for cooking a turkey. I have learned a lot from your tips, I have been doing several things wrong. Wow, you have such a pretty and kind face 🙂

    Kathleen
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 29, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Oh my word, thank you so much for your kind words, Kathleen! You made my day 😀
      I’m so glad you found my turkey tips helpful. Have a blessed week!

  6. Reply
    Miz Helen
    October 30, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I agree with you, we love a roasted turkey and is our favorite. Your recipe looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday! Have a great week and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 30, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks so much!

  7. Reply
    Leanna
    October 30, 2017 at 10:50 am

    This is a very different method for roasting a turkey and I love it. I get so bored with the same old bird and Hubs insists on turkey (yawn lol). This version is actually appealing to me, thanks for sharing it.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 30, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      I’m so glad you like it! My family always votes for turkey too (we’re not big on ham). 😀

  8. Reply
    Amber Harrop
    October 30, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    I do love a perfectly cooked turkey and these are great tips Jas

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 30, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you, Amber! 🙂

  9. Reply
    Florence
    October 30, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Jas, grateful to have the recipe and the instructions you give. My turkey never turns out the way I’d like it to, so I end up buying one pre-cooked, but I would prefer to cook it myself. Having your info makes me brave enough to try it again.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 30, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      I hope you try it, Florence! This recipe never failed me 🙂

  10. Reply
    Carrie @ Carrie's Home Cooking
    October 31, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    This looks delicious! thank you so much for sharing with us at Whisk It Wednesday link party! Pinned and shared!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 31, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Thanks so much! 🙂

  11. Reply
    Mary
    November 1, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Jas, it is time for me to make a Thanksgiving dinner, complete with pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. I have missed this sooo much. I have to admit we had our own turnkey’s in Greece but there is something different about Thanksgiving when it is celebrated here. Thanks for all the great tips.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      November 1, 2017 at 11:20 pm

      It sure is special celebrating here, Mary! And you’re welcome.
      P.S. Now that you’re here and can get your hands on maple syrup, will you make my maple cheesecake? LOL 😉

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