Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe
Cook Time: 2 hours 50 minutes Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
How to Make the Juiciest Roast Turkey Recipe (no lengthy marinating required)
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: Varies by season and turkey prices
Keyword: Juicy Roast Turkey
Course: Main Course
12 lb turkey Anything from 11-15 lbs will work, but bake time will vary
Salt & Pepper for the interior and outside of the bird
For the Flavored Butter:
1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp olive oil, not extra virgin, plus more to drizzle the top
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice from 1 large lemon, plus 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
3 large garlic cloves pressed
1/4 cup freshly minced parsley
1/2 Tbsp salt I used sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
For the Stuffing:
1 large onion quartered (no peeling)
4 garlic cloves halved (no peeling)
1/2 bunch parsley
1 lemon quartered
What you’ll need:
A heavy roasting pan that accommodates your bird but isn’t over-sized
A temperature probe to ensure a fully-cooked turkey
Seasoning, Stuffing, and Tying up a Turkey:
Season inside of turkey cavity generously with about 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine: 2 sticks softened butter, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest, 4 Tbsp lemon juice, 3 pressed garlic cloves, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/2 Tbsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Mash /stir with a fork until well combined (the lemon juice doesn’t easily stir into butter but keep mixing and it will happen after a few minutes). Take a whiff of it; you’ll fall in love with how fresh it smells!
Separate the skin from the turkey breast by pushing your fingers under the skin. Do this from the front and the back of the turkey; being careful not to tear the skin.
Stuff 2/3 of the butter mixture under skin then spread the butter around by massaging it over the top of the skin. This butter keeps the turkey breast tender, juicy, and provides rich flavor.
Rub remaining butter over the outside of the turkey (breast, legs, wings). Drizzle all over the top of the turkey with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper; I just love a crisp, salty skin.
Stuff turkey with a quartered onion, 4 halved garlic cloves, 1/2 bunch parsley, and quartered lemon. Tie turkey base and legs together; crossing the legs to better close up the turkey cavity, plus it looks extra fancy on the table.
How to Roast a Turkey: (Pre-heat the oven to 430˚F on the bake mode. Place oven rack in the lower part of your oven (mine was on the second level from the very bottom).
Here is a fantastic tip: to protect the turkey breast and keep it juicy: Fold a large square sheet of foil into a triangle. Rub one side of your triangle with olive oil and shape the foil (oil-side-down) over the turkey breast, then remove foil; it will shield your turkey breast and keep it from getting dry. You’ll apply this shield later in the roasting process.
Place an oven-safe meat thermometer into the bird; beneath the drum stick; deep into the dark meat. Start roasting uncovered at 430˚F for 20 min.
Exclude from the oven; quickly baste with butter from the bottom of the dish. You can use a baster or tilt one side of the pan and assemble drippings with a large spoon. Now apply the prepared foil triangle to the turkey breast area.
Reduce oven to 350˚F and bake for another 2 hours 30 min for a 12 lb bird. (Once you have reduced the oven to 350˚F, you will bake about 13 min for every pound of turkey). The turkey thigh should register at 170˚F on the temperature probe and the breast at 160˚F to make sure it’s fully cooked through then remove from the oven (keep in mind the turkey temp continues to rise slightly after it’s out of the oven).
Transfer turkey to serving platter and cover loosely but fully with foil. Let turkey rest for at least 1 hour. It will become more tender and easier to carve, the longer it sits. Keep the drippings from the roasting pan for gravy. Now you can decorate around your turkey and make it festive. I used kale for my greens, then added small apples, sliced oranges, and quartered lemons.
Instructions/Tips for prepping your bird:
*If using a frozen turkey, defrost it in its plastic bag in the refrigerator for 3 days prior to roasting.
*Remove turkey from the fridge about 30 minutes before you start working with it. If the turkey is closer to room temperature, it will bake more evenly.
*Remove the neck and bag of giblets from the turkey.
*Pat dry turkey with paper towels. Let the turkey sit in a roasting pan lined with paper towels to soak up any excess water from the turkey.
*Fold the wings behind the turkey; if you don’t they are the quickest to scorch and dry out.