Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | Plus Tips For Beginners!

Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | Plus Tips For Beginners!

Thanksgiving turkey recipe displayed on a platter
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Cooking a whole turkey can be a little intimidating if you’ve never done it before. I remember my first time cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey, I was a little nervous.

Fear not though! You got this! Just follow my simple recipe and your family will be praising your amazing chef abilities in about 4-5 hours! If you are looking for more Thanksgiving recipes check out my post Last minute Thanksgiving Dinner.

Thanksgiving Turkey Tips


It can take 3 or 4 WHOLE DAYS to DEFROST your TURKEY! It’s not impossible to cook a frozen turkey but it does make things a little difficult!

When I cook a Thanksgiving turkey I utilize the innard to make giblet gravy. This might sound really gross, but believe me it’s the best gravy!

If you plan on making this gravy, you’ll need to buy a turkey that has innards included. Sometimes when you buy a turkey the innards aren’t included.

Most turkeys come with a pop up timer. Generally, you want to make sure that you have a meat thermometer or a pop up thermometer if one did not come with your turkey.

Cook your turkey to proper temperatures. Depending on the size of your turkey the amount of time will vary, but a 20 lb turkey will take around 4 hours to cook.

Then, transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, let it rest for about 20-30 minutes before slicing and eating. This allow the meat to soak in all of the juices. Believe me a juicy turkey is way better than a super dry tasteless turkey!

Thanksgiving turkey recipe displayed on a platter

Thanksging Turkey Recipe

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes


It will take 3-4 days to thaw out a frozen turkey so make sure you do that a few days before Thanksgiving!


    • 1 whole turkey
    • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2-4 cups turkey or chicken stock
    • *Optional 8 cups of prepared stuffing – *Cooking time may vary if added. (Gluten Free Stuffing Recipe) (Sausage Stuffing Recipe)


    1.  Firstly, preheat oven to 325° F, and make sure that the rack in the oven is in the lowest position.
    2. Next, remove the innards and set them aside. Use this Giblet Gravy Recipe after you get the turkey in the oven.
    3.  Then, pat the turkey with a paper towel to dry it off a little.
    4.  After that, rub the butter, salt and pepper into the skin of the turkey.
    5.  Place the turkey in a roasting pan. (I don’t use a roasting rack.)
    6.  Pour in about 2 cups of the turkey/chicken broth into the pan.
    7.  Cover the pan with tin foil, and then place the pan in the oven.
    8.  Using the juice in the pan. baste the turkey every 20-30 minutes.
    9.  While the turkey cooks, you’ll want to keep an eye on the broth in the bottom of the pan, If the broth evaporates in the bottom of the pan, add a cup of broth.
    10. Cook the turkey about 13 minutes (unstuffed) for every pound, or 15 for stuffed turkeys for every pound. For example, a 4 pound turkey would cook for about an hour.
    11. Allow turkey to rest for 30 minutes to soak up juices before slicing and serving.

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    Nutrition Information
    Yield 12 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 510Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 3gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 122mgSodium 848mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 31g

    For the most accurate nutritional information, you should calculate the nutritional value of each ingredient yourself. These calculations are provided by a third party and are not expected to be exact. You are solely responsible for ensuring the nutritional information you use is accurate.

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    Don’t forget to grab the recipe for my amazing gravy recipe! Be sure to check out more of my awesome Thanksgiving recipes!

    I hope you all have a fantastic holiday! Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

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    26 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe | Plus Tips For Beginners!”

    1. I can’t believe it! I used your directions to make this year’s Thanksgiving turkey and it turned out so well! Thank you so much!

      1. Yep! I so agree. I went through that the first time I volunteered to cook for Thanksgiving. No need to worry when you have a great recipe and guide to follow!

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