Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

5 from 7 votes

If you're looking for a fool-proof turkey roasting method, try this Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe - makes a perfectly cooked bird with no fuss or tricks!

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If you’ve never roasted a turkey before, and you just need something easy and reliable, this easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe is for you. There’s not a lot of complicated steps or procedures so I’m going to keep it pretty simple and to-the-point so you can get cooking in no time! This recipe is great for beginners and first-timers, but comes out great every time!

Honestly, I wasn’t planning to post this recipe because the Thanksgiving turkey recipe lineup is intense and flooded by so many expert chefs. But I did test this recipe twice, and it did come out perfect twice so I figured why not add just another Thanksgiving turkey recipe on the internet.

Steps to Make Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Step 1 is all about the herbed butter. But before starting, remove the neck and goblets from inside the turkey and store them to make gravy or broth. There’s no need to wash the turkey, brine it or anything. It’s basically ready to go. So you can get started with the herbed butter.

Melt butter in a small pan, then toss in a handful of herbs. I used sage and rosemary leaves. Cook the herb butter for only a minute. Remove the herbs and stuff them inside the turkey.

Collage of two images showing the herbed butter before and after cooking

Next, generously season the turkey inside and outside with salt and pepper. Stuff the onions, carrots and celery inside the turkey crevice, then tie the legs together with twine.

Now it’s time to rub the turkey inside and outside with the herbed butter. This is the secret to getting that perfect golden crust on the turkey. If you’re not too grossed out, you can even use your fingers to rub lift some of the skin above the breast and rub the herbed butter underneath.

Now that it’s seasoned, it’s basically ready for the oven. No brining, basting, no foiling, no worries. Just let it cook. 

Collage of two images showing my easy thanksgiving turkey recipe with the turkey seasoned with salt/pepper and then rubbed with the herbed butter

The rule of thumb is 15 minutes for every 1 pound, but always double check by using a thermometer in the middle of the thighs. It should register at 1170ºF or 175ºF degrees. Let the turkey rest for 15-30 minutes before carving into it. Look how beautiful the color of the turkey is! It’s all that butter baby!

If you’re using the drippings to make gravy, You can remove the turkey and plate it on a serving tray. Otherwise it can rest on the roasting pan.

Final easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe on a roasting pan

Tips I Learned the Hard Way

  • Don’t wash the turkey. You’re just creating extra work for yourself, and possibly contaminating your sink this way. Save yourself the hassle, and let the high temps in the oven cook off any bacteria that may be on the turkey. Simply patting it dry with a paper towel is enough.
  • Use vegetables as a roasting rack. If you don’t have a roasting pan, you can actually place extra onions, celery and carrots underneath the turkey to prevent it from burning at the bottom. This is a great little hack if you’re using a regular pan or even a casserole dish.
  • Trust the herbed butter rub. There’s no need to baste the turkey. It will be juicy and tender just from the herbed butter mixture you rubbed all over. Basting the turkey requires you open the oven regularly, which could mess with the oven temperature and turkey cooking time.
  • Use a thermometer. This is your most powerful tool on Thanksgiving day to ensure the turkey is perfectly cooked. Don’t overcook the turkey for fear of making sure it’s not raw. The turkey needs to be at least 165ºF but it’s better if you can get it to 170ºF or 175ºF.

If you’re just starting out, this is such a fool-proof easy way to start with your first turkey! There’s nothing fancy and there are not tricks.

The result is a beautiful buttery bird that makes the perfect Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe. The skin comes out crispy, the meat is incredibly moist and the flavor is traditional and wonderful. It’s basically the best Thanksgiving turkey recipe with the least amount of stress!

If you make this healthy-ish feelgood Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

Thanksgiving turkey recipe on a table with all the side dishes

Side Dishes for Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

If you’re looking for a fool-proof turkey roasting method, try this Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe – makes a perfectly cooked bird with no fuss or tricks!
5 from 7 votes
Servings 8
Course Entree
Calories 502
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins


  • 1 12 pound whole turkey neck and giblets removed
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh sage


  • Preheat oven to 325ºF. Remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey and set aside. 
  • Place the turkey, breast side up in the roasting pan. Pat the outside and inside of the turkey dry with paper towels. Then stuff the onion, celery, and carrot inside the turkey.
  • Season the inside and outside of the turkey generously with the salt and pepper. 
  • Fold wing tips under the bird. Tie the legs together with twine or dental floss.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Then add the herbs and cook 1-2 minutes. Remove the herbs with a ton from the melted butter and place inside the turkey.
  • Use a brush to rub the reserved melted butter all over the turkey, making sure to get the sides. 
  • Roast the turkey in the preheated oven uncovered for about 3 hours. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 170ºF-175ºF. Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest 10-15 minutes before carving.


Recipe: This recipe is from Chef John of Food Wishes. His technique saved me and made me look like a pro and I highly encourage you check it out and watch his video here.
Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Make Ahead Tips: There’s really nothing I’d recommend making ahead of time for this easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe. The herbed butter only takes one minute and is best made when making the turkey.
Equipment: The most important equipment you’ll need is a thermometer. There’s no need for a roasting pan. You can use any baking dish you’d like.
Nutrition: Please note that the nutrition label is for a 12 pound turkey to feed approximately 8 people. This may vary.
Video: The video below is not associated with this recipe. It’s a video for making the Jennie-O Oven Ready Turkey, and it’s just here for entertainment.


Calories: 502kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 70g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 243mg, Sodium: 2148mg, Potassium: 775mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1585IU, Vitamin C: 1.5mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 2.9mg

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Final easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe on a roasting pan

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  1. This was my first time making a turkey and I was soo nervous. I knew going with any of your recipes would be a success!! It was absolutely delicious and juicy. We let the turkey rest for about 30 minutes (tented with foil and a towel on top) and it was perfection. So simple so easy so delicious!

  2. The best and delicious recipe for the person who never cooked Turkey before. My family and I enjoyed our super juicy turkey. Also, I made mashed potatoes and creamy corn. All the recipes were super easy, step by step. I saved this recipe and will recommend to everyone.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that!! What an amazing feeling to cook your first Thanksgiving turkey so well! Thank you so much!

  3. First time turkey maker! This recipe was perfect. So easy to follow and the turkey came out delicious! I was worried because everyone tells you to brine and baste but it came out so juicy! Thanks for making our first thanksgiving on our own a successful one.

    1. Yay!! I love that you used this recipe for your first turkey making experience and it came out good!! Thanks so much for taking the time to share!!

  4. This was my first time making the Turkey for Thanksgiving, so I was looking for a simple fool proof recipe. This one was just that, without compromising flavor. The prep and seasoning was simple and I followed the cooking time to a T. The turkey was perfectly cooked, it was juicy and the skin was perfectly crispy. I will do this recipe again next year and maybe try coating the bird in finely chopped herbs after coating on the herbed butter. Thanks for the easy to follow, delicious recipe! Wish I could add a picture to this review so you could see the golden brown crust of the turkey!

    1. Thank you for your amazing review!! Such an awesome feeling to make turkey perfectly for the first time!! So happy to hear that!