Turkey Talk

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Photo by Sarah Plfug (this post contains an affiliate link)

Ever since I started hosting Thanksgiving dinner many years ago, I have been on a quest to make the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. I’ve brined it, deep-fried it, marinated it, injected it, buttered it, dry-rubbed it, butterflied it, and stuffed it. I’ve tried Kosher turkeys, organic turkeys, free-range turkeys and self-basting turkeys. A few years ago, I even bought an oil-less outdoor propane turkey fryer called “The Big Easy,” which freed up my oven and actually made a wonderfully crisp-skinned and juicy turkey. (If you want to spend $115 on a large piece of equipment that will likely sit in storage collecting cobwebs 364 days a year, I highly recommend it!)

From all this fussing with turkeys, I’ve come to realize that my turkey will never be perfect. Let’s face it: turkeys, on their own, just aren’t very good. That’s what gravy and cranberry sauce are for. As Mary Risley from Tante Marie’s Cooking School humorously points out in the video below (which you should definitely watch, especially if you have any turkey-cooking anxiety), “I have never had an outstanding turkey.”

(Viewer discretion advised — this funny video contains some foul language)


Short of purchasing a special turkey cooker (this is the one I have), it is near impossible to cook a turkey perfectly: the white meat always cooks before the dark meat is done and the skin on the bottom is never crisp (unless you flip the hot, sputtering bird mid-way through cooking – ummm, no thank you).

So is it really worth it to go to great lengths – brining in big coolers for days in the garage, risking life and limb deep-frying in the driveway, pre-icing the breast of the turkey so it cooks more slowly (I swear, there’s a very respectable cooking magazine that wants you to do this) – to make that end-all and be-all turkey?

It’s up to you, but I’m not interested in babysitting my turkey for three days to get only marginally better results at the end.

My advice to you on Thanksgiving is to keep it simple. Make my easy roast turkey with an over-the-top delicious gravy and some cranberry sauce to go with it. Focus your time and creativity on the side dishes and desserts because that’s what everyone really looks forward to anyway.

My favorite turkey recipe uses the high-heat roasting method. It requires no brining or stuffing, fancy seasoning, trussing, or injecting. It’s just a plain ol’ turkey seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in a 450°F-oven until the skin is crispy and brown and the meat is juicy. From all my turkey travails, I can tell you that this simple high-heat roasting method is the absolute best way to cook a turkey.

And, believe it or not, the turkey cooks in 1 to 1-1/2 hours. I know it sounds impossible if you’ve been waking up early for the last twenty years to slow-cook your turkey but I promise you it works. The turkey is cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F in the oven (not the 175°F to 180°F many recipes recommend) and comes up to 165°F (the USDA recommended safe temperature for turkey) while it rests.

Finally, keep in mind, while the high-heat method results in a juicy, crisp-skinned turkey, it will still taste like turkey! The gravy and cranberry sauce are what make it taste good.

A Few Final Thoughts on Turkey

– Depending on where you buy your turkey, you might be presented with several options like Organic, All-Natural, Kosher or Self-Basting. I like Kosher turkeys best but they can be expensive and hard to find. I’ve also had good results with Whole Foods’ turkeys. (If you want to read more about the different types of turkeys, click here.)

– Most turkey recipes will advise you to save the turkey giblets to make turkey stock and gravy. It’s a good idea but, to be honest, I never bother – there’s too much other cooking to do on Thanksgiving. The drippings from the roasted turkey will give you plenty of flavor for your gravy, and you can use store bought chicken broth for the rest. Keep it simple!

– No matter how you cook your turkey, leave it un-trussed (don’t tie the legs together) – it’s easier and the turkey will cook more evenly. Many turkeys come with a plastic binder that holds the legs together; just cut it off. Or sometimes the skin is pulled around the legs to hold them together; you can cut that off as well.

– Don’t go crazy trying to flavor your turkey with herbs and spices. Salt, pepper and oil the skin and you’re good to go. Anything else is unnecessary and gets overshadowed by the gravy and all the side dishes anyway.

– Don’t worry about basting the bird; it’s not necessary and let’s heat out of the oven, which increases the cooking time.

– Don’t stuff your turkey – it will cook faster and you won’t have to worry about giving your guests salmonella. Plus, your stuffing will be mushy if you cook it inside the bird. Why have soggy stuffing when you can bake it separately in the oven and have it crisp and toasty on top?

Hope my turkey travails help turn your turkey into a success! Click here to get the recipe for my Easy Roast Turkey With Gravy

Reviews & Comments

  • Thanks so much for all your great recipes. Do you have any recipes for turkey soup or ways to use turkey leftovers? Thanks.

  • Ugh!!! Why does everything have to be soiled with profanity? Why do women trade their power as the civilizers and refiners of a coarse world for the vulgar expressions more associated with men and women of ill-repute? I love your recipes and website. Why did you have to go and sink into the common just to try and make a point? Ladies face challenges with intelligence, style and grace not rudeness. Be pretty. The world already has too much ugliness.

    • I felt as a common folk….. her (#&[email protected]#!#% ) actually added a bit of comedy. What the world really needs more of are individuals that are not so easily offended. It would be nice to to sprinkle in a dash of less judgmental aspects, just because you never curse …. does not mean everyone is like that. Ugh… please find something to be thankful for beside picking on what you feel is a lack of class. ?

      • — Richelle Pimentel
      • Reply
      • I love your reply, Richelle! I will raise a (#%&!#) turkey leg to your words!

      • I agree! Pull your panties out of your Ass! A little cussing here and there never hurt anyone.

        • Rachelle, Kate & Cin- you folks are the real MVP’s! (other than the perpetually awesome Jenn, of course!)

    • Bea I agree. People show their incompetence when they have to lower themselves to use fowl language. I wouldn’t even watch the video just by the title.

    • Men and women of ill-repute? The common? Hey Bea, try stowing your supercilious attitude, relax a bit, step down off that soapbox, and try to enjoy/embrace the variety life has to offer. Thanks for the hilarious video, Jenn. I’m still enjoying it two years later!

      • — Vicki on October 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I am planning on making a 8-10 lb. boneless turkey breast for Thanksgiving. Can I use this recipe or alter it a little bit for this type of turkey? Karen

    • I wouldn’t suggest this recipe for a boneless breast, although it would work with a bone-in breast. In a few days, though, I’ll be posting a recipe stuffed boneless turkey breast. You may want to go that route.

  • (Quick cook turkey). My oven was clean but boy did the turkey smoke! I had to abandon ship after 30 minutes or I would have been listening to my smoke alarm! Too cold outside to let in fresh air so I have to put up with the smoke. Not sure what rating to give. It may be a great method otherwise.

    • I had the same experience. My oven was clean before I started, but the smoke generated by this method not only set off the kitchen fire alarm twice, it even made the upstairs fire alarm go off! My oven is now a mess too because of all the spattering. I am deeply grateful for the many excellent suggestions and recipes I’ve received from this site, but I will not be making this recipe again unfortunately.

      • — marisa on November 21, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi there – wondering what the modification for time would be if oven is set at 400* as my roasting pan is safe only up to that? Thanks!

    • Hi Courtney, how much does the turkey weigh?

    • Hi Jen, I am a big, big fan of your recipes. I tried cooking a 13lb turkey the quick method.
      The turkey was moist but the meat was very tuff. I cooked the left over turkey in the crockpot the next day to soften the meat. It was even hard to get it off the bone. I don’t know if I had a real tuff turkey or was it the method.

      • — Jane on November 21, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Jane, It’s odd that it was juicy yet tough. What type of turkey did you use?

        • — Jenn on November 22, 2020
        • Reply
  • You have to try Peruvian-spiced Turkey!
    My mother-in-law uses a wine-spice margination that is delicious!

  • My mom used this recipe for one of our three (!) turkeys for Thanksgiving this year (we had a crowd of 37). It was a hit!

  • This turkey cooking method is amazing. I cooked a 20 lb turkey in 1 1/2 hours. The skin was crispy and the turkey was not dry. This method is the way to go for sure.

    • — Britta Schweizer
    • Reply
  • Best turkey I’ve made, and I’ve made a few. Never would have believed I could roast a 16lb turkey in 90 minutes – and it was moist, delicious – just fantastic…. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!

  • Another recipe of yours that I loved! The turkey came out great and it was so simple. I would absolutely make this again.

  • Wow! Your approach to preparing Thanksgiving was spot on. I watched your suggested video’s and followed the Safeway directions and followed them meticulously, with the exception that I did brine my turkey (probably about 12 hours). Wow! Turkey was the best ever. Thank you so much!

  • Have to admit, I was skeptical, yet I tried this new approach tonight for roasting a turkey. I’m a convert. My 15 lb turkey was beautifully browned, had crispy skin with juicy and tender white meat and dark. And in 2 hours time. Started to get a bit smoky in the kitchen, but I turned the vent on high and all was well. Thanks, for sharing this and all your stellar recipes.

  • Dear Jenn,

    Thanks for your awesome website. I have had great success with your recipes. Each one has been a big hit with my family so far.

    Unfortunately, I did not have much luck with the quick cook turkey recipe you recommended on another site. In fact, it was a bit of a disaster. I’m a decent home cook with a good oven, and I followed the recipe closely, but it just didn’t work for me. Not sure why. The white meet was overdone and the dark meat was very nearly raw upon carving. I had to cut the whole bird up in separate pieces and cook the dark meat another 30 minutes at 400. This meant there was no whole bird to present and carve at the dinner table, and it also threw off the timing of my side dishes because of the unexpected loss of oven space. Fortunately, my family are troopers and took it all in stride. I suppose my ego took the worst hit. 🙂 I accept full responsibility for trying a risky new recipe on the day of Thanksgiving. I should have known better. I was going to suggest that you might give a disclaimer with your recommendation that it might not work for everyone. I suspect there are just too many variables involved for it to be fool-proof, like oven size, quality, the pan used, the thermometer used, where the thermometer is placed, whether the oven thermostat is calibrated correctly, etc. Just a thought. Oh, and the smoke was a problem too.

    I wanted to mention by the way that there is a great recipe for cooking turkey that does reliably produce tender white meat and well-cooked dark meat. I’m sure you already know of it. It’s Adelle Davis’ old slow-cook method from her wonderful “Let’s Cook it Right” from so many years ago. The downside, of course, is the length of time involved. But I usually just cook the bird overnight and it is doable. I think I will go back to it for sure for my next bird.

    Thanks for listening. And thanks again for your wonderful recipes. They really are very special.

  • What if your turkey is 20lb.? Can you still do a temp of 475 for 2 hours? Safe ways recipe says a 10 lb turkey.

    • Hi Chris, According to Safeway, you can. But, honestly, I would only use this recipe for a smaller bird (10-14 lbs).

      • Last year 2014 I did a 23.35lb turkey. Took 2 1/2 hours to reach 160* temp.
        This year I did a 26.50 lb. turkey and again it took 2 1/2 hours to reach 160*. I am definitely a convert to cooking my turkey this way. Thank you!

  • `Hi Jenn, decided this year I wasn’t going to let the turkey get the better of me. Your recipe via Safeway sounds like it will make a delicious and picture perfect. For me, an attractive bird enhances the taste no matter what you are making. I am in the process of dry brining using only salt and want to know if I should omit salting the turkey. The dry brine I used called for 3 TBS total for a 15 lb turkey. I under tasted a little since my turkey only weighed slightly under 14 lbs. I hope you see this as I look forward to your sage advice. thank you so much for your time.

    • Hi Judy, I would omit the salt to be on the safe side. You can always season the gravy more heavily if the bird needs it. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • i like the video and worth a try but can i use the 2 hr method on a brined turkey?

    • Hi Angie, Yes, I think that would work.

  • I make two turkeys… one in the oven and one on the barbeque ( just using it as another oven).. do you think I can use this method on the barbeque?


    • Hi Lisa, I worry it would burn on the grill. Sorry!

  • Hi Jenn-
    I have made a lot of your recipes and just love them! I totally agree with you about turkeys -completely overrated! ( ha) I have also tried many ways of preparing this bird through the years and finally bought the big easy myself two years ago- Do you have any advice on using this successfully ? The first year it took so many hours to cook we just ate side dishes and last year I put the setting on high and the turkey was black.
    Determined to use this as you are right it collects cobwebs the rest of the year!

  • The recipe and video links do not appear to work any longer. Do you have a copy that you can share?

  • The linked video in this recipe is hilarious and really helps one put a proper perspective on fixing any holiday meal!! The turkey was awesome as well as the gravy! I will use this method again next year for sure.

  • The upside:
    – this was hands down the best, juiciest, most delicious turkey I have ever eaten.

    The downside:
    – it totally trashed my oven, splattering grease to the top, sides and bottom. There was a large puddle of grease and burnt drippings- not in the bottom of the roasting pan, but on the floor of the oven. ( I’m thinking the ‘burnt’ drippings may be a result of the high 425 degree temp)
    – I don’t have a proper hood vent for my stove/oven so it smoked up the entire house
    – what it saved in cooking time, it made up for in clean up time.

    Still, it was indeed a juicy and delicious turkey, and well worth the effort to at least try to solve the problems.
    Thoughts on next time:
    – Get a proper hood vent for my stove/oven.
    – ‘tent’ the turkey with aluminum foil so all drippings go into the roasting pan and not to the top/sides/bottom of the oven

    • For the past two years I have used a roasting bag for my turkey and they turn out superb every time…no mess to clean up and a really tasty turkey; the skin browns and the meat is moist. I always add about 1/2 bottle of champagne (sparkling dry wine) and the gravy is divine! Worth giving a try!

  • I have to admit I was a skeptic. Boy was I surprised at how well this turkey turned out! An hour and a half…hard to believe! I also tried a kosher turkey at your recommendation. I found myself having to pluck lots of feathers before oiling and salting the turkey. Is this normal for a kosher turkey??? Thanks for the fast cooking tip…it is definitely a keeper!

  • I tried this yesterday and it turned out wonderful! The only problem was the amount of smoke it created throughout the house, and I had a clean oven. I think I may have overdone it on the olive oil and that’s what caused all the smoke. How much should be used?

    • Hi Jennifer, I’d say about a tablespoon. The other possibility is that your oven may run a little hot. Next time you could turn it down 25 degrees and see if that helps.

  • Excellent results, started with a clean oven, baked my 23.35 lb bird till 160, took
    2 1/2 hrs
    No smoke at all
    Loved the crispy skin and juicy meat
    Will be doing this again next year! Thanks and I also would like to mention I love your recipes! You have earned my trust in the kitchen 😉

  • For this method do I set the oven at 475 F bake? or Broil?

    • Hi Adam, Set it on bake — and make sure your oven is spotless or it will smoke.

      • Hi,

        I wanted to thank you for replying so quickly, especially on thanksgiving day!

        Turkey came out great.

  • Only the two of us…..Do you have a great recipe for only a turkey breast? Would appreciate it ! I’m a new subscriber and I love your web site.

  • Can you use a fresh bird for this or must it be frozen/thawed? I would love to try this on Thursday, but we plan on roasting a fresh turkey.

    • Hi Nicki, Either works well.

  • Good morning – I just subscribed to your blog and am impressed with your simple no-fuss recipes.. I intend to make your sausage stuffing and use this turkey recipe for my thanksgiving this year. For years I have brined my turkeys and they always turn out moist but I am tired this year!!! My question is. If I bake this turkey early, wrap it in 3 layers of foil and place it in a cooler to stay warm for a couple hours do you think that would be okay?

    • Hi Carolyn, Thank you for subscribing! It’s fine to bake the turkey early but I wouldn’t let it sit out any longer 2 hours after cooking. I love this high heat roasting method; just be sure your oven is clean 🙂

  • actually the past 3 years I’ve made Gordon Ramsay’s “christmas turkey” recipe and I use it every time I make a turkey. My guests are very impressed with the outcome and it produces JUICY PERFECT-TASTING turkey. All my turkeys were mediocre until I tried his recipe. Gordon states, “Turkey is a really lean meat and it dries out so we need to help it, and it’s all in the preparation; keeping that bird moist” If you’d like to adapt a recipe Jen, I suggest taking a look at his:
    ‘How to Cook Perfect Roast Turkey (Part 1)’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I93nany8nQI

    ‘How to Cook Perfect Roast Turkey (Part 2)’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTDmwTq4QHo&src_vid=I93nany8nQI&feature=iv&annotation_id=annotation_189437

  • This isn’t a review but a comment. I could definitely see my smoke alarm buzzing endlessly away even if I were to follow this method exactly. I would end up breaking the smoke alarm and drinking ALL the wine BEFORE dinner! I’ve been cooking turkeys for 40 years (cooked my first one at the age of 19) and for the past 25 years have been turning out perfect turkeys by doing the flip method. It really isn’t all that difficult to do. I make a “harness” of kitchen twine and use that and a couple of cloths to flip it. Granted, flipping a 25 pounder isn’t easy but I don’t usually cook anything larger than 20 lbs. these days and it’s pretty simple. I follow a temperature chart and roast at 325 degrees and can have a 20 lb. turkey cooked in 4 1/4 hours. And I’ve always stuffed my turkey and haven’t lost a diner yet, LOL! Just my two cents and probably all it’s worth…..

  • Loved your comments and the video – pretty much summarizes it. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving to ya………………

  • Would this be a good method to use to roast a capon or should it be treated differently?

    • Hi David, Yes, but it will obviously cook in much less time.

  • Can a roaster be used instead of an oven with this recipe – or does the cooking times need to be adjusted?

    • Hi Sheri, I do think a roaster would work but I have a feeling the cooking time and temp might need to be adjusted. Unfortunately, I haven’t tested the recipe in a roaster so I can’t say for certain. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  • Jenn –
    I have been meaning to tell you since Thanksgiving how well this worked! Not only was the turkey delicious, but the pan drippings made a delicious gravy! I am a convert to the simple method!!!!

  • Loved this high heat method. I thought this short cut was too good to be true, so I experimented with one of my three turkey breasts the day before. My oven was spotless, but the drippings spritzed all over the place during the last 30 minutes setting off my smoke alarm. But, I didn’t give up. I put the next turkey breast in a deeper pan than was called for and that solved the smoke problem. Beautiful crispy skin and moist meat.
    I know that it goes against all the turkey rules, but I always make my turkey the day before Thanksgiving. After it cools, I slice it and set it back into the pan drippings and place the skin back over the top of the meat and cover the pan with foil. I reheat it the next day with all the other sides. Never dryer than when I have made it on Thursday. And no messy cleanup while company is standing around. If there aren’t enough drippings I will add some stock or broth to the pan. Also I have found it more practical to make 2 smaller turkeys than one heavy one.
    Thanks again, Jenn

  • I was skeptical about this recipe but tried it for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was a hit! I could not believe it was done in 1 hour and 30 minutes…I followed the directions to let the turkey rest for 45 minutes and it came up to temperature as expected and the whole bird was perfectly cooked. The white meat was moist and the legs did not need to go back in the oven. Thank you for this recipe. I will not be going back to slow roasting my turkey!

  • Hi Jenn, Just wanted to let you know that we made this turkey for Thanksgiving yesterday and it was by far the best we’ve ever made and SO easy! Our 14 pound bird was done in under 2 hours and even the white meat was moist and juicy. Also made your gravy and cranberry sauce to go along with it. Thank you!

  • Thank you for a delightful stream of menus and dishes. I have prepared many with great success and happy recipients.
    Now I am not one to leave negative comments online, and I hope this is taken in the spirit it is given. Last night I prepared our family’s turkey by this high heat quick cook method, exactly as described. Although the end result was a fine and tasty bird, our home was filled with smoke for the entirety of the roasting process. We had to open all the doors and windows (thankfully the weather was unseasonably warm), and pray the smoke alarms didn’t go off. Olive oil in the oven, at 475 degrees, is a prescription for a minor disaster : ( Since I couldn’t shift gears at the realization of this most uncomfortable situation, (I had to serve dinner at a prescribed hour), we were stuck with the smoke.
    Not pleasant….
    I don’t know if other cooks had this problem, but I thought I should share this potential problem with this method of roasting the Thanksgiving day turkey.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all.
    We are celebrating Thanksgivukkah : ) What a truly precious moment in time.

    • Hi Nancy, Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I’m so sorry you had trouble with smoke in your kitchen. That does not sound pleasant! This is always a concern with high heat roasting, with any meat. I’m wondering if your oven clean or if you used a convection oven? As stated in the recipe, it’s very important to clean your oven beforehand as any accumulated debris can cause smoke during high-heat cooking.

      • Thank you Jenn, for taking the time and kind effort to respond to my comment.
        I will say that I made quite sure the oven was spic and span before roasting. If most people successfully prepared their turkeys by this method without smoke problems, I’m going with the (Safeway) idea, that my thermostat may be slightly off, resulting in a higher temperature in the oven than the reading.
        I think I’ll try again, after the smoke clears (hahaha), and no company is expected.

        Happy Holidays to you and yours.
        Looking forward to another year of your inspiring recipes.

    • Hi Again, Nancy. Just wanted to add this FAQ from the Safeway website, as it might be helpful to others as well.

      There’s an unusual amount of smoke coming out of my oven. What should I do?

      First, check to make sure that no part of the turkey is sticking over the pan rim; if it is, push it back in place. Also make sure that the pan itself doesn’t have a hole that fat is dripping through; if it does, slide the pan onto a larger, shallow-rimmed pan. To get rid of smoking fat, wipe it off the oven bottom with a pad made of folded damp paper towels, pushing them over the oven bottom with a long-handled spatula. Another reason for smoke is that your oven may be averaging hotter than 475°; if so, reduce the temperature setting by about 25°.

  • Thank you for receiving my stress this year! I have spent endless hours researching the perfect (and very complex) recipes for turkey and gravy. I can’t wait to prepare your recipes. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Is it absolutely necessary to put the turkey on a v-rack? I would like to not have to go out and buy one if I don’t HAVE to. Would it still roast just fine without it? and without placing the turkey on anything other than the bottom of the pan?

    • Hi JW, From experience, I think it is. The point of the rack is to let the heat of the oven circulate around the turkey, allowing the legs to cook faster (keeping up with the breast) and the skin on the whole bird to brown. I’ve tried roasting chickens and turkeys on flat racks or right in the roasting pan, and they come out fine but the skin doesn’t brown on half the bird. It comes out flabby and unappetizing, which means you really can’t serve it with the meat. Hope that helps!

  • Can you post any tips about using the Big Easy? I actually have one, but this will be my first time cooking a turkey in one, and I’m a tad anxious.

    • Abigail, I was intimidated to use it the first time too but it could not be any easier…you literally just season your turkey and stick it in there! Just be sure to buy a turkey that is small enough to fit 🙂 It cooks quickly so keep an eye on it. If you want, you could rub some olive oil and herbs under the skin but, as I said above, I really don’t think it’s necessary as long as you make a good gravy. Do you still have the manual? If not, I think you can find it online…just follow the instructions exactly and you’ll be good to go.

      • Thanks, Jen! I’m excited to try it.

  • Hey Kids ~ I have no idea why everyone thinks this is so hard. I thaw the turkey out in the refrigerator for a couple of days – no big deal if there are still ice crystals – just double wrap each way in aluminum foil in a slow bake 250 oven ‘for-ever’ (about 12 hours) and it is a no fail…don’t stuff that bird with anything but an apple (yeah, a whole apple) a couple stalks of celery (make ’em fit) and part of an onion…maybe a bit of poultry seasoning and oregano and just about the same amount of sage – never hurts to add some thyme. I’m not pretending to be your mom or grandma, and your turkey may not be as pretty as theirs, but, it’ll taste just as good and probably better. Love you young ‘uns and hope your Thanksgiving is as easy and care free as you are!

  • Thank you Jennifer! I actually tried this method a few years ago, and I don’t even know why, but it was the best turkey we ever had. Then I promptly forgot what method I used. Thanks for the reminder! I’m cooking the turkey this year, and this time I’m going to print the recipe and not forget it.

    PS…I love the video, that I had already seen, but that reflects my feelings exactly!

  • Looks great. After Thanksgiving (when I am making all the food except for the turkey), I will be cooking a whole turkey breast that I really must get out of the freezer. How long would I cook the turkey breast for at this method? Either this way or I also like to cook it in a slow cooker.

    • Hi Sharon, It depends on the weight of the turkey…I would definitely use the meat thermometer as the recipe advises to be sure.

  • You know, this turkey cooking method makes sense — it’s a lot like Barbara Kafka’s simple roast chicken, which is always perfect (except that my house always fills with smoke and I have to clean the oven afterwards).

    Thanks so much for sharing — I *was* already having turkey anxiety …

    • Yes, exactly, Susan. The key is to make sure your oven is really clean beforehand — I do this and no smoke 🙂

      • Hi Jenn,

        Can you put the turkey in an oven bag in this method?
        Thanks, Amy

        • Hi Amy, I don’t think so; I don’t think you can exceed 400°F with oven bags.

  • My favorite way to cook a turkey is in a clay cooker. The bird turns out so yummy!!!

  • I have a recipe that I have got froma friend and the turkey turns out great (note: the turkey is not stuffed). Just thought I’d share it with you…it does sound strange, but it does work. Preheat oven to 500 degrees (NOT BROIL). Have turkey washed and at room temp. Season as desired. Place sliced onion, celery, carrot, apple, etc. in crevices if desired (I don’t). Place a combination of oil and butter under skin and run into the skin. Take a clean grocery bag (paper) and thoroughly cover INSIDE surface with oil. Place turkey into bag, secure with staples or paper clips so that no air can escape from bag. Place on roasting rack in the roasting pan. Put into oven being sure that NO part of the paper bag comes in contact with oven walls. Roast at 500 degrees for 20 minutes, when sizzles, turn temperature in oven down to 400 degrees. Continue to roast for 8 minutes per pound.

  • Love this! I totally agree that the best part of the Thanksgiving feast is all of the side dishes, but I love the turkey for another reason. My favorite thing about roasting a turkey is making a rich turkey broth for soup with the carcass.

  • THANK-YOU….This is what I have always suspected :0)

  • You are a mind reader! No matter how many turkeys one cooks, there are always those nagging pre-Thanksgiving doubts (which turkey, which method, etc). BUT, I have complete confidence in you, Jenn, and will follow your advice to the letter. Thank you for all your great recipes, congratulations on your new weekly newsletter (love it!), and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

    • This works very well! I’ve been roasting turkeys since the beginning of time. I’ve tried upside down turkeys, slow turkeys, stuffed, skinned, you name it turkeys. Between this method and spatchcocking a bird, I think the higher roasting temperature is what is key. I found 450 degrees is a bit easier on the oven, and if I spatchcock I will cover the bird in cheesecloth soaked in melted butter. The fast cooking really produces a more tender bird, instead of a dried out needs gravy fast entree. This year has seen lower than normal prices, so my freezer is full!! Thanks!!

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