The Easiest, Fuss-Free Roast Turkey

Easy, Fuss-Free Roast Turkey-1-8Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a BIG DEAL. Since it’s usually when the whole family gets together for the big feast, it can be nerve wracking to be in charge of something so important. I’ve been married for 8 years, and I’ve only hosted Thanksgiving in our home twice. Most years we have Thanksgiving dinner with Sergi’s family and his Mom makes the turkey and I just bring a cake or something. It’s kind of like a rite of passage when you finally set up a big table and everyone asks YOU what they should bring.

Even though I’ve only made the traditional Thanksgiving dinner twice for family, I’ve made plenty of turkeys. Why? I’m probably a little weird:). The obsessive homemaker in me wanted to find out what all the hype was about, so most years I would be in the kitchen during the holidays trying out different turkey recipes, just for the fun of it. I would pour over all my cookbooks, study online recipes, watch multiple videos about all the Thanksgiving food techniques and then try them out. I know, it’s complicated. Don’t try to understand me. I’m so glad that my husband is such a good sport. It looked kind of silly bringing out a gigantic bird for just my husband and myself, so I’ve discovered tons of turkey leftover  recipes too. There’s only so much turkey two people can eat. Who says you can eat turkey on Thanksgiving only? It’s just a big chicken, right?

Anyway, I’ve shared some of my favorite recipes for turkey with you in the past two years, my all time favorite – Brined Turkey and the Slow Roasted Turkey. I still love those recipes and still use them to this day. However, this year I want to share the easiest roast turkey recipe ever. I know brining a turkey, cutting up a whole turkey, flipping a turkey over and other such shenanigans can seem intimidating to some people and they are just looking for a method to have a perfect turkey without any fuss and bother. This is what this recipe is all about. Even the most inexperienced cook can easily master this recipe. If you can lift that heavy bird into the roasting pan, you too can have a perfectly crisp, golden bird with juicy meat. 

Ingredients:

1 whole turkey

salt, pepper

2 lemons

fresh herbs – parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary

3 – 4 onions

2 heads of garlic

5 carrots

3 celery stalks

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Instructions:

What size turkey will you need? Figure about 1 1/2 pounds per person.

Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the turkey. Discard the giblets or use them in another recipe. Save the turkey neck to make stock. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Season the turkey liberally with salt and pepper on both sides and in the inside cavity.Easy, Fuss-Free Roast Turkey-1-13

I like to season the turkey the night before and keep it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. This will give the salt more time to penetrate into the meat and will also dry out the skin, which will help it crisp up better. If you don’t have room for it in your refrigerator or don’t have the time, it’s not a big deal to skip this step. Make sure to let the turkey come to room temperature before you start roasting it. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the lemons and 1 onion into quarters and cut one of the garlic heads in half. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the lemons, onion, 1 garlic head and some of the herbs.

Tuck the wing tips behind the bird and tie the legs together.  

IMG_8894 (550x367)

IMG_8891 (550x466)Coarsely chop the remaining onions, peel the other head of garlic into cloves, coarsely chop the carrots and celery and place all of the vegetables into the bottom of the roasting pan. Tuck more fresh herbs in between the vegetables. Pour in the chicken broth. Easy, Fuss-Free Roast Turkey-1-12

The broth will prevent the turkey drippings from smoking on the bottom of the roasting pan. This will also create a lot of flavorful pan drippings that are infused with the other aromatics – onion, garlic, carrots, celery and herbs, which will give you the most amazing gravy. If you’re not making gravy, you can skip the vegetables and just pour some water into the bottom of the roasting pan. 

Place the turkey breast side up on a v-rack over the chopped vegetables in the roasting pan. Easy, Fuss-Free Roast Turkey-1-11Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until the breast meat is 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit and the thigh meat is 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit.

An instant read thermometer is very inexpensive and I would not make turkey without one. Poultry can overcook so easily and it will be so dry. Please do yourself a favor and get a thermometer. I use mine all the time. 

My turkey was 14 pounds and took about 1 hour 45 minutes to cook through. If the turkey is browning too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil. 

Easy, Fuss-Free Roast Turkey-1-10When the turkey is cooked, make sure to let it rest for at least 15 – 30 minutes before carving it. (I’ve made the turkey 2 hours before carving it and it was still hot.) While the turkey is resting, you’ll have time to make the most delicious gravy, using the incredible turkey drippings that you’ll have at the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast Turkey and Gravy-1-24

Easy, Fuss-Free Roast Turkey-1-9

The Easiest, No-Fuss Roast Turkey
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 1 turkey
Ingredients
  • 1 whole turkey
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • fresh herbs - parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary
  • 3 - 4 onions
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 5 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the turkey. Discard the giblets or use them in another recipe. Save the turkey neck to make stock. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Season turkey liberally with salt and pepper on both sides and in the inside cavity.
  2. I like to season the turkey the night before and keep it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. This will give the salt more time to penetrate into the meat and will also dry out the skin, which will help it crisp up better. If you don't have room for it in your refrigerator or don't have the time, it's not a big deal to skip this step. Make sure to let the turkey come to room temperature before you start roasting it.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Cut the lemons and 1 onion into quarters and cut one of the garlic heads in half. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the lemons, onion, 1 garlic head and some of the herbs. Tuck the wings behind the bird and tie the legs together.
  5. Coarsely chop the remaining onions, peel the other head of garlic into cloves, coarsely chop the carrots and celery and place all of the vegetables into the bottom of the roasting pan. Tuck more fresh herbs in between the vegetables. Pour in the chicken broth.
  6. Place the turkey breast side up on a v-rack over the chopped vegetables in the roasting pan.
  7. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until the breast meat is 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit and the thigh meat is 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit. If the turkey is browning too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil.
  8. When the turkey is cooked, make sure to let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving it. While the turkey is resting, you'll have time to make the most delicious gravy, using the incredible turkey drippings that you'll have at the bottom of the roasting pan.

11 Comments

  • Natasha of Natashaskitchen.com

    Olga the sight of this is making me want turkey so badly with gravy and cranberry sauce; oohhh I can’t wait until Thanksgiving dinner! 🙂

    • olgak7

      Thanks, Natasha:). I’m really looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner too. It’s always so awesome to get together with the whole family for some feasting.

    • olgak7

      Hi Karen,
      Here’s the recipe to the gravy. Actually, I have the links in the post too. If you click on the word gravy, or on the picture of the gravy, that you bring you to the gravy recipe also.

  • Eve Patterson

    This recipe looks so yummy!! How big was the turkey that you used for this recipe? I hoping to make this for Thanksgiving tomorrow, but my mom seems doubtful it’ll be done in the time indicated. I have a 15 lb bird. Also, if my turkey came pre-brined from Trader Joes should I still liberally salt it and let it sit overnight?

    • olgak7

      Hi Eve,
      My turkey was 14 lbs, which I mentioned in the instructions. I’m not sure exactly how brined your turkey was. In my experience, most turkeys that are prebrined still need to be salted, but I’ve never bought a turkey from Trader Joe’s, so you would have to rely on the instructions that the turkey comes with, or ask someone at Trader Joe’s. To make sure that the turkey is cooked through, you will need to rely on a thermometer, not time, since all ovens are different. Also, as I mentioned in the recipe, putting the turkey in the refrigerator overnight is optional.

  • Elli

    Olga, I love your recipes!
    I made my first turkey ever today. I seasoned it the night before and did the “turkey flipping” at 500 degrees first (like your other recipe) and then roasted at 350 F.
    It turned out so delicious and juicy! My husband was over the moon 🙂
    I also made the gravy and the green beans from your blog.
    I must say…because of YOU and your willingness to share your recipes…I was able to create an amazing Thanksgiving meal. My hubby was very serious when he said: “It was the beast Thanksgiving meal I’ve ever had!”
    Spasibo Olechka!

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