Need an easy, no-fuss Thanksgiving turkey recipe that will impress even the hardest-to-please guests? Whether you’re new to cooking a turkey or simply want a fast, fail-proof way to prepare the proverbial bird, this fuss-free Thanksgiving turkey, inspired by Tastes Better From Scratch, is the perfect recipe for you!
Easy? Fuss-free? Yes, please! All it takes to ready the turkey for roasting is a compound butter, fresh herbs, garlic, and tasty wedges of onion, lemon, and apple. Ready to get the Thanksgiving bird in the oven? Let us show you how!
Our motto: Butter makes everything better. Compound butters make everything over-the-top better. What’s a compound butter? It’s a fancy name for mixing together softened butter with other ingredients. This easy, no-fuss roasted turkey gets a rich infusion of flavor and moistness from a garlicky herb butter made with a generous amount of minced garlic, salt, pepper, and minced fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage. Blend the ingredients together and slather half of it underneath the skin and all over the turkey breast.
Stuff the turkey with flavor. The best roasted turkeys are stuffed with savory ingredients that flavor the bird from the inside out. Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. Fill the turkey with lemon, onion, and apple wedges. Insert a lavish amount of herbs that complement the herb butter—fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage—and tie the turkey legs together with twine.
More butter! Melt the remaining half of the herb butter and brush it all over the outside of the turkey. Your turkey is now ready for the oven. Roast it at 325 F until the internal temperature reaches 165 F. No basting required. Simply rotate the roasting pan a few times while it cooks to ensure even browning. Cover the turkey with foil once the skin browns to protect the breast meat from overcooking and to keep the skin from burning. Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes before you bring your fuss-free roasted turkey to the table.
Cook’s note: To ensure even cooking, your turkey needs to be completely thawed. A frozen interior will result in an undercooked turkey even if the exterior is gorgeously browned. Take your completely thawed turkey out of the refrigerator 1 hour before you’re ready to put it in the oven. This also helps even the temperature of the bird before you roast it so that you get mouthwateringly moist light and dark meat along with a deliciously crisp skin.
A mixture of softened butter and other ingredients is called a compound butter. This turkey recipe utilizes a compound butter made with fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and minced garlic. In a small bowl, combine the butter ingredients and set aside.
Prepare the turkey
Take the turkey out of the refrigerator 1 hour before you’re ready to roast it. Pat the inside and outside of the turkey with paper towels. Starting with a dry turkey will ensure your skin gets crisp and browned during the roasting process. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.
Rub the herb butter under the skin
Use your fingers to separate and lift the skin up from the turkey breast flesh. Insert half of the herb butter under the skin and rub all over the breasts. The butter will flavorfully melt into the meat as the turkey cooks.
Place the turkey on the rack in a roasting pan
Tuck the wings of the turkey underneath the turkey and set it on a rack inside a roasting pan.
Stuff the cavity with aromatics and apple
Filling the cavity of the turkey with aromatics—onion, lemon, fresh herbs—and wedges of apple will infuse the turkey with flavor from the inside out. Stuff the onion, lemon, and apple wedges into the turkey. Insert the fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage.
Tie the legs of the turkey together with twine
Rub melted herb butter all over the turkey
Melt the remaining herb butter in the microwave. Use a basting brush to brush the melted butter all over the outside of the turkey.
Roast the turkey
Roast the turkey at 325 F until the internal temperature reaches 165 F. Rotate the pan several times during the roasting process to ensure even cooking and browning. When the skin becomes golden brown, cover the top of the turkey with foil to protect the breast meat from overcooking and to keep the skin from burning.
Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes
Allowing the turkey to rest before carving lets the juices redistribute through the meat so they don’t run out as soon as the knife pierces the flesh. It helps keep the turkey meat moist and flavorful.
How beautiful is this roasted turkey for your holiday table?
1 (12- to 16-pound) thawed turkey, at room temperature for 1 hour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh rosemary sprigs
1/4 cup fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
1 yellow onion, peeled, cut in eighths
1 lemon, cut in eighths
1 red apple, cored, cut in eighths
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Herb butter: In a small bowl, combine butter, salt, pepper, minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon each of minced rosemary, thyme, and sage. Blend with a spatula and set aside.
Turkey: Pat the turkey dry with paper towels inside and outside the cavity.
Season the cavity of the turkey with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Use your fingers to loosen and lift the skin attached to the breasts. Insert half of the herb butter underneath the skin and against the turkey flesh.
Tuck the wings of the turkey underneath the turkey and set the turkey on a rack inside a roasting pan.
Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the quartered onion, lemon, and apple. Insert the 1/4 cup each of fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage.
Use twine to tie the turkey legs together.
Melt the remaining herb butter mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Use a basting brush to coat the remaining herb butter all over the outside of the turkey, legs, and wings.
Roast the turkey until the internal temperature reaches 165 F.
Rotate the roasting pan several times while the turkey roasts to ensure even cooking and browning. Once the skin turns golden brown, cover the top of the turkey with foil to protect the breast meat from overcooking.
Allow the turkey to rest for 15 minutes before carving.