Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Roast Recipe

By Rena Awada | Updated On November 7, 2023

This Easy Garlic Roasted Turkey recipe is not only super simple to make, but it is also so moist and delicious, that it will wow everyone at your holiday dinner table. Tender, juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside and so tasty. Perfect for a stress-free Thanksgiving!

hands holding easy thanksgiving turkey


We will be showing you everything you need to know on how to make this easy Thanksgiving Turkey recipe! Tender and juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. This is a foolproof, packed with-flavor, juicy, and delicious healthy turkey roast recipe that everyone will rave about during your holiday dinner.

If you’re looking for just roasting the turkey breast and not the whole turkey because you have a smaller crowd coming over then check out this Oven Roasted Maple Turkey Breast Recipe.

Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe highlight

  • Packed with flavor. The turkey is rubbed between the skin and breast with a super flavorful garlic and herb mix – delicious!
  • Tender and juicy turkey. No dry turkey anymore! Succulent, moist, and are finger-licking good. Using a few simple rules, This turkey is roasted to perfection.
  • Foolproof roast turkey. Only a few ingredients are needed and only a few simple steps -one less thing to stress you out around the holidays!
side shot of thanksgiving turkey on a dish on a dinner table with a side of green beans and gravy

ingredients you’ll need

  • Turkey: A whole turkey is used. We used a smaller 12 lb-sized turkey. You can go up to 25 lbs.
  • Olive Oil: or any other oil. Since it is the holidays and it’s not the time to worry about healthier ingredients, then use butter!
  • Garlic: please use fresh garlic and not garlic powder.
  • Herbs: Rosemary, sage, and thyme.
  • Red or White Wine Vinegar (or freshly squeezed lemons)
  • Salt & Pepper

how to make this garlic herb turkey roast

  • Thaw – Begin to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before roasting. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before cooking.
  • Make your herb mix – In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Set aside.
thawed out the turkey that is seasoned and placed on a wire wrack before baking
  • Apply herb mix – Gently loosen the skin from the breast of the turkey by slowly working your fingers between the breast and the skin.
  • Place in roasting pan Roast – Pour vinegar or lemon juice over the turkey and into the cavity then cover with aluminum foil. Add 2 cups of water to the bottom of the pan and
  • Cook – Roast for 2.45-3 hrs.
  • Allow to rest for 20 mins, serve, and enjoy!
roasted whole turkey on a wrack

recipe notes and tips

  • Begin to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before roasting.  This Step is crucial because cooking a turkey that’s still frozen will take much longer to cook.
  • Allow the turkey to come up to room temp before cooking.
  • Use a preheated oven.
  • If you feel like washing your turkey with some vinegar, you can do so but not necessary.
  • Pat your turkey dry before adding the herb mix.
  • Remove any large fat deposits, neck, and giblets from the turkey.
  • Use a rack inside your roasting pan.
  • You can add some lemons, onions, and herbs into the cavity of the turkey for some extra flavor.
  • Tuck the wings under the legs of the turkey to prevent them from burning.
  • You can add loads of veggies to the bottom of the pan if you like.
  • Let the turkey sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to distribute evenly throughout the turkey, keeping it moist and succulent.
side view of roasted turkey on dish on dinner table

Commonly asked questions

How long to bake a turkey?

It takes about 15-18 minutes to cook one pound of turkey. Depending on how large your turkey is, a 10-pound turkey will take about 2 hours to cook through. It is best to use a digital thermometer to check the doneness of your turkey. Place the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat you are testing. Either the breast or the thighs.
If using a digital thermometer, the white meat (breast) should read 165-170 F. On the other hand, the dark meat (legs) should read 180 F.

Do I need a thermometer for baking turkey?

The thermometer does help determine when the turkey is fully cooked and it is helpful. If you don’t have any then there are other ways. You can use a knife to test if the turkey is done. Pierce the breast or leg meat with the knife. If the juices that run out of it are white/clear, then it is done. Pink juice coming out of the meat means it needs more time to cook.

What size turkey to buy for Thanksgiving?

You know how many people are coming over for dinner but you aren’t sure what size turkey to get? Here is a quick tip. Get about 1.5 pounds of turkey per person. So if you are having 8 people on your dinner table, get a 12-pound turkey. If you would like some leftover turkey, then get a 15-pound turkey.

Do I need to wash the turkey?

The FDA recommends that you DON’T wash your poultry because it will just cause contamination of your sink. Just pat the turkey down using a paper towel instead. Any germs and such will be eliminated during cooking. For those that insist on washing, you can use a combination of lemon juice and vinegar even though this step is not necessary.

side shot of roasted turkey on a dish

THAWing A TURKEY

A 5-pound turkey will need at least a day to thaw in the fridge. It will take 2-3 days to thaw a larger turkey so please plan ahead. Place the turkey in a pan or big dish before you place it in the fridge to prevent turkey water from seeping all over the fridge.

STUFFING INSIDE or outside of THE TURKEY

It is best to cook your stuffing in a casserole instead of adding the stuffing into the cavity of the turkey. Adding stuffing to the turkey will absorb all the juices from the meat and get absorbed into the stuffing instead of the meat. Also, the stuffing will generally add more cooking time to the turkey’s cooking time and may cause the turkey meat to overcook and dry out. A quick tip, add the juices from the bottom of your pan over the turkey to get the same great flavors.

Resting time

After you take out the turkey from the oven, allow it to sit out for at least 15-40 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a large dish along with the veggies (if using). Then add some of the juices over the turkey, cover, and let it sit.  You can leave it in the pan but still cover it with foil and allow it to rest before you cut through and serve.

to BRINE or not to brine a turkey

Brining is really not necessary if you buy a high-quality turkey like butterball for example. This Easy Turkey recipe gives you juicy and moist turkey without brining.  Wild turkey will need to be brined to get a tender and juicy finish.

thanksgiving roasted turkey on a platter to rest

GRAVY for this easy turkey roast recipe

The best way to make the best homemade turkey gravy is to use the drippings from the turkey you just made. While the turkey is resting before you serve dinner, make the gravy! You can always make the gravy ahead and just use chicken stock.

For a step-by-step recipe on how to make gravy from scratch, check out this Turkey Gravy recipe using the drippings from this easy turkey roast recipe.

turkey gravy recipe in a serving cup on a table

What side dishes go well with roast turkey

side view of roasted turkey on a table with a side of roasted carrots and green beans salad and a cup of gravy

other delicious holiday recipes

roasted whole turkey on a dish served on a dinner table

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side shot of roasted turkey on a dish

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Roast Recipe

Easy to make and seasoned with a homemade garlic herb seasoning. Perfectly moist and cooked to perfection.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Diet: Low Fat
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
0 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 516kcal
Author: Rena

Ingredients

  • 12 lbs Whole Turkey
  • Cup Olive Oil
  • 4 Garlic Cloves minced or pressed
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary Chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh Sage Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme picked
  • 1 Cup Red or White Wine Vinegar or freshly squeezed lemons
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Begin to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator 2-3 days before roasting.
  • Remove the turkey from the refrigerator about 2 hours before cooking to allow it to come closer to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Set aside.
  • Remove turkey and pat dry. Take out any large fat deposits and giblets. Gently loosen the skin from the breast by slowly working your fingers between the breast and the skin.
  • Using your hand, spread a generous amount of the herb mixture under the breast skin. Rub the remaining of the herb mixture all over the outside of the turkey.
  • Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour the vinegar or lemon juice over the turkey and into the cavity, then loosely cover with aluminum foil.
  • Add about 2 cups of water to the bottom of the pan. Roast in the preheated oven for about 2:45 – 3 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 180F.
  • Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, cover with tin foil and let it sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Begin to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before roasting.  This Step is crucial because cooking a turkey that’s still frozen will take much longer to cook.
  • Allow the turkey to come up to room temp before cooking.
  • Use a preheated oven.
  • If you feel like washing your turkey with some vinegar, you can do so but not necessary.
  • Pat your turkey dry before adding the herb mix.
  • Remove any large fat deposits, neck, and giblets from the turkey.
  • Use a rack inside your roasting pan.
  • You can add some lemons, onions, and herbs into the cavity of the turkey for some extra flavor.
  • Tuck the wings under the legs of the turkey to prevent them from burning.
  • You can add loads of veggies to the bottom of the pan if you like.
  • Let the turkey sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to distribute evenly throughout the turkey, keeping it moist and succulent.

Nutrition

Calories: 516kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 70g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 232mg | Sodium: 363mg | Potassium: 747mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 244IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @HealthyFitnessMeals or tag #HealthyFitnessMeals!
roasted turkey on dinner table with gravy and other side dishes

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Naomi Brown says

    5 stars
    2nd year I’ve made this turkey – SO juicy and flavorful!! Even the white meat (which I typically find dry and tasteless) was amazing!!

  2. asma saleem says

    5 stars
    I love the fact that your turkey is so tender and juicy. I was telling my friend the other day that why my turkey turns out to be so rubbery and hard, it’s probably because I do not use enough sauce. I am definitely going to try out your recipe it is perfect for Thanksgiving and for weeknights. My husband loves roasted turkey, roasted chicken wings and beef. thank you for sharing your recipe.

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