Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

thanksgiving turkey

(3 ratings)
Blue Ribbon Recipe by
Christine Whisenhunt
Visalia, CA

If you think you can't cook a turkey or your bird always comes out dry, this recipe is for you. I have taken my no-fail method for cooking my turkey and added a few holiday flavors to make it my entry for the Thanksgiving main dish contest. When I say no fail, I mean no fail. It comes out beautiful and juicy EVERY time. That is how I always do my bird, and everyone ALWAYS raves. Until now, no one knew how simple it was, so my secret is out. I hope you will try it and enjoy it as much as my family always does. I don’t know how it works, but when you take that tent off, the bird will be brown.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

Cooking a delicious Thanksgiving turkey is not hard if you follow this recipe. The tender and juicy meat has a subtle flavor of the oranges and herbs baked into the cavity. Outside, the skin is wonderfully crisp without burning. This delicious turkey will shine brightly on your holiday meal.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
(3 ratings)
prep time 30 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For thanksgiving turkey

  • 1
    turkey, whatever size you want
  • olive oil
  • poultry seasoning
  • orange slices
  • fresh thyme sprigs
  • fresh oregano sprigs
  • fresh cranberries

How To Make thanksgiving turkey

  • Remove giblets from the turkey.
    Remove neck and giblets from cavities. Do not remove the clamp that holds the legs together. If it comes off, put it back on as best you can.
  • Dry the turkey.
    Pat dry with paper towels. Put the bird into a roasting pan on top of a rack. I use a large baking rack (like you would use to cool cookies on), so the bird cooks about 1/2 an inch above the bottom of the pan.
  • Rub the turkey with olive oil and poultry seasoning.
    Rub the entire bird with olive oil and poultry seasoning. Be generous! VERY generous! The bird should be covered well with a darkish paste (not thick, very smooth, and wet) when you are finished. I start with the underside, flip it over, and finish so it's ready to go.
  • Add orange slices, thyme, oregano, and cranberries.
    Loosen the skin over the breast. Insert slices of orange and sprigs of thyme and oregano. Arrange under the skin so that it makes a nice presentation and lays flat to the bird. Take a large handful of fresh cranberries and a few more orange slices and place them into the bird's cavity.
  • Create an aluminum foil tent over the turkey.
    Take aluminum foil and make a tent over the bird. If the foil is not wide enough to cover the bird and seal the edges well, put two pieces together and fold them over a couple of times in the middle to make a seam that is sealed well. Make sure the foil is tented high enough that it is not touching the bird. It does not have to be well above the bird, just not touching it; an inch or two above the breast is plenty. Tuck and crimp foil under the edges of the pan all the way around and make sure it is sealed well.
  • Roast the turkey.
    Place the turkey in the oven. You’re probably going to have to put it on the bottom rack to allow room for the tent, as it will be fairly high. Cook according to the temperature and time directions on the packaging for the weight of the turkey.
  • Allow the roasted turkey to rest.
    When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before removing the tent and carving it. The bird will still be very hot, don’t worry. Don't skip this step. Otherwise, the juices will run out of your bird and it will be very dry.