Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe for Beginners

A foolproof turkey recipe is key in how to plan Thanksgiving but poultry prep can be a daunting task for novice chefs. Wondering how to cook the perfect turkey when you’re doing it for the first time? Our favorite recipe uses a few simple ingredients and basic techniques that are suitable for any skill level. Try this Thanksgiving turkey recipe for beginners and we promise you’ll have gourmet-level results.

Holiday Hosting 101: A Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe for Beginners

Between cleaning, setting the table and preparing Thanksgiving side dish recipes, turkey prep for first-timers should be simple and straightforward. Fortunately, it doesn’t take fancy ingredients and expert skill to create a delicious and flavorful main course. We’ll break down this Thanksgiving turkey recipe for beginners into simple steps that guarantee success.

Step 1: Add Veggies to the Pan

Place one sliced onion, one chopped carrot and one rib of chopped celery in the bottom of a roasting pan. Make sure your pan is large enough to accommodate your turkey, with room to spare.

thanksgiving turkey recipe for beginners
Image Credit: Food Wishes

Step 2: Clean Turkey

Give your turkey a thorough rinse in the sink before placing it on top of your vegetables. Pat the outside dry with a paper towel. Remove the turkey neck and gizzards from the cavity before patting it dry as well. If it hasn’t already been done, remove the turkey’s tail bone so the cavity is completely empty.

how to make the best thanksgiving turkey
Image Credit: Food Wishes

Step 3: Season Turkey

Wondering how to make the best Thanksgiving turkey seasoning? A simple mixture of salt and pepper is all it takes. Sprinkle the mixture liberally throughout the bird’s cavity. Be sure to tuck the turkey’s wings underneath its body when repositioning it in the pan. These smaller pieces cook faster than the rest of the turkey and tucking them will prevent drying and burning.

Step 4: Prepare Herb Butter

An herb butter not only enhances the turkey’s flavor, but adds a crisp texture and golden color to the skin. This easy Thanksgiving turkey recipe for beginners uses a simple herb butter that takes minutes to prepare.

Follow these steps to make an herb butter:

  1. In a small saute pan, melt 2 Tbsps of butter over medium heat.
  2. When the edges of the melted butter begin to turn golden, add a handful of sage and rosemary leaves to the pan.
  3. Cook the herbs in the hot butter for 1 minute before turning off the heat.
how to cook the perfect turkey
Image Credit: Food Wishes

Step 5: Stuff and Glaze Turkey

Stuffing and glazing the turkey doesn’t require any additional ingredients or special techniques. The salt and pepper mixture, wilted herbs and herb butter provide plenty of complementary flavor.

Here’s how to season a turkey with herb butter, salt and pepper:

  1. With tongs, place just the wilted herbs inside the turkey’s cavity.
  2. Tie the turkey’s legs together with a simple knot using kitchen twine or dental floss.
  3. Use a basting brush to paint the entire surface of the turkey with the herb butter.
  4. Sprinkle the salt and pepper mixture generously over the turkey’s exterior. Don’t forget the sides of the drumsticks and wings.
How to season a turkey
Image Credit: Food Wishes

Step 6: Cook Turkey

The right turkey cooking times and temperatures vary depending on your oven and the size of your bird. For this recipe, roast the turkey uncovered, in a 325°F oven. What is an average turkey cooking time per pound? Estimate 15 minutes for each pound or cook until the thigh reaches an internal temperature of 170-175℉. An average size, 12-14lb turkey should take 3-3 ½ hours to cook at this temperature. 

Turkey cooking times and temperatures
Image Credit: Food Wishes

Step 7: Carve Turkey

Before carving, drain any juices from the bottom of the pan and save them to enhance your gravy. Like many others, this Thanksgiving turkey recipe for beginners recommends letting the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the bird, making each bite more juicy and flavorful.

Turkey cooking time per pound
Image Credit: Food Wishes

To see the full video for this process, click here.

We hope this Thanksgiving turkey recipe for beginners is an easy and delicious addition to your holiday gathering. From all of us at your local appliance repair service, have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

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