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Perfect Turkey Recipe

Perfect Turkey RecipePerfect Turkey Recipe

Some of my earliest memories of Thanksgiving include talk of my father or grandfather waking at some unfathomable hour of the morning to put in a 30 pound turkey.  We weren’t anticipating 30 plus people to attend so we went with a 14 pound turkey and more modern cooking style.  Hot and fast.  This will help keep your turkey moist-especially after the 16 hour turkey brine we had it in. We hope that you love this Perfect Turkey Recipe.

If you came here looking for the best thanksgiving turkey recipe ever, easy turkey recipes for beginners, gourmet thanksgiving turkey recipes, roast turkey recipe, a stuffed turkey recipe, whole turkey recipes, the best stuffed turkey recipe, slow roasted turkey recipe or even a simple christmas turkey recipe, you have come to the right place.

turkey prep tips  |   turkey recipe leftovers

Perfect Turkey Recipe

Perfect Turkey Recipe


  • turkey (ours was a little over 14 pounds, you’ll want to select yours based off of how many guests you’ll have and the leftovers you might want; Plan for 1 pound per person, and up to 2 pounds per person if you like leftovers).
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large honeycrisp apple
  • 2 pears
  • 1 onion
  • large bunch of fresh thyme
  • fresh sage, rough chop
  • sea salt
  • disposable rubber gloves
  • aluminum foil
  • twine
  • large roasting pan

Perfect Turkey Recipe

Perfect Turkey Recipe

Special Notes

You may opt to brine your turkey for a few hours or up to 2 days ahead of cooking time.  This is not necessary, simply a nice step to help retain moisture and infuse great big flavor into the bird. Check out this brine recipe from Savory Sweet Life, it is spot on.

It is my preference to wear disposable rubber gloves whenever handling raw meat, especially for this big project!  I changed them out whenever needing to go from handling the turkey to handling utensils, dishes or touching the oven.


  1. With your turkey fully thawed carefully remove the ‘things’ inside, in most case you will discard them.  If brining, you will want to start this process now.  If heading to the oven you will now want to place your turkey on your roasting rack and let rest.  Preheat to 500 degrees while you prep the fruit and veggies.
  2. Thoroughly wash your apple, pear, sage and thyme.  Cutting into long quarters will help everything best fit inside.  Stuff it all in the bird, but be sure to alternate the placement of the things so you’ll have variation in flavor.
  3. With the bird stuffed rub the entire outside with olive oil and butter.  You will now want to take a large piece of aluminum foil, create a big triangle and mold it so that it will fit over the breast meat/top of turkey but leave the legs exposed.  Pre-forming helps prevent burning yourself with a HOT turkey and roasting pan.  Dark meat lovers typically enjoy that meat cooked to 170 degrees where as white meat should be cooked to 165 degrees.  This will help even the cooking and help keep moisture in. You will leave the turkey uncovered for the first 30 minutes, so leave this off to the side.
  4. When everything is set and your oven is ready to go slide the turkey in, feet first.  Cook at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.  Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cover with your preformed tinfoil.  You will want to cook your turkey from here based on its size.  Our 14+ pound turkey took about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Take off the foil for the last 15 minutes to get the delicious, golden brown turkey skin.

Check for your cooking time here:

Follow these guidelines for proper handling and food safety:

Common Roasting the Perfect Turkey Recipe Questions

how long to roast a turkey?  The general rule for cooking a turkey is 20 minutes per pound, but that can vary depending on whether or not your turkey recipe calls for a stuffed or unstuffed bird.

how often to baste turkey? what do you baste a turkey with? how to keep a turkey from drying out? how to keep turkey breast moist? Basting a turkey is the best thing that you can do for it, but the best turkey baster in the world only works if you use it.  Most say baste every 30 minutes but my husband bastes every 15-20 minutes for a better tasting and more moist bird.

which turkey is best for thanksgiving? We always choose a fresh turkey over a frozen one but honestly both can turn out amazing with this recipe.

how to cook a moist turkey with crispy skin? when to uncover turkey for browning? how to make a golden brown turkey? when to tent a turkey? Cook at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Then cover or tent with foil and cook at 350 degrees for the remaining time depending on weight. Take off the foil for the last 15 minutes to get the delicious, golden brown turkey skin.

how to keep turkey moist after cooking? Once it sets for about 10 minutes, cover your turkey with a kitchen towel or saran wrap to keep it steaming.

After countless years and turkeys roasted, this is the best turkey cooking method for easy turkey recipes and the best way to cook a turkey in the oven and the best turkey recipe in the world roast. We hope that you are inspired by this Perfect Turkey Recipe. Happy cooking!

Perfect Turkey RecipePerfect Turkey Recipe

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46 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Mary Happymommy

    I’ve only made the Thanksgiving turkey twice so this recipe is definitely helpful! I never thought to use apple. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Eva

    I am glad you mention the brine option. I usually brine my turkey and the turkey becomes so moist because of this step. I love your filling because it is so easy to make and I may have to try it out this year. I usually make homemade chestnut stuffing.

  3. Elizabeth Towns

    This is really interesting. I’ve never brined anything so that step would definitely be skipped – thanks for skipping it here. I might actually try this. My family is very southern when it comes to cooking the bird, so I bake it cavity empty so I can stuff it midway through. I can’t imagine how great all of these flavors would be together.

  4. Nice recipe. I will try it for a changeup!

  5. We raised our own turkeys one year so we became mini-experts. Our favorite way to cook them was a 24 hr apple cider brine, butter rubbed under the skin, apples in the cavity, an optional covering of thick cut bacon and a maple syrup glaze. Almost makes me want to get turkeys again !

  6. Pam

    That turkey does look amazing. Thanks for sharing that recipe. I usually roast mine and it never turns out quite right.

  7. Helene Cohen Bludman

    Your turkey looks awesome. Some years I brine, but not always, and I don’t think I will this year. It cN be tricky to get the bird to come out exactly right.

  8. I love the idea of adding apples and pears.

  9. This looks like a great turkey recipe. We do something similar,but with citrus. It gives the turkey a delicious flavor and it also does something to crisp the skin. Great tips. Ready for turkey day.

  10. Wow, this is interesting! I am not a fan of stuffing the bird, but this does look great!!

  11. This recipe sounds delicious! Might have to try this on the turkey this year!

  12. Shauna

    this sounds amazing. I cook for a big family and will have to try this. I am sure the pears add just the perfect touch…

  13. Mine is so boring, I’ll need to try doing it this way, thanks for posting!

  14. Steve Pots

    Ah turkey The traditional fair but with a twist. I like the way you did your turkey and I have been looking for a way to spruce things up a bit this year.

  15. nice looking bird I have never heard of stuffing with pears

  16. Love this! I always make mine the same way, so I think I need to switch it up. Love the addition of the fruit!

  17. Oh my, this sounds incredible! Sadly it looks like I might not be cooking a turkey this year… but I am definitely going to need to try this sometime!

  18. we do the same treatment for our turkeys!! i am SO looking forward to thanksgiving dinner 🙂

  19. You’re making my tummy rumble in anticipation of taking a bite of turkey. I love the way you prepare yours!

  20. I am so ready for Thanksgiving! Bring on the bird!

  21. This looks like a great recipe. I love stuffing the turkey with apples.

  22. Love that you stuff the bird with fruit – that must be so flavorful! I have to admit I’m kind of intimidated by the thought of making turkey!

  23. shelly peterson

    This recipe looks really good. I have never used fruit when cooking a turkey before. My son this year is cooking the turkey and his recipe has apples used so we will see how it turns out.

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  25. I really want to brine a turkey this year! I cannot wait to try out what you said here. It sounds like it’s going to keep my turkey moist and absolutely outstandingly delicious.

  26. I think this is a quest we all go on: making the perfect turkey. I have come close; but, this just might bring it on home! Very delicious!

  27. I like this recipe! I’ll send it over to my mom to see if she’d like to try this this year. It looks so good!

  28. Amy

    I cannot wait for Thanksgiving Day! I love me some turkey skin, breast, and a turkey leg.

  29. Kathy

    Sounds like a great recipe. I really can’t wait for Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorites because the food is amazing and I love spending time with family.

  30. krystal

    I can never make a turkey just right. We are hosting this year and I need all the help I can get!

  31. This recipe is for keeps! It looks really perfect!

  32. That turkey looks so delicious! I love an easy recipe like this one. 

  33. Sarah

    The turkey looks amazing! Showing my husband this recipe, he’s been wanting to try out a new turkey recipe. 

  34. I am making a turkey for the first time this year. Thanks for the helpful tips.

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