Overview of perfectly roasted uncarved turkey on a white platter.

No-Fail Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Making the perfect no-fail Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe is super easy – just follow these simple instructions.
Categories Dinner
Difficulty Easy
Keyword thanksgiving turkey, thanksgiving turkey recipe, turkey recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 194 kcal
Author Lacey Baier of A Sweet Pea Chef


  • 1 12-15 lb turkey completely thawed
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1-2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 granny smith apple no need to remove core, cut into eighths
  • 1 navel orange unpeeled, cut into eighths
  • 1 yellow onion quartered
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary about 6-8 stems, whole
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves about 6-8 leaves, whole
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme leaves about 8-10 stems with leaves, whole


  1. If your turkey is not yet defrosted, there are two ways I have found to be best. Either place it in the sink and cover it with cold water for 4-8 hours or place it in the fridge (on a plate to catch any potential leakage) for 2-3 days. The fridge method is the safer method while the sink method is faster.
  2. Once completely thawed, remove the giblets from the inside of the turkey. They are not needed for this recipe so you can either save or discard them.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  4. Place turkey, breast-side down, on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.
  5. Stuff as much of the apple, orange, onion, rosemary, sage, and thyme into both cavities of the turkey. Stop when no more is able to fit without falling out. Firmly press the skin flaps surrounding the cavities closed to keep everything in — there’s no need to tie up.
  6. Bend the wings back to help stabilize the turkey and allow for even browning. See picture above.
  7. Rub all surfaces of the turkey with the olive oil.

  8. Season the turkey liberally with the salt and pepper.
  9. Insert a meat thermometer into the deepest part of the thigh and set to 165 degrees.
  10. Place the turkey in the center of the oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, approximately 2-3 hours. (If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you will know the turkey is done when the juices run clear between the leg and thigh when pierced with a fork.)
  11. Once done, carefully remove from the oven, cover with tin foil, and allow to rest 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
  12. *If you’d like to brown the breast-side of the turkey as well, flip the turkey over to be breast-side up when approximately 15 minutes remain for cooking. Increase the oven to 450 degrees for these last 15 minutes. This is kind of a hassle and, in my opinion, not worth it, but will result in well-browned breast skin as well. This step is totally optional.
Nutrition Facts
No-Fail Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe
Amount Per Serving (3.5 oz)
Calories 194 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 3.5g18%
Sodium 113.3mg5%
Protein 29g58%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.