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Juicy Turkey Recipe with Crispy Skin!

This juicy turkey recipe with crispy skin is easy! The secret is to start out low-and-slow then crank up the heat to crisp up the skin for the finish.

Juicy Turkey Recipe

Juicy Turkey Ingredients

  • 12 pound turkey
  • Butter, melted
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful each of fresh thyme and rosemary
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Vegetable, chicken or turkey stock

If you like a tinge of lemon with your turkey, add lemon wedges inside the turkey to help the meat stay moist.

Why Make this Turkey Recipe

Dry turkey is the death of a truly great, memorable Thanksgiving meal, so it’s no wonder that it’s known to make even seasoned cooks a little nervous. It doesn’t need to, though, as it’s really quite simple to prepare a perfect Thanksgiving turkey every single year if you use this easy juicy turkey recipe!

The problem is that for really juicy, tender turkey meat, you need to cook it low and slow. But doing so prevents the skin from getting crispy and achieving that deep, gorgeous brown color that makes your turkey look like something off the cover of Food and Wine magazine. To get crispy, deeply browned skin you need to cook your turkey over a high heat so the fat renders and gets crispy.

So how do you get a juicy bird AND crispy skin?

How to Cook a Turkey in Oven

Scroll down to the bottom for the printable step-by-step recipe but here’s a brief overview on cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any meal year round.

1. Season the Turkey: Pat the turkey dry with paper towels then season the inside and out with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Place herbs, carrots and celery into turkey cavity. Place breast-side up in a roasting pan and brush all over with melted butter. Pour stock into bottom of roasting pan.

2. Roast the Turkey: Tent with foil and roast for 2 1/2 hours (add 15 minutes for each additional pound).

How to Make Turkey Crispy Skin in Oven

The trick is to start out low and slow then crank up your heat during the last hour or so, allowing the skin to crisp and brown while keeping the meat tender and juicy.

3. Remove & Baste: Remove the foil and baste with remaining melted butter.

4. Increase Oven Temperature: For crispy skin increase the oven temperature to 425°F. Place the turkey back in the oven and roast for another hour or until the meat at the thigh registers 165°F. Add more stock to bottom of roasting pan, if needed.

I’ve been using this juicy turkey recipe for years and it has never, ever failed me.

Juicy Turkey with Gravy

No Thanksgiving turkey (or table) is complete without a side of homemade gravy. Making gravy from the pan drippings is super easy. Check out our simple recipe to make your own gravy to accompany this juicy turkey recipe.

How to Thaw a Turkey

  1. Allow at least one day of thawing for every 5 lbs. of turkey
  2. Thaw turkey breast side up, in its original wrapping on tray or baking pan (40°F or below)
  3. Cook the turkey within three days after thawing

You can also thaw a turkey in its original wrapping in cold water and completely submerged in a bucket or sink. Allow approximately 30 minutes for every pound of turkey.

What Size of Turkey Should I Get?

1 lb. per person is the minimum recommended size turkey to buy but to avoid any fear of not having enough, I suggest buying about 1 1/4 lb. turkey per person. Maybe consider 1 1/2 lbs. for a Thanksgiving dinner in case you and your family love leftover turkey.

Other factors to consider are little kids that might not eat much or growing teens and a family full of football players that will eat more than their fair share. If you’re serving other meats like a holiday ham, you may want to consider less as well.

How to Store Turkey Leftovers

For many, leftover turkey after Thanksgiving dinner is the best part of the Thanksgiving holiday. Before sitting back to spend time with family and friends, it is important to store the leftovers within 2 hours after being in room temperature.

To store the turkey, remove the turkey from the bone, cut into smaller pieces and store in airtight containers or freezer-safe bags. Leftover turkey in the refrigerator should be used within three to four days and frozen turkey should be used within 6 months.

The trick to keeping leftover turkey moist and juicy is to add moisture and fat. Chicken broth, turkey stock and butter will work!

And lastly, if here are the best ways to reheat turkey for juicy, moist leftover turkey.

Juicy Turkey Recipe

Easy Juicy Roasted Turkey with Crispy Skin

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes

This recipe for a juicy roasted turkey is so simple yet foolproof!

Ingredients

  • 1 12- pound turkey
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • handful each of fresh thyme and rosemary
  • 2 carrots, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 6 pieces
  • 4-6 cups vegetable, chicken or turkey stock

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels then season the inside and out with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Place herbs, carrots and celery into turkey cavity.
  3. Place breast-side up in a roasting pan and brush all over with 1/2 cup melted butter. Pour 4 cups stock into bottom of roasting pan. Tent with foil and roast for 2 1/2 hours (add 15 minutes for each additional pound). Remove the foil, baste with remaining melted butter. Increase oven temperature to 425F. Place turkey back in oven and roast for another hour or until the meat at the thigh registers 165F. Add more stock to bottom of roasting pan, if needed.
  4. Remove from oven and loosely tent turkey with foil. Allow to rest for 30 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1115Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 542mgSodium: 742mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 9gSugar: 8gProtein: 137g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Try these Thanksgiving sides, drinks and desserts with your juicy turkey:

Kristy Bernardo
Latest posts by Kristy Bernardo (see all)

Erik Olson

Wednesday 30th of November 2022

I did your recipe for Thanksgiving this year and it turned out perfect. I had a 15lb. natural/organic turkey that I wet-brined over night. The times you had in your recipe worked well even for a slightly heavier - but brined - turkey. 2 hours at 325, basted w/ butter, and 1 hour at 425 gave me a temp probe reading of 161. Pulled it out, tented it for about 30 minutes, carved and enjoyed. Thank you for the recipe - I will do it again.

Pat

Friday 25th of November 2022

This was the juiciest turkey with the crispiest skin I have ever had! It was a big hit in the family. After adding the second part of butter to the skin and putting it back in the oven at 425, it was crispy and cooked throughout in 30 minutes, so keep an eye on cooking time.

Robert

Friday 12th of December 2014

How do you do this with a stuffed bird?

Bill

Tuesday 10th of November 2020

Differently. This recipe is isn't for a stuffed turkey.

Robert Jenks

Friday 12th of December 2014

How do you do this when stuffing the bird?

Kristy Bernardo

Monday 15th of December 2014

Hi Robert, If I were stuffing my bird, I would probably add the stuffing just before the end cooking time at the higher temp. Please keep in mind, however, that I have not tested this as I make my dressing on the side.

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