Foolproof Roasted Turkey and Gravy

Thanksgiving is fast approaching in just a few days, and we’re all wanting that perfect turkey for our table. We all want it to be moist and juicy, not dry and uneatable. Well, today I want to share with you our foolproof roasted turkey and gravy. I kid you not. If you do it this way, your family is going to love you even more and the turkey too. And be sure to complement it with our Easy Turkey Stuffing.

Here is what you’ll need:


For the turkey:

1 13-pound turkey

1 celery stalk, roughly chopped

1 onion, quartered

5 garlic cloves

4 ounces butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon pepper, divided

1 teaspoon salt, divided

For the gravy:

1/2 all-purpose flour

4 – 5 cups liquid (juices from the pan + turkey or chicken broth)

Salt and pepper to taste


Let the turkey come to room temperature for 30 – 45 minutes before preparing.

In the meantime, you can prepare your pan and gather your ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Prepare a large roasting pan by placing a rack in the bottom to slightly elevate the turkey. If yours doesn’t sit high enough, you can ball up some aluminum foil and place it under the rack (as show in the photo)

Remove the bag of giblets and the neck from inside the turkey and discard.

Thoroughly rinse the turkey inside and out and pat it dry with paper towels. You want it very dry, especially the outside.

Add the onion, celery and garlic to the cavity of the turkey.

Place the turkey in the pan on top of the rack.

Tuck the wings behind the turkey. This keeps them from burning and helps stabilize the turkey. (see picture)

Pour two cups of water into the bottom of the pan.

Add the butter, olive oil, thyme, oregano and remaining salt and pepper to a small bowl. Place it in the microwave just long enough to melt the butter, which was only about 15 seconds for me. Whisk to combine.

Using a silicone basting brush, liberally brush the butter mixture all over the outside of the turkey, adding a little extra on top.

Adjust the racks in your oven so that the turkey sits as center as possible. You don’t want it too close to the top or right on the bottom. In my oven, the second rack from the bottom was perfect.

Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 and tent the top with foil. You don’t want to completely cover the turkey. Just use enough to cover the top of the turkey and the legs as shown in the picture.

Bake for an additional 2 1/2 – 3 hours, basting with the pan juices every 30 minutes. As you can see in the picture, my turkey came with a pop-up timer. I rarely rely on those, because they tend to overcook the turkey. Use your own thermometer and start checking to see if it’s done after two hours. To do this, place the thermometer beneath the drum stick, into the thigh without touching the bone. The turkey is done when is registers 180° in the thigh and 161° F in breast.

When the turkey is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and transfer it to a serving platter. Let is rest for 45 minutes while you make the gravy. Resting the turkey makes it juicier and easier to carve.

To make the gravy, carefully strain all of the pan juices into a pan on top of the stove. This is definitely a two person job.

Bring the pan juices to a simmer over medium heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and enough broth to make it smooth. Slowly pour this into the pan juices, whisking constantly. This will start to thicken almost immediately. Continue to add broth until the gravy is the consistency you like it.

Turn the heat down to low and let the gravy cook for about 5 minutes, adding more broth as needed.

Taste the gravy and seasoning with salt and pepper to your liking.

Serve the gravy alongside the turkey and enjoy!


All turkeys will release a different amount of juice, so you may need to add additional turkey or chicken broth if you want more gravy.

If your turkey isn’t browning, you can uncover it in the last 30 – 45 minutes of baking. Once it gets browned to your liking, you can cover it again if it’s not done.

To figure how big of a turkey you’ll need, multiple each guest by one pound of uncooked turkey. So if you’re expecting 20 people for dinner, you’ll want a 20 pound turkey.

To thaw your turkey, place it in the refrigerator according to the following times:

8 – 12 pound whole turkey: 1 – 2 days

12 – 16 pound whole turkey: 2 – 3 days

16 – 20 pound whole turkey: 3 – 4 days

20 – 24 pound whole turkey: 4 – 5 days

You can follow this chart for cooking times, but use a meat thermometer for accuracy:

8 – 12 pound whole turkey: 2.75 – 3 hours

12 – 16 pound whole turkey: 3 – 3.75 hours

16 – 20 pound whole turkey: 3.75 – 4.25 hours

18 – 20 pound whole turkey: 4.25 – 4.5 hours

20 – 24 pound whole turkey: 4.5 – 5 hours

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