If you're looking for a quick and easy recipe for a whole roast turkey recipe, this is the one! Roasted to perfection with a delicious Apple Cider Glaze, this deliciously juicy bird will be a total showstopper this Thanksgiving.
Check out these other great recipes featuring pecans: Pumpkin Crunch Cake, Caramel Pretzel Turtles
Tips for how to make a turkey
- If your turkey is frozen, give it enough time to thaw- typically you'll want to plan for 1 day for every 4 pounds, so you'll want to move your turkey to the fridge 4 days ahead for a 16 pound turkey.
- Pull it out of it's wrapping, remove the gizzards and pat dry your turkey the day before you intend to serve it. I leave mine in the fridge uncovered so that the skin dries a bit because I think it makes the skin crispier, just make sure you have plenty of room so that it won't touch anything else.
- Remove the turkey from the fridge an hour prior to roasting to let it come closer to room temperature.
- I tend to set an alarm and pull my butter out of the fridge the night before so I have plenty of time to let it soften. But if you forget, I wrote a whole post about how to soften butter in the microwave.
- Using a meat Thermometer that you can keep in the the bird as it cooks is key for this recipe- not only to make sure you don't overcook the meat, but to know when to start brushing the apple cider glaze onto the turkey. I use this meat thermometer.
- Make sure you rest your turkey for a good 20-30 minutes before carving.
Helpful ingredient information
- Turkey: This recipe is for a whole roasted turkey that has had the backbone removed and lays flat. It's been written for an 11-15 pound bird, but will work for a larger or smaller bird, just plan to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Compound Butter: I like to make a compound butter of salted butter, fresh sage, fresh parsley, fresh thyme, kosher salt and pepper. For this recipe, I only use the butter under the turkey skin. I use a little olive oil and some salt and pepper on the skin and eventually brush the cider glaze onto the turkey later in the roasting process.
- Apple Cider Glaze: This delicious glaze is super easy to make and adds the perfect bit of sweetness to your turkey. Made with apple cider, brown sugar, shallot, fresh sage, fresh parsley, fresh thyme, kosher salt, pepper and a little butter.
- Veggies for the pan: I love adding the pan juices to my gravy for extra special flavor, so I always start by placing some ingredients into the bottom of my roasting pan. I use shallot, apple slices, fresh sage, fresh parsley, fresh thyme and a mixture of water and a little apple cider.
How do I roast a turkey and keep it moist?
The most important thing is to pull the turkey from the oven when it reaches the safe temperature for serving so it doesn't overcook. Additionally spatchcocking the turkey helps it cook more evenly.
How to tell when a turkey is done?
I pull the turkey from the oven when the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat hits 161 degrees. It will continue cooking as it rests and come to 165 degrees which is the safe temperature for serving poultry.
What does spatchcock mean and do I have to do it?
Spatchcock means you butterfly the turkey by cutting out the backbone and laying it flat to promote even cooking and a more tender bird. It also allows the turkey to cook faster. I find most butchers will spatchcock it for you, but it's super easy to do yourself. I wrote a blog post about how to spatchcock a turkey. While you don't have to do this, I feel it's easier and almost always results in a better turkey. If you choose not to spatchcock your turkey, you'll want to adjust your cooking temperature and time based on the directions in this blog post.
Can I prep the turkey in advance?
Yes, you can prep it up to a day in advance.
Do you roast a turkey covered or uncovered?
I roast it un covered but I check on it every 30 minutes and if parts of the skin seem to be browning too fast, I'll cover only those parts with foil so they don't burn (and then remove it for the glazing process at the end).
Why rest at room temperature before and after baking?
You rest it before so that it isn't crazy cold when it first foes into the oven- this allows it to cook more evenly. Resting it after roasting helps to redistribute the juices and allow for crossover cooking.
Leftovers last for up to 5 days covered in the refrigerator and freeze for up to 3 months.
Ingredients that can be prepped ahead:
- Wash fresh herbs
- Wash apples
- Cut shallots
- Remove butter from the refrigerator to soften (or make compound butter)
- Prep turkey entirely
Apple Cider Glazed Roast Turkey Recipe
- ¾ cup salted butter, softened (1 ½ sticks)
- 1 ½ Tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped
- 1 ½ Tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh sage, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 11-14 pound whole raw turkey, spatchcocked
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cooking spray
- 2 pounds shallots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 pounds apples, cored and cut into chunks
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4-5 sprigs fresh parsley
- 4-6 sprigs fresh sage
- ½ cup apple cider
- 1 ½ cups water
Apple Cider Glaze
- 1 ½ cups apple cider
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 1 medium shallot, peeled and cut in half
- 1 Tablespoon salted butter
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
Make the compound butter
- In a small bowl make the compound butter by mixing butter, minced herbs, salt, and pepper until well combined. Set aside.
Prep the turkey
- Remove spatchcocked turkey from refrigerator 1 hour prior to cooking to bring it closer to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with the rack in the middle position.
- In a large roasting pan place shallots, apples sprigs of fresh herbs, apple cider and water. Place rack on top of them and grease rack with cooking spray.
- Place turkey breast-side-down onto the rack. Rub half the olive oil onto the bottom of the turkey and sprinkle evenly with half to salt and pepper.
- Turn the turkey over so the breast side is facing up.
- Take your hand and carefully push it under the skin of each part of the turkey, separating the skin from the meat. Evenly distribute the compound butter onto the meat under the skin of the turkey.
- Rub with remaining olive oil and sprinkle evenly with remaining salt. Place the pointed part of the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, making sure you don't touch the bone.
Roast the turkey
- Place the turkey into the preheated oven on the middle rack. Plan on checking the turkey every 30 minutes to make sure the skin isn't getting too brown and the liquid in the bottom of the pan hasn't evaporated.
Make the glaze
- Place apple cider, brown sugar, fresh herbs and shallot into a medium sauce pan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved into the cider and bring to a boil.
- Boil for 15 minutes stirring periodically to reduce the cider- do not reduce the heat.
- Remove from heat and herbs and shallots from the pot.
- Stir in butter, salt and pepper until butter is melted. Set aside.
Finish the turkey
- Roast the turkey until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast meat is 130 degrees.
- Remove from the oven and brush the glaze evenly over the turkey and return to the oven. Repeat this every 10 minutes until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast meat is 161 degrees.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and place on a large cutting board. Rest turkey for 20-30 minutes. Strain and mix pan juices into your gravy (optional)
- Carve turkey and serve immediately.