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Foolproof Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Foolproof turkey cooking method!!

Course Entree
Cuisine American
Keyword Turkey
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10 Varies based on turkey weight
Calories 507 kcal
Author John Sander Family Recipe


  • 1 turkey, 12-20 pounds completely thawed
  • 2 stalks celery rough chopped
  • 1 large apple rough chopped
  • 1 large onion rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter cut in 8 pieces (1 stick)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • Roasting pan with lid *that will close tightly with turkey inside*


  1. Rinse the thawed turkey, save neck and organs for making stock later if you desire. Pat the turkey dry and place it breast-side up in the roaster pan. If the lid doesn’t close tightly over the turkey, you will need to break the breastbone to ensure a tight fit. Otherwise, do not use this recipe.

  2. Put some pieces of the celery, apple, onion, and butter in the turkey cavity. Do not overstuff. Put all remaining pieces around the sides of the turkey. Rub a light coating of olive oil on the turkey and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  3. Add a cup of water to the bottom of the roaster pan and cover making sure the lid fits tightly. The turkey should have some clearance so that it is not touching the roaster lid.
  4. Place the bird in a preheated oven and cook at 500 for one hour, then turn off the oven and *do not open* for 5-6 hours.

** Alternate Cooking Method**

  1. If you've got an oven that self-cools once turned off, or if you have an oven that doesn't seal well, prepare the turkey exactly as above, but add TWO cups of water instead of one cup, then cook at 500 for the first hour.

  2. Instead of turning the oven off, remove the lid and reduce the oven temperature to 325F. Cook for one to two more hours, depending on the size of your turkey. Cook until the breast meat reads 165F, and the dark meat / thigh area reads 175F.