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The Easiest, No-Fuss, Roasted Turkey Recipe

4.0 from 3 vote(s)
Prep time:20 minutes
Cook time:5-7 hours



No basting, no trussing, no burning – just a flavorful, juicy turkey every time!

This easy Thanksgiving turkey recipe works every time as long as you stick to the correct size of turkey (12 lbs). You’ll need a covered roaster that will fit your turkey. Make sure the roaster you use has a well fitting lid to keep the heat in. If your lid closes loosely, just cover the lid with heavy duty aluminum foil and crimp it around the edges where the pan meets the lid to seal it well.

Starting around $30, here are some examples of covered roasting pans.

Stainless steel domed turkey roasting pan

Granite Ware domed turkey roasting pan

Martha Stewart Collection Stainless Steel 8-Qt. Covered Oval Roaster with Rack, Created for Macy's

For a more traditional method to cook a turkey, or if you need to make a turkey larger than 12 lbs, try this Perfectly Roasted Turkey recipe.

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  • 1 fresh 12 lb turkey (size is important here)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 whole lemon, remove the zest then quarter the lemon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (sage works well, too!)
  • 1 vidalia onion, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise (no need to remove the skins)
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in thirds to fit into turkey
  • 2 cups boiling water


  1. Adjust your oven racks so that your covered roaster will fit and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Remove turkey neck and giblets, rinse the turkey inside and out, then pat dry.
  3. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in the inside of the turkey cavity and place the turkey breast side up into your covered roasting pan.
  4. Combine butter, thyme (or sage), and lemon zest in a bowl.
  5. Run your fingers between the turkey skin and breast meat to separate the skin slightly and make a pocket.
  6. Using half of the butter mixture, insert it under the skin of each turkey breast in the pocket you created and spread it out to cover the breast meat.
  7. Spread the other half of the butter mixture all over the outside skin of the turkey breasts and thighs then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Insert the quartered lemon, onion, garlic, and celery into the cavity of the turkey.
  9. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, cover the pan and put into the oven for one hour.
  10. After one hour turn the oven off but DO NOT open the oven door! Leave the turkey in the oven undisturbed until the oven cools completely – 4 to 6 hours.
  11. Remove the turkey from the oven, it will still be hot. Carve and perhaps serve with some Make Ahead Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes.


Boiling Water?

September 26, 2022

Where does the 2 cups of boiling water come into the recipe?


Response from

Thank you for pointing that out Anita! We’ve updated the instructions. The boiling water goes into the pan before putting it into the oven. Thanks again!

Old oven

May 24, 2020

My oven doesn’t take 4 hrs to cool

Tina Dietz

Been doing this for YEARS now

November 14, 2019

I saw the Trisha Yearwood episode on Food Network years ago and have been making my turkey this way ever since. The only problem I run into is timing. I’ve done this overnight just to have extra turkey leftovers or when I won’t be hosting and want turkey for my family. But if you are hosting and don’t have a large oven or a second one this thing takes up A LOT of space and to juggle your sides. Super easy and the turkey is really tender.


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