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How to Prepare A Tasty Turkey for Thanksgiving

It is tasty thanksgiving turkey time of year!  Let’s take a close look at how to prepare the Thanksgiving turkey along with herbs and other ingredients you can grow. Find my recipe and cooking facts in this post.

How to Cook A Tasty Turkey Basics

It’s my favorite time of year where we use fresh herbs, spice, and vegetables to cook up a fabulous Thanksgiving turkey. Hard to believe I wasn’t always confident when it came to cooking a turkey. Preparing a giant (15-20 pound)  turkey can be intimidating. It is important to be sure that poultry reaches the proper temperature internal.  By taking down a few notes and carefully paying attention to temperature facts for cooking that tasty turkey.


Little Bren with Mom and Turkey
I really do get excited about turkey!

Each year I add to my food journal featuring how to and more. As a result, the journal is filled with Notecards from family and friends, favorite magazine clippings and printed recipes from favorite cooking sites make up this journal. The journal is filled with notes that are over 40 years old from my Dad’s cookbook. These notes are hard to read but true treasures. As a result, memorable recipes and notes can be found in my journal helping me cook up that perfect turkey each year.

Kitchen Tools to Prepare a Turkey

Turkey in Roasting Pan

It is super important to either have an electric roaster or a roasting pan that is the right size for your poultry. My favorite over the past few years when feeding a large crowd is my electric roasting appliance.  The recipe below is based on my experience with that appliance. You can find these on Amazon or local stores. Invest in the following kitchen tools before tackling your Thanksgiving feast:

  • roasting pan ( I DO NOT RECOMMEND FOIL ) or Electric Roasting Pan
  • roasting rack (usually comes inside a good roasting pan or electric roaster)
  • meat thermometer – Be sure to follow internal poultry temperature of 165*.  I use an external probe design so the roasting pan doesn’t get open as often during cooking time.
  • Basting set ( if you don’t have a baster you can always use a large spoon).  When using an electric oven you will most likely not need this tool.
  • sharp knife and fork for carving
  • platter big enough for large bird

 Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Here are the ingredients included in my Thanksgiving roasted turkey recipe.  Most of the herbs I grow and harvest year-round.  You can use store bought fresh herbs if you don’t know how to grow your own. The butter rub in this recipe insures a golden brown turkey when prepared in an electric roaster oven.


Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe


  • Turkey Rub!
  • 2 tablespoons of poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon of garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ground pepper
  • 1 stick of butter melted
  • For the Turkey!
  • 15-20 pound fresh turkey
  • 1 cup of water or vegetable broth
  • 2-4 carrots (clean and chopped into 2″ sections)
  • 2-3 celery with leaves (chopped)
  • 1 large sweet onion ( cut in quarters)
  • 2-4 sage leaves (clean)
  • 1/2 cup of parsley chopped
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of thyme


  1. For the Rub!
  2. Mix the ingredients together in melted butter and rub on the turkey. Be sure to lift the skin of the clean turkey and rub the spices under as far as you can reach.
  3. For The Turkey!
  4. I recommend following cooking directions on the label included with store bought turkey. Be sure to check out the USDA ‘Lets Talk Turkey’ page for extra information.
  5. Place prepared turkey in the roaster pan rack inside pan before adding water to bottom of pan.
  6. Rub turkey (see above)
  7. arrange herbs and veggies around the turkey
  8. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes at the highest temperature the electric roaster will go (mine is 450*), then lower the temperature to 325 degrees F for the remaining time.
  9. Cook according to temperature and size of turkey. Average time for a 20 pound turkey to reach 165*F internal is about 4 hours.

Inspired by Family and Friends!

Electric Roaster To Prepare The Turkey

electric roaster for turkey
My roaster oven set up away from the guest

The biggest mistake ever was using a foil pan for a 22-pound turkey. As a result, the foil does not provide good insulation to accurately hold the heat for the turkey to cook in the time suggested. The temperature of the turkey must reach 165 according to the Food Safety Website. Thanksgiving dinner ended up being a few hours late the year I used a foil pan in my commercial oven.  The electric roaster will free up oven space along with guarantee proper cooking temperatures. Remember to keep the lid on the roaster while cooking.  This will ensure the heat is maintained.  It is best to use a probe style thermometer to keep an eye on the poultries internal  temperature.

herbs and bonus from dome garden
Handful of Thankfulness from the Dome Garden

My Favorite Reference Links

Don’t trust everything you read on the web.  These two sites below are what I follow because they are official and they do the research for you before regulations of food are passed! Below are the sites I like to refer to each year before preparing that bird!

Thanksgiving Recipes

Be sure to check out these other recipes that make side dishes for the thanksgiving meal.   I’d love to hear what you think about these so be sure to connect below!

Cold Turkey Sandwich
I can't wait to make my cold turkey sandwich!

With a big bird I had plenty of leftovers.  Be sure to check out some of these Turkey Day leftover ideas.

Let’s Connect

Do you have a fun story to share with me about your bird?  Be sure to reach out to me on my website to share the details.  I am also on social media at @brenhaas but it is best to find me here.

Happy Thanksgiving,

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