A peppery spiced, and flavorful roast turkey for the holidays, a formal, or a special occasion. This is one of the best roast turkey recipes from Bon Appetit and a must-try for your next holiday dinner.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I felt overwhelmed by the prep and cooking involved. But in the same breath, I’m super excited for friends and family to come over and enjoy a homemade meal together. We must roast a turkey between making sides and desserts not to disappoint anyone.
So I decided to try a new recipe from Bon Appetit. The turkey came out juicy, flavorful, and perfectly cooked, which was surprising considering that 24-48hrs refrigeration was required and I had to leave the turkey uncovered. I decided to try this recipe just because of the dry brining method.
Let’s get the disclaimer out before diving into my experience and review for this turkey recipe. Be aware that I am sharing my opinion and cooking experience.
The process for making this roast turkey recipe
When researching recipes for specific ingredients, I always ensured I had all the tools necessary to make them. The process also involves price, availability of ingredients, and the time spent to prep and cook the dish.
You may already have all the ingredients in your pantry, but what about the cookware? Do you have a pan large enough to hold the bird?
Turkeys are large birds and require a bit more money to cook.
What do you do with the carcass and the other parts of the bird?
Nothing should go to waste when cooking. It is usually recommended to make stock or broth, or make soup. I typically make stews and soups or roast the bones and leftover meat. I will be sharing my recipe coming soon.
To Brine or not to brine
A brining method is crucial when it comes to roasting a juicy and succulent turkey. A brining liquid will help kick-start the roasting process, infusing big flavors into the meat before you even put it in the oven.
A wet brine will also wonderfully season the bird if you have the correct combination of seasoning and spices.
Kitchen tools needed for the roast turkey recipe.
Hopefully, you already have the following tools in your kitchen. If not, you may want to invest a little bit more money in the best baking pans and knives.
- Mortar and Pestle or Spice Mill: this is needed to crush the spices
- Deep Baking Sheet Pan with Rack – a 12×17 size pan is necessary to hold a 10-14 pound turkey.
- Sharp Knives: to easily carve the turkey
- Measuring Spoons: a must in the kitchen.
- Measuring Cups: also a must to have
- Kitchen Tong: a good brand tong with a good grip.
- Kitchen Shears or scissors: to also help with carving the bird
- Disposable Food Gloves: to apply the seasonings blend if you don’t want to get your hands dirty
- Bowls: to mix the spices etc.
- Meat Thermometer: always good to have.
The ingredients you will need for the roast turkey recipe
- A whole turkey, neck, and giblets removed: I usually buy a specific brand or a fresh turkey.
- Whole black peppercorns and whole pink: I only buy a peppercorn blend. Purchasing different types and colored peppercorns can be very pricey. The mix fits my needs.
- Diamond Crystal or Morton kosher salt: I used sea salt and decreased the amount by 1 tablespoon.
- Garlic powder: this cannot be a jar of garlic powder left open for a couple of days. Proper seasoning and spices storage is necessary to preserve the flavors and aroma.
- Onion powder: same as garlic powder. I don’t usually cook with onion powder, but I always make sure that I have a small jar.
- Light brown sugar: I used dark brown sugar the first time, and the meat looked as if it was jerked (jerked turkey), as expected. The second time I used light brown sugar as recommended, the turkey had a nice golden brown color.
- Smoked paprika: a smoky flavor is always good in roast meat. This also added more color to the meat.
- A small handful of hardy herbs (such as sage, rosemary, bay leaves, and thyme) – do not substitute with dried herbs. You need the moisture and the fresh flavors.
- Garlic cloves: the recipe calls for 4 cloves. I used 6 garlic cloves instead because we love garlic at home. I prefer my turkey with a lot of seasoning.
- Strips of orange zest: I opted for 2 slices of orange peels instead. I did not think it made a difference.
- Low-sodium soy sauce: this is for the glaze. It will help with flavor and coloring. You can also use coconut aminos, a great substitution.
- Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar: I opted for red wine vinegar because that’s what I had in my pantry.
- Neutral oil (such as vegetable, peanut, or canola): I used olive oil the first time and vegetable oil the second time. The olive oil was much heavier and smoother than the vegetable oil.
Making the roast turkey recipe
I will not go into details about how the make the recipe, but instead, the benefits of trying the recipe and the challenges I encountered.
- Moist, flavorful and easy-to-follow cooking instructions.
- If you have a bad back, you need help in the kitchen. Lifting the baking sheet pan several times is not an easy task. You will probably have to baste the turkey 4 – 5 times.
- This recipe might be best for people with wall ovens.
- You need thick kitchen mittens so you don’t get burned.
- The amount of salt was a bit too much for me. I made it twice and reduced the salt by half because of the soy sauce. Even the low-sodium soy sauce does contain a lot of sodium – just my opinion. I also used sea salt instead of the salt listed on the recipe card below.
- Before making this roast turkey recipe, think about what you will do with the leftover turkey parts and the carcass. I created a new recipe with mine – a two-for-one recipe deal with my turkey. I will be sharing the recipe soon!
I’ll make this again! It’s a simple roast turkey recipe that tastes amazing and does not require hard-to-find ingredients. ! It’s all thanks to the delicious seasoning and spices blend, glazed and basted turkey. Add a few side dishes (Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Potatoes, Cucumber Salad, Rice) with this delicious roasted turkey and make it a complete meal.
Lastly, this is my personal experience and my own opinion.
- 1 12 –14-lb. turkey neck and giblets removed
- 2 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
- 2 Tbsp. whole pink or black peppercorns
- ½ cup Diamond Crystal or ¼ cup plus 1½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
GLAZE AND ASSEMBLY
- Small handful of hardy herbs such as sage, rosemary, bay leaves, and/or thyme
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 2 x1″ strips orange zest
- ⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 6 Tbsp. neutral oil such as vegetable, peanut, or canola
- Place turkey, breast side up, on a cutting board and pat dry. Grip a wing and pull it outward so you can see where it attaches to the body. Using a sharp boning or chef’s knife, cut through the joint to separate the wing from the breast (if you hit bone, you’re in the wrong spot; pull the wing out farther to help you get into the place where the joint meets the socket). Remove the wing; repeat on the other side.
- Cut through skin connecting 1 leg to carcass. Pull leg back until the ball joint pops out of its socket; cut through the joint to separate leg. Repeat on the other side.
- Now for the breast: Position the turkey breast side down with the opening facing you. Using kitchen shears, cut along one side of backbone until you get all the way through the neck end, then turn the turkey 180° and cut through the other side to remove the backbone (save it for making stock).
- Very finely grind black and pink peppercorns in a spice mill or mortar and pestle; transfer to a medium bowl. Add salt, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, and paprika and use your fingers to mix together.
- Place turkey pieces, skin side up, on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle salt mixture liberally all over turkey, patting to adhere. You may not need all of it, but it’s good to have extra since some will end up on the baking sheet. Chill bird, uncovered, at least 24 hours and up to 2 days.
GLAZE AND ASSEMBLY
- Remove turkey from wire rack and rinse baking sheet and rack if needed (turkey will most likely release some liquid). Line the baking sheet with 3 layers of foil to make cleanup easy and set the rack back inside. Arrange turkey pieces on the rack, skin side up, and let sit at room temperature 2–3 hours to help decrease the cooking time.
- Meanwhile, cook herbs, garlic, orange zest, soy sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and glaze thickens slightly (it should just barely coat a spoon), 10–12 minutes. Remove glaze from heat.
- Place a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 425°. Rub turkey with oil and pour 1 cup water into the baking sheet. Roast turkey, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until skin is mostly golden brown, 20–25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300° and continue to roast turkey, brushing with glaze every 20 minutes and adding more water by ½-cupfuls as needed to maintain some liquid in baking sheet, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast registers 150°, and 170° when inserted into the thickest part of the thighs, 50–70 minutes longer (total cooking time will be 1–1½ hours). Skin should be deep golden brown and shiny. Transfer turkey to a cutting board; tent loosely with foil. Let rest 30–60 minutes before carving.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.
Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.