3 Secrets of Moist and Perfect Turkey

The perfect turkey is deep brown on the outside and so flavorful and moist on the inside that every bite practically melts in your mouth. Follow our foolproof guide to delicious results every time.

(Image: Charity Curley Mathews, founder of Foodlets.com)

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Brine the Turkey in Advance

Brining the turkey ahead of time infuses it with moisture and flavor. Most brines include some combination of salt, chicken broth, bay leaves, pepper corns and sometimes something tangy like apple cider.

This classic combination is a good place to start.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 gallon vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Turkey roasting bag
(Image: Charity Curley Mathews, founder of Foodlets.com)

Put all your ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a simmer just long enough for the salt and sugar to melt completely, about 3 minutes, while stirring often. Allow to cool.

Place the plastic oven bag inside your roasting pan, leaving the opening wide. Set your thawed turkey inside the bag and pour the brine over the top. Close the bag.

(Image: Charity Curley Mathews, founder of Foodlets.com)

Refrigerate for AT LEAST overnight but up to 3 days, flipping the turkey every 12 hours.

Prep Your Turkey Inside and Out

Coating your bird's skin with oil or butter will create a gorgeous caramelized effect on the outside, while sealing the moisture and flavor inside. But don't stop there. Adding fresh produce to the cavity of a turkey also helps create savory juices.

Things You'll Need

  • Vegetable oil or butter 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Onion
  • Lemon
  • Fresh herbs: sage, thyme and rosemary 
(Image: Charity Curley Mathews, founder of Foodlets.com)

Brush the outside of the bird with either vegetable oil, olive oil or melted butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the inside of your turkey by also adding salt and pepper, then stuffing with an onion cut in quarters, a lemon cut in half, plus fresh sage, thyme and rosemary.

(Image: Charity Curley Mathews, founder of Foodlets.com)

Get the Time and Temperature Just Right

Things You'll Need

  • Roasting pan
  • Foil
  • Meat thermometer

For a turkey that looks fresh off the cover of a magazine, start at a high temperature and lower after the turkey becomes golden brown. Cook your glazed and stuffed turkey at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Once it's brown, turn the heat down to 350 degrees F. Cover the breast portion of your turkey with foil to prevent overcooking and roast for about another 2 hours until the internal temperature of your turkey reaches 165 degrees F.

Let your turkey rest under a blanket of aluminum foil for at least 15 minutes before carving.

(Image: Charity Curley Mathews, founder of Foodlets.com)


  • An average 14 to 16 pound bird should roast for a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours .

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