How to Make the Most Delicious Turkey Ever - by Elise Bauer

sparkle sparkle

Want more from Genius Kitchen?

Watch on your Apple TV, Roku, or Fire TV and your iOS, Fire, or Android device.

Learn More
“This recipe is from an email from Ron at the website. The main source for this recipe can be found at Here is what Elise has to say: "My mom's turkey is unlike others. The breast meat isn't dried out, requiring cupfuls of gravy to taste good, but moist and flavorful. I've been watching her make our family turkey for years. Finally a few years ago she let me make it, giving instructions the entire time. Mom's method is to buy the best quality turkey available (organic, free-range, etc.) and cook it breast-side down. She also cooks the turkey stuffing separately, not in the cavity, which makes it easier to cook the turkey more evenly."”
4hrs 30mins
1 large turkey

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Bring turkey to room temperature before cooking. Keep it in its plastic wrapping until you are ready to cook it. While you are bringing it to room temperature, have it resting in a pan, so that if the plastic covering leaks for any reason, the juices will remain in the pan. If you get a frozen turkey, you will need to defrost it in the refrigerator for several days first.
  2. Remove the neck and giblets (heart, gizzard, liver). Use the heart and gizzard for making stock for the stuffing. The neck can be cooked along side the turkey or saved for turkey soup.
  3. Note that if your turkey comes with a plastic piece holding the legs together, check the instructions on the turkey's package. Most likely you do not need to remove those plastic ties for cooking (unless you plan to cook your turkey at a very high temperature). If you remove the plastic ties, you will need to use kitchen string to tie the legs together.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Wash out the turkey with water. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Lather the inside of the cavity with the juice of half a lemon. Take a small handful of salt and rub all over the inside of the turkey.
  6. For flavor, put in inside the turkey a half a yellow onion, peeled and quartered, a bunch of parsley, a couple of carrots, and some tops and bottoms of celery. You may need to cap the body cavity with some aluminum foil so that the stuffing doesn't easily fall out. Close up the turkey cavity with either string or metal skewers. Make sure that the turkey's legs are tied together, held close to the body, and tie a string around the turkey body to hold the wings in close.
  7. Rub either melted butter or olive oil all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle salt generously all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle pepper over the turkey.
  8. Place turkey BREAST SIDE DOWN on the bottom of a rack over a sturdy roasting pan big enough to catch all the drippings. This is the main difference. Cooking the turkey breast down means the skin over the breast will not get so brown. However, all of the juices from the cooking turkey will fall down into the breast while cooking.
  9. Add several sprigs of fresh (if possible) thyme and rosemary to the outside of the turkey.
  10. Put the turkey in the oven. Check the cooking directions on the turkey packaging.
  11. Start taking temperature readings with a meat thermometer, inserted deep into the thickest part of the turkey breast and thigh, a half hour before the turkey should be done. The dark meat in the thigh should be about 175°F The white meat in the breast should be 160 F to 165°F The turkey juices should be clear, not pink.
  12. Once you remove the turkey from the oven, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Turn the turkey breast side up to carve it.

Watch more

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a