Impress Your Friends With This Roasted Turkey Recipe Complete with The Best Turkey Stuffing All The Family Will Love
Ever wondered how to roast a turkey for your holiday gathering? Cooking the perfect roasted turkey can seem intimidating, especially for a first-timer. But do not fear and be prepared to wow family and friends with this easy and healthy roasted turkey recipe !
Before you take out that apron and cooking utensils, check these 5 things you need to know to make this possible and look forward to the many compliments you will receive. Importantly a few things up first:
1. Turkey size calculator – buy the right one
The first step to the perfect holiday feast is knowing what size you need for your roasted turkey. Buying too small of a turkey means your guests may go home hungry and buying too big of a turkey will be a waste of money that could lead to spoiled leftovers.
Thankfully, there’s a simple rule of thumb to estimate how much turkey to buy for your holiday roasted turkey recipe. Basically it’s one pound of turkey per adult guest and one-half pound per child. If you want leftovers or a little extra, then plan on one and one-half pounds per adult and three-quarter pounds per child.
But if you plan on getting turkeys smaller than 12 pounds, get a little more per person as smaller turkeys tend to have a smaller meat to bone ratio. You might consider getting closer to two pounds per adult of a smaller turkey.
And to make it simpler for you, Use the whole bird calculator below to figure out what size turkey you should buy.
2. How to Thaw a Turkey
Before you can turn a rock-hard frozen turkey into a dish to impress your guests, you’re going to have to thaw that big bird. You need to remember to keep the whole turkey at a safe temperature throughout the thawing process to prevent bacterial growth that can lead to food poisoning and other foodborne illness. Food safety when it comes to thawing turkey is important to emphasize. That's why you never thaw a frozen turkey at room temperature on your kitchen counter, or in hot water.
So for example, How long to thaw a 20 pound turkey for your holiday roasted turkey recipe?
More than the size, it actually depends on the method. You can either thaw your turkey in the refrigerator set at about 40° F.or submerging it in cold water (changing the water every 30 minutes).
According to the USDA, when thawing your turkey in the refrigerator set at about 40° F, you'll need to allow 24 hours for every four to five pounds. So to thaw a 20 pound turkey for your roasted turkey recipe, which can serve around 12 persons or 10 people with 4 kids; you will need 4-5 days. You can still hold the thawed turkey in the fridge for up to 48 hours or 2 days before roasting it.
But when thawing your turkey by submerging it in cold water allow about 30 minutes per pound. To translate it for 20pound turkey, that would be around 10 hours. And you need to make your roasted turkey immediately after thawing.
For easier reference on other sizes, you can check the table below.
3. Best Turkey Brine Recipe
Brining a Turkey is a game changer when it comes to creating a juicy and flavorful roasted turkey recipe. Because turkey is not a flavorful meat on its own, brining a turkey is a perfect solution to produce a flavorful and moist holiday meal. Brine is basically a salt water used to make meats not only taste better, but also more tender. Brining was originally used for food preservation in the era before refrigerators and other types of cold food storage.
However, you need to be careful with your turkey as it might be injected with any kind of solution. Some already brined, but you’re asking for them to turn out very salty. Make sure to check the label it hasn’t already been injected with any kind of sodium or saline solution before purchasing meat to brine.
We found this turkey brine recipe to be the EASIEST method for producing the most flavorful roasted turkey you have ever had yet with a healthier spin! With these step by step directions for how to brine a turkey, you will be a popular rock star at your holiday meal as you present the most flavorful yet healthiest roasted turkey recipe using this best turkey brine recipe.
- 4 quarts water
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 6 tbsp garlic, minced
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 cup Kosher salt
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
HOW TO MAKE A BEST TURKEY BRINE RECIPE
1. Combine salt, water, and peppercorns in a large pot over high heat
2. Bring to a boil and boil until salt is dissolved, stirring occasionally
3. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool
4. Combine the rest of the ingredients and stir
5. Transfer the mixture to a large sealable container
6. Simply take the turkey out of the packaging and place into the brine. Leave it to the heat of the cooking process to kill any bacteria present on the meat. You can choose to discard the innards or keep them for use in your stuffing, known as giblets.
7. Place turkey in brine and place into the refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours
Tip: If you’re planning on cook a large turkey, you should consider making sure you have enough ingredients on hand to double the recipe. This amount should work for most average sized turkeys.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BRINE A TURKEY?
As a general rule, brining meat takes about one hour per pound. Therefore, the exact time needed to brine a turkey will depend on how large of a turkey you are trying to brine. Do be careful, however, about brining your meat too long: Use the one hour per pound as a maximum. If you brine too long, you run the risk or making the meat too salty and/or breaking down the meat proteins too much.
4. Prepare This To-Die For Turkey Stuffing
Holiday dinner wouldn’t be complete without the tasty turkey stuffing. Most are tempted to skip this for health reasons. As most traditional turkey stuffing recipes contain fat drippings from the turkey and other high-calorie, high-fat ingredients, like oil. Also unlike pre-packed stuffing, making your turkey stuffing at home means that the calorie, fat, and sodium content will depend entirely on the recipe you use. But worry no more as this to-die for turkey stuffing is healthy to the core, using less fat and healthier ingredients.
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY TURKEY STUFFING
- 24 oz. cubed stuffing bread or frozen bread
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon sage
- Pepper to taste
- 1 cup milk
- 2/3 cup chopped onion
- 2/3 cup chopped celery with leaves
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Mix the butter, chicken broth, and spices. Put milk, onion, celery, and bread in a large bowl. Pour the butter, broth, and spice mixture over and lightly toss
- Bake in a 13 x 9 pan at 375 F for 20-40 minutes, depending on how dry you like your stuffing. Drizzle chicken broth as the stuffing cooks if desired.
5. How Long Should I Roast a 20-Pound Turkey?
You’ve got a beautifully prepped turkey—it was selected with care, brined the right way, and it's now ready to head into the oven—here’s how to make sure it bakes beautifully for a show-stopping Roasted Turkey spread with your roasted turkey recipe. But now, you are unsure about the cook time for your Holiday dinner centerpiece? Well, we've got answers.
The general rule for roasting a turkey is 20 minutes per pound, but that can vary depending on whether or not your turkey recipe calls for a stuffed or unstuffed bird. If you’re baking it at the lowest temperature the USDA recommends- 325°F, you’ll need to roast a 20-lb turkey in the oven for 4 to 5 hours if it’s unstuffed and 4 ¼ to 5 ¼ hours if it’s stuffed.
"The general rule for roasting a turkey is 20 minutes per pound, but that can vary depending on whether or not your turkey recipe calls for a stuffed or unstuffed bird. "
BUT you’ll still need to check on it periodically, and make sure to check that the internal temperature is at least 165°F using a meat thermometer (You can either buy one or borrow from a guest). After the first 45 minutes, flip the turkey onto its back and continue to baste and roast for about two to two and a half hours.
When the juices run clear, remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest 20 to 30 minutes before carving. If you're planning on making your own turkey gravy, be sure to set aside the roasting pan and reserve both the vegetables from inside the bird's cavity and the neck.
To avoid uneven baking, or drying out the breast meat, you can stick the darker meat portions of the turkey back into the oven after presenting and carving the bird, just to ensure optimal doneness.
PLUS— you can also use this homemade turkey gravy recipe to add extra tasty touch to your holiday spread. This turkey gravy recipe will become your ‘secret weapon’ this holiday season! It is so easy to prepare and the result is rich, flavorful gravy perfect over roast turkey. Be preapred to share your recipe soon.
Once you’ve roasted a turkey, those brown bits and drippings in the bottom of the roaster add a ton of flavor. You just can’t go wrong here simply strain your pan drippings and combine it with some butter, flour and some fresh herbs.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and boom! You are ready to impress your family and friends with your special and healthy holiday roasted turkey spread.
Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season!
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