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Roasted turkey on a platter with Thanksgiving trimmings

How to Cook A Turkey Perfectly (with gravy)

Want to learn how to cook a turkey perfectly and make the perfect gravy to match? This turkey is truly the best and uses specific techniques and ingredients to produce the greatest, juicy turkey your guests have ever had.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword how to brine a turkey, how to cook a. turkey, thanksgiving Turkey recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Brining and resting 13 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 12
Calories 653 kcal
Author Cheryl Malik


  • 1 1/2 cups table salt
  • 3 gallons water
  • 5 gallon plastic bucket
  • Large plastic brining bag
  • 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 6 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 1 12 pound thawed turkey
  • 4 tablespoons avocado oil
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups turkey stock



  1. The day before roasting, first thing in the morning, make your brine. Mix salt and water together until dissolved.
  2. Place the brining bag in the bucket and put the bird in breast-side down. Pour the brine into the bag, making sure the entire bird is covered-no naked bits. Zip the bag up, cover, and put it in the fridge. If you don't have space in your fridge, you can use a cooler.

  3. Refrigerate for 12 hours.
  4. Take the turkey out and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels, making sure to dry the inside of the cavity, too.


  1. Return to the refrigerator in a roasting pan and let air-dry overnight.


  1. The day of roasting, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Combine butter, garlic, and thyme in a bowl until soft.
  3. Carefully, using your fingers, peel the skin away from the turkey breast (you may have to break a membrane; that's OK) and rub the butter mixture under the skin.
  4. Truss the turkey.

  5. Rub the outside of the skin with the oil and season pepper. I know, I know; it's so hard not to sprinkle salt all over the skin at this point! But please, don't. Your bird is already plenty salty from the brine!

  6. Roast turkey breast down for 2 hours. After 2 hours, flip the turkey very carefully so that the breast side is up and return to the oven for 30 minutes to finish cooking and browning the skin on the breast.

  7. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with foil; let it rest for 20 minutes. Slice the turkey and serve hot.4


  1. While the turkey is resting, Put the roasting pan on a burner over low heat, sprinkle in the flour, and stir to incorporate any liquid in the pan.
  2. Gradually add the turkey stock, stirring constantly. Transfer the gravy into a small pot, and simmer over low heat until it has the preferred consistency.
  3. Add additional pepper to taste and strain the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve before serving.

Nutrition Facts
How to Cook A Turkey Perfectly (with gravy)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 653 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 274mg91%
Sodium 1715mg75%
Potassium 897mg26%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 78g156%
Vitamin A 597IU12%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 88mg9%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.