We all remember that one year that the Thanksgiving turkey was just perfect. You know which turkey we’re talking about - that crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, fall-off-the-bone turkey that was just brimming with flavor. Everyone went home that one fateful Thanksgiving talking about it, and it’s been a legend ever since. Was it a fluke? Maybe. But it doesn’t have to be! We’ve found the perfect turkey day recipe, sure to guarantee the perfect turkey year after year.

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If you become the designated turkey maker in your family after this, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Here are 7 simple steps to the perfect turkey.

Step 1: Defrost it

First thing’s first. If your turkey is frozen, let it defrost completely. Place it in the fridge and let it defrost in its packaging 2-3 days before T-Day. The day of, take it out of the fridge in the morning so it’s room temperature.

Step 2: Clean it

When you’re ready to begin the turkey prepping, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. While it’s heating up, remove the neck and giblets from your turkey. We always encourage zero-waste cooking, so we recommend saving these flavor-packed bits for soup or gravy. Give your turkey a quick rinse, pluck out any lone feathers, and pat it dry.

Step 3: Stuff it

Here’s where the fun begins! Stuff the cavity with olive oil coated garlic heads, herbs, onions, apples, lemons… Feel free to get creative here! 

*Pro-tip: DO NOT stuff the cavity with stuffing. We strongly recommend making the stuffing dish separate, so it doesn’t soak up the juices of the turkey. Also, the stuffing is likely to be crispier when making separate. 

Step 4: Prep it

Line a large baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Douse rustically cut veggies with olive oil and salt (onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, and celery work well) and layer on the baking ban.

Tie the legs of the turkey together and tuck the wings underneath. Place your turkey on top of the bed of veggies.

Step 5: Slather it

Again, let your creativity “fly” here! Slather your turkey with an herb olive oil mix. We recommend whisking together olive oil, chopped garlic, herbs of choice, lemon, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Optionally, you can also blend these ingredients in your blender. 

Once the sauce is to your liking, slather that fragrant goodness onto your turkey! Make sure you really get everywhere - in the cavity and in between the nooks and crannies. 

Step 6: Cook it 

It’s game time! Throw that beauty into your preheated oven, averaging around 14 minutes per pound. When it’s about halfway done and the skin is a golden crispy brown, cover the top with tin foil to prevent the top meat from drying out.

How do you know it’s done? Check with your meat thermometer that the inside temp is approximately 165 degrees F

Step 7: Rest, carve and serve it!

Let that beauty take a siesta for 20-30 minutes before cutting into it. Then carve, serve, and eat!

...and repeat next Thanksgiving!

Have any additional tips for making the perfect Thanksgiving turkey? Share in the comments!

Recipe inspo from Tastes Better from Scratch and Cafe Delites.