Easy Roast Turkey Recipe with Apple Cider and Thyme

An easy Roast Turkey recipe with Apple Cider and Thyme that’s a simple, foolproof method for roasting a juicy, deliciously flavored turkey for your feast.

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It’s simple, stress-free, and perfectly easy without a lot of ingredients or equipment needed.

This roasted turkey is one of the simplest, easiest recipes for making a delicious Thanksgiving turkey.

This means, there is no brining or stuffing. It’s a simple, roast turkey recipe that just works… every time.

And delicious? It’s a slow-roasted turkey basted in juices packed with autumn flavors of apple cider, juicy apples, and fresh herbs.

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Easy Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving turkeys tend to stress home cooks. After all, it’s the centerpiece of the meal, the crowning achievement of the feast.

But honestly, it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it isn’t difficult at all. It’s simple and easy to make a stunning bird for your Thanksgiving or holiday feast.

The key to a delicious roasted turkey is to not overcook it. It’s that simple.

Roast Turkey Recipe with Apple and Thyme

There is no brining with this turkey recipe. I do baste the turkey a few times for delicious flavor and beautiful, rich skin.

I also tie the turkey legs together. And if that seems stressful, let me show you how easy it is.

How to Truss a Thanksgiving Turkey

Here is a simple way to truss a turkey. Simply tuck the turkey wings under the body of the turkey to provide stability and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.

Here’s how to easily truss a turkey:

Roast Turkey FAQs:

What size turkey do I need?

Plan on 1 to 1½ pounds of turkey per person. This means that if you’re serving 8 people, plan on a 12-pound turkey. If you love leftovers, you might want to consider a slightly larger turkey.

How to Thaw a Turkey

Place the frozen turkey in its original wrapper in a container to catch any juices. (I use a foil roasting pan easily found at the market). Thaw in the refrigerator, 24 hours for every 5 pounds. My refrigerator tends to run cold so I always add an extra day to that time for thawing.

Should You Rinse a Raw Turkey?

The USDA recommends that turkeys should not be rinsed. They say rinsing a turkey can spread poultry juices and contaminate kitchen surfaces, utensils, and other foods.

How long should a turkey roast?

At 325 degrees F, a turkey should cook about 15 minutes per pound. Consult the Turkey Roasting Time Chart for approximate cooking times per pound.

How to Tell if the Roast Turkey is Done

The only accurate way to really tell if the turkey is done is by using a thermometer. The turkey must reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and breast.

See our guide of 15 Thanksgiving Kitchen Essential Tools.

Resting the Turkey

It’s important to let the turkey rest for 20 to 30 minutes after being removed from the oven and before carving the turkey.

Easy Roast Turkey Ingredients

Specific measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. This is a summary of the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Fresh or frozen turkey (12 to 20 pounds)
  • Olive oil
  • Medium onion
  • Apple (plus more for garnish)
  • Celery
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh herbs like (sage, parsley, and rosemary)
  • salt and pepper
  • Apple cider
Uncooked raw turkey in roasting pan

How to Make an Easy Roast Turkeky

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. and adjust the oven rack so that the turkey will roast in the center of the oven. If using a frozen turkey, see NOTES on safely thawing turkey below.

Step 1: Prepare the Turkey

Remove thawed turkey from its original wrapping and discard. Then remove the neck and giblets from the inside cavities of the bird. Reserve them for making gravy if desired. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and discard.

Season the turkey cavity with salt and pepper and stuff it with the onion, celery, apple, and herbs. Tuck the wings underneath the turkey and tie the legs together using kitchen twine.

Transfer the turkey to a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Pour 4 cups of apple cider into the base of the roasting pan plus water to reach 1/4 inch depth.

Step 2: Roast the Turkey

Place the turkey in the oven and roast at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Baste the turkey with pan juices every hour or so until cooked through. At 325 degrees, the turkey should cook about 15 minutes per pound. It should reach an internal minimum temperature of 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.

Cover the breast with foil as needed to prevent over-browning and overcooking.

Step 3: Rest the Turkey

Remove the turkey from the oven and cover it loosely with a tent of foil. Let rest 30 minutes before carving.

Reserve any drippings in your roasting pan for gravy.

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Roast Turkey for Serving
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Easy Roast Turkey Recipe with Apple Cider and Thyme

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

An easy Roast Turkey recipe with Apple Cider and Thyme that's a simple, foolproof method for roasting a juicy, deliciously flavored turkey for your feast.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 to 20 pound) turkey
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch of fresh herbs like: (parsley, sage, and rosemary)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups apple cider

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. and adjust the oven rack so that the turkey will roast in the center of the oven. If using a frozen turkey, see NOTES on safely thawing turkey below.

  2. Remove thawed turkey from its original wrapping and discard. Then remove the neck and giblets from the inside cavities of the bird. Reserve them for making gravy if desired. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and discard.

  3. Season the turkey cavity with salt and pepper and stuff it with the onion, celery, apple, and herbs. Tuck the wings underneath the turkey and tie the legs together using kitchen twine. Transfer the turkey to a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Pour 4 cups of apple cider into the base of the roasting pan plus water to reach 1/4 inch depth.

  4. Place the turkey in the oven and roast at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Baste the turkey with pan juices every 30 minutes until cooked through. At 325 degrees, the turkey should cook about 15 minutes per pound. It should reach an internal minimum temperature of 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh. Cover the breast with foil as needed to prevent over-browning and overcooking.

  5. Remove the turkey from the oven and cover it loosely with a tent of foil. Let rest 30 minutes before carving.

  6. Reserve any drippings in your roasting pan for gravy.

Notes

Frozen Turkeys:

Place the frozen turkey in its original wrapper in a container to catch any juices. (I use a foil roasting pan easily found at the market). Thaw in the refrigerator, 24 hours for every 5 pounds. My refrigerator tends to run cold so I always add an extra day to that time for thawing.

Essential Thanksgiving Kitchen Tools:

See our complete list of essential tools for Thanksgiving!

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