Total Time
2hrs 30mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs

I first tried this recipe for Thanksgiving this year, and may I assure you, the name is more than fitting! Tender, juicy, fragrant and, yes, perfect! I don't think I've ever smelled a more heavenly smell from my kitchen. I'm sure I'll be making this turkey recipe for my family's big holidays from now on.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  3. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out.
  6. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry.
  7. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan.
  8. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity.
  9. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion, and the garlic.
  10. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  11. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
  12. Roast the turkey at 350 F about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh.
  13. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 20 minutes.
  14. Slice the turkey and serve.


Most Helpful

This was a fantastic turkey! Really moist and flavorful. I roasted a 20 pounder so I shoved as much garlic, thyme, onion and lemon as I could get into the cavity. We use the drippings and some Wondra flour to make a really flavorful gravy as well. I did baste it a couple of times during the 3 hours I cooked it but it may not have even needed it. Rave reviews all around! Thank you for posting!

Lisa in Acworth, GA November 25, 2010

My boyfriend loves to cook and this Thanksgiving was his first time meeting my family and he wanted to make a good impression. We cooked this turkey together and it was completely amazing, moist and flavorful. My only recommendation would be peel the garlic cloves and place them whole inside the bird. A little more work than putting the halved head inside, but we thought it would add a bit more garlic flavor if they were peeled. We also basted the turkey with the sauce every 30 minutes to an hour. Do keep in mind that every time you open the oven door, you increase the cooking time. Otherwise, sheer perfection.

By the way, my parents loved him. ;)

UPDATE: It's been three years and we've made this turkey every year since then. No matter who I make it for, everyone says it's the best they've ever had. I've learned a few things over the years of making this bird. I recommend tying all the ingredients in a bag of cheesecloth and stuffing the bag inside the bird. That way you can just grab the knot and pull all the stuff out and toss it. Works much better than trying to fish out all the mushy bits. Also recommend laying a few layers of cheesecloth over the bird and basting on the top of the cheesecloth. This keeps the breast very moist and if you peel the cheesecloth off in the last 30 minutes, you'll still get that golden crust on top.

Oh yeah, one more thing...after that Thanksgiving in 2009, my boyfriend asked me to marry him. We've been happily married for 2 years now!

Faux Chef Lael December 18, 2012

I used this recipe for Thanksgiving this year. It was excellent...the turkey was very moist. Actually the moistest one I have ever made. Everyone raved about it. I believe this is a Barefoot Contessa recipe too. Roasted at 350. I used a 26 pound turkey :)

Irish350 November 29, 2009

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a