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

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

Every year my friends get together before Thanksgiving and have a pre-Thanksgiving dinner party. This year I was assigned the Turkey. Having never cooked a turkey I was rather nervous but this recipe exceeded all my expectations. My turkey turned out so moist and flavorful and it was so easy. Everyone claimed it was the best turkey they have ever had. The recipe doesnt specify cooking times or temps. I cooked a 24 lb. turkey for 30 minutes at 425 and then turned the oven down to 350 and cooked it for 6 hours or 15 minutes per pound. I also loosely tented it with aluminum foil after the initial 30 minutes and as the name suggests it turned out perfect. I will definately use this recipe again!

marieeve421 November 25, 2009