Morton Thompson Turkey

"A family tradtiion since 2005! In my opinion, there is no other way to make a turkey or dressing. It is labor intensive with a very long list of ingredients but well worth the effort. If you allow your husband to take on this task, it's not labor intensive at all. Just ask me! Per Morton himself, "It will appear as though the turkey is blackened, but don't let that scare you. Simply peel away the "crust/skin" that appears to be overdone." This is INCREDIBLE and very moist. ENJOY! Baking times will vary depending on the weight of the bird. 1/2013 During a discussion in the Q&A thread it was brought to my attention that perhaps 2 egg yolks was not correct. I did some googling and found that recipes can vary using anywhere from 2-12 egg yolks. See this thread if you have questions: I have been using 2 egg yolks for years and it works well."
photo by Chicagoland Chef du photo by Chicagoland Chef du
photo by Chicagoland Chef du
photo by Chicagoland Chef du photo by Chicagoland Chef du
Ready In:
5hrs 30mins




  • Preheat oven to 500°F.
  • Chop fine the reserved turkey fat.
  • In a small saucepan set over moderate heat, combine the reserved fat with 1/2 cup of the water; bring to a boil and simmer until all the water has evaporated and only clear fat and small pieces of solid remain.
  • Reserve fat for stuffing.
  • Season the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper.
  • Rub the skin all over with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Prepare the giblets for the basting liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer the entire time you for basting. Add more water as needed.
  • Meat Mixture: melt butter & brown veal, pork; cool and add to bread crumbs, combine > (bowl #3).
  • Make the DRESSING:

  • Prep Bowl of Fruits : Combine all ingredients noted above for dressing.
  • Prep Bowl of Seasonings : Combine all ingredients noted above.
  • Prep Bowl of Breadcrumbs and COOKED meat mixture.
  • In a VERY large bowl combine ingredients from all three bowls listed above.
  • Mix it well. (As Morten said, "Mix it with your hands. Mix it until your forearms and wrists ache. Then mix it some more. Now toss it enough so that it isn't any longer a doughy mass.").
  • Loosely stuff the turkey.
  • Stuff the neck cavity and sew closed the openings.
  • Tie legs together.
  • In a separate bowl: Make the PASTE with ingredients listed above. Combine all ingredients for paste in a bowl, adding enough flour to form a thick paste.
  • In a large open roasting pan with a rack: Arrange turkey breast side down on a rack sitting in a shallow roasting pan.
  • NOTE: Continually add water to the bottom of roasting pan so drips do not smoke and set off your smoke alarm! I don't think Morton had to worry about that, but we sure have have to!
  • Preheat oven to 500°.
  • Put the turkey in the oven and roast it for 15 minutes, or until browned.
  • Turn it breast side up and roast for and additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
  • Now that it's nice and brown, using a pastry or paint brush coat the turkey completely with the paste -- in every nook and cranny.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  • To the simmering basting liquid, continue to add cider and water and reduce until all cider has been added. Remove from heat but keep warm on top of stove. *This is your basting liquid.
  • Roast the bird, basting it frequently, (the original recipe says every 15 minutes) for 4 1/2 to 5 hours, or until an instant meat thermometer reads 180 to 185 in the thigh; 170 in the breast and 160 in the stuffing.
  • Let rest at least 15 to 20 minutes, before peeling away crust/skin.
  • Make gravy as usual.
  • Remove the dressing.
  • Carve as usual & enjoy!

Questions & Replies

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  1. jbauman101
    This has been a tradition in my family since 1946. My mother discovered this recipe at the end of a short story in a book that she was editing for the GI's in WWII. The story was "Joe the Wounded Tennis Player," but the recipe was a non sequitor that was probably taken from his father's chef from the Saratoga Inn. My father thought it was a joke. But my mother claims that the second thing they did after he returned from Europe, was to go to Macy's to buy the ingredients for the stuffing. As a side note, this was the turkey that the Guthries: Arlo, Joady, Nora, and their mother, Marjorie, had at our house in Stockbridge, MA, on Thanksgiving in 1960. I've never tasted a turkey that came close to this one. It's simply the best and worth the effort.
  2. Ann M.
    I love this recipe! My mom began making this recipe some time in the 1970's when it was harder to get some of the ingredients. It was our family's "secret recipe" and now I make it every year at least for Thanksgiving - sometimes again in December. Kathleen is correct - the paste needs to be at least quadrupled but don't add cider or water to the paste or it will be way too runny. Mom never put in the caraway. Im not a dried parsley fan - the turkey will not miss either ingredient - there is a little flexibility built in. Take Morton Thompson's advice and have a cocktail while cooking! You might need it when it comes time to turn the turkey over! 5 STARS
  3. janice b.
    My family has been making this recipie since 1957 when it was printed in the Toronto Star newspaper. We now have our 4th generation involved in the preparation. It has become a long-standing tradition which everyone enjoys. This recipe is labour intensive but Christmas wouldn't be the same without everyone gathered in the kitchen to help prepare this amazing bird!
  4. kathleen.m.finn_636
    I made this and wrote a detailed review with the issues I encountered that has not been posted yet. In addition, I believe the paste recipe is wrong (definitely not enough to cover a large bird.) <br/><br/>Here is the paste recipe from another website which is much more reasonable:<br/>12 egg yolks <br/>2 tablespoons of Colman's mustard<br/>6 cloves garlic, minced <br/>6 tablespoons onion juice <br/>1 tablespoon salt <br/>3/4 teaspoon Cayenne, or to taste <br/>2 tablespoons lemon juice <br/>1 cup sifted all-purpose flour, or enough to make a paste <br/>3 cups cider <br/>1 cup water
  5. SheCooksToConquer
    Well, Bless You for posting this and saving me the trouble! I have had Thompson turkeys for years, and it is absolutely the most incredible way to make turkey. (Some years, we've just made his stuffing, but you really need to do the whole thing for the perfect taste.) And remember, as Thompson said, "You don't need to be a carver; just speak harshly to this turkey and it will fall from the bone." If there were 20 star ratings, this would get one. It is very labor-intensive, but absolutely worth the trouble. Your Thanksgiving guests will NEVER forget the Thompson turkey you serve them.


Hi there! Originally CHICAGOLAND CHEF DU JOUR, I like to think of myself as a fantastic home cook with a flair for the gourmet. I have gotten & shared many recipes since I became a member in 2007. Although I have not been active in a few years, I still return to look for recipes from some of my fave chefs. Thanks to all you have helped me over the years and thanks a bunch to any and all reviews.
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