Overnight Turkey

"The most moist, tender turkey I've ever cooked, and it's SO easy. This recipe, which I've been using for many years, was given to me by a friend."
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Ready In:
8hrs 20mins
1 turkey




  • SAFETY NOTE: This method is designed for turkeys cooked ONLY in heavy-duty roasters with roaster lids, such as the old blue enameled ones. This method is NOT designed for use with semi-translucent oven roasting bags, uncovered roasters, or turkeys covered with aluminum foil, as they may not retain a high enough heat for long enough to complete the cooking process.
  • Remove all internal organs from both ends of the turkey.
  • I usually cook these in a pot to make broth (strained, of course) for my dressing, discarding the organs after cooking. If you make giblet gravy, chop and include these cooked organs in your gravy.
  • Rinse and drain turkey. Spread seasonings of your choice all over the turkey, inside and out.
  • Put the onion, celery and garlic cloves inside the turkey, along with several bay leaves.
  • Place turkey, breast side up, in a HEAVY-DUTY roaster and cover with roaster lid.
  • Look on the outside of the bag in which you bought the turkey.
  • Find the baking chart and the size of your turkey.
  • Here is how to calculate the length of time to cook your turkey: Use the chart on the turkey bag, (using 13 lb. turkey as example).
  • If it says cook 4 hours at 325 degrees, DIVIDE THE RECOMMENDED COOKING TIME IN HALF (4/2=2 hours) and ADD 30 MINUTES.
  • Thus, the cooking time for this example would be 2-1/2 hours at THEIR recommended temperature of 325 degrees.
  • Cooking time for a larger turkey would be calculated in the same manner.
  • When cooking time is up, DO NOT open oven door.
  • No Peeking! This will lower the oven temperature.
  • Turn oven OFF and leave covered roaster in the oven until morning OR 6+ hours, removing roaster while it is still nice and warm.
  • When you open the roaster, the turkey will be falling off the bones, and ever sooo moist.
  • NOTE:If you have any question about the turkey reaching the safe internal temperature of 170 degrees, insert one of those new thermometers that let you put a temperature probe through the side of the oven door and into the turkey.
  • Set timer to alert you when it reaches 170 degrees.
  • My alert goes off every time, so I know this method is cooking the turkey safely.
  • NOTE: If you like an even moister turkey, soak it in a brine/buttermilk solution for several hours before roasting.
  • Or you can use an injector to inject liquid seasoned marinade into the turkey meat before cooking.
  • SAFETY NOTE: Once the turkey reaches room temperature, it should be served or refrigerated.

Questions & Replies

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  1. sissybel79
    This recipr worked wonders!! My turkey came out tender and literally falling off of the bone. Everyone loved it, I will prepare my turkey like this all the time now. Only one suggestion, add the time to put the turkey in the oven. I finished cooking mine at 3 in the morning and opened it up at 10 in the morning. Worked good for me (20lb. turkey).
  2. pattymarkie
    Great recipe and hard to find. I have been overnight cooking turkey for years and no one has gotten sick. Great moist and tender!!
  3. Barbara T.
    Ive been cooking my Turkey for years overnight. Igo 275 for all night in gas range . Never failed me yet. We eat at 3. Time for dessert after.
  4. kel3504
    I tried this with a 20lb. turkey. Very easy recipe, and tasted wonderful BUT.... WE HAD 10 SICK PEOPLE THAT EVENING. I used my electirc probe, never opened the door, but we got sick. I knew to be careful with this method of cooking, and should have followed my gut. (no pun intnended)
  5. Doglover61aka Earnh
    I've never tried this, but have read that, even if the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature while it's cooking, it should not be at room temperature that long after it's cooked. Just passing along what I read!!! Don't want anybody to get sick!!!


I am a retired computer programmer, teacher, and cookbook author. Hubby and I have a grown daughter & SIL, son & DIL and 2 grandgirls. My favorite hobbies: cooking, Silhouette crafting, sewing, embroidery and wearable art, quilting, genealogy research, reading,
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