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Traditional Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy

This Traditional Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy is the perfect main dish for your holiday dinner!

I look forward to Thanksgiving every year, as we gather together with our family.  I have always loved the tradition of Thanksgiving, and it makes me happy to carry on the tradition with my own family.  Now that my kids are older, they really appreciate the meaning of this holiday, and Thanksgiving dinner especially, has become really important to them.  I hope they remember that when they are looking after their own families one day…and they better invite me. 😉 And I hope there’s a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Traditional Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme Whipped Butter

My favourite turkey is a simple and classic roast turkey with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.  Did you sing that last part?  I did.  It just as to be done when those herbs are paired together…I can’t even help it. haha  But really, they are the best herbs with roast turkey, especially when they’re mixed into a whipped butter.

Traditional Roast Turkey with Herb Butter

I mix the herbs up into 3/4 cup of butter and smother my turkey with it before I put it in the oven.  And the results are a delicious golden turkey, with the most amazing pan drippings.  Gravy made with butter and turkey pan drippings is THE BEST.

Traditional Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy

But seriously, look how nice the turkey comes out…all golden and scrumptious.  I have never had more golden turkeys than I do when I smother them with butter.  We can’t wait to dig in.

Traditional Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy

How to Carve the Turkey

Nothing left to do but carve it up. I like our turkey carved in a more non-traditional way.  Years ago I watched a Jamie Oliver Christmas special, and the way he carved his turkey blew my mind.  Instead of slicing and carving the turkey, he kind of just chops right into it, and I LOVE it.  We remove the wings and drumsticks, then the turkey breast.  Then we cut the turkey breast into chunks instead of slices.  I don’t even know what it is that I like about doing it this way, but I just do.  Actually, I feel like it keeps the meat more moist and delicious.

Traditional Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy

And it looks kind of nice too…rustic almost.  Yum.

Traditional Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy

The BEST Roast Turkey Recipe!

So if you’re looking for a delicious and moist roast turkey recipe, this is it.  Don’t be afraid to roast turkey, it’s easy and the results are so worth it!  I hope you enjoy this recipe. Now let’s set the table, gather with our loved ones this Thanksgiving, hug each other and and be grateful for all that we have in these uncertain times.  Much love, and Happy Thanksgiving to you.  xo

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Traditional Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy

  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 180 minutes
  • Total Time: 195 minutes
  • Yield: 8 people 1x


This Traditional Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy is the perfect main dish for your holiday dinner!


  • 112 to 14 lb turkey (thawed)

Herb Butter:

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • salt & fresh ground pepper

Pan Gravy:

  • pan drippings
  • 1/41/3 cup flour
  • salt (if necessary)
  • pepper
  • extra chicken broth (if there aren’t enough pan drippings)


  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.

Prepare your turkey:

  1. Prepare your turkey. Remove the neck and giblets, rinse, pat dry and place in a roasting pan.
  2. Make sure the skin from the neck of the turkey fully covers the back portion of the turkey, and that the legs and wings are tucked in.

Making the herb butter:

  1. Using a mixer, whip the 3/4 cup butter.
  2. Add the fresh chopped parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and salt & pepper. Mix well.

Get ready to roast:

  1. Warm up the butter/herb mix, just slightly. I put it in the microwave for 8 seconds…it’s just enough to soften the butter mix so you can rub it on the turkey.
  2. Rub the turkey with the butter and herb mix, making sure to butter all of the turkey (the breast, wings and legs).
  3. Place the turkey into the oven and immediately TURN DOWN the heat to 350 degrees.
  4. Roast for 35 – 40 minutes per 2 lbs, so a turkey of this size will need to roast for approximately 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
  5. The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 – 170 degrees F.
  6. When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven, and place it on a large plate (keep the pan drippings!), then cover it in tin foil and let rest about 15 – 30 minutes, and make your gravy.

Making the pan gravy:

  1. Take the pan drippings and pour them into a saucepan or large skillet. You should have about about 2 cups of drippings. If you don’t, you can use extra chicken broth.
  2. Keep the stovetop heat at medium.
  3. Whisk in about 1/4 cup of flour while the gravy boils. Whisk until smooth.
  4. If the gravy separates, add more chicken broth and flour and whisk until smooth.
  5. Tip: If you would like your gravy nice and smooth, you can use a hand blender.
  6. Taste the gravy then salt and pepper to your taste preference.

Keywords: Christmas turkey, how to cook a turkey, roast turkey, Thanksgiving turkey

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

More Thanksgiving Menu Ideas:

A Downloadable Thanksgiving Menu (with links)

5 Tips for Thanksgiving Prep and Planning!

  1. For extra-crispy skin:  Unwrap your turkey the day before you are planning to cook it and leave it in the fridge overnight. The extra drying time will add the perfect crispness to your turkey.
  2. Keep it simple:  Shave hours off of your prep time by going to your market salad bar to stock up on sides and salads.
  3. Use your slow cooker for side dishes!  Keep your oven free for the main dish. Use a slow cooker to prepare a side dish like mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole, and keep it warm so it’s ready to serve.
  4. Invest in a good meat thermometer.  Make sure you use a good quality meat thermometer to ensure you cook your turkey to the perfect doneness without overcooking.
  5. Consider cooking your turkey in parts:  Separate your turkey into the breasts, thighs and drums for a quicker, foolproof way to get the meat cooked perfectly.

Happy Thanksgiving to you.  xo

Disclosure:  I partnered with Canadian Turkey to bring you a delicious roasted turkey recipe just in time for the holidays!  I was compensated for my time, but the recipe, all thoughts and opinions are my own as always!  We really love turkey.

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  • Reply
    October 5, 2017 at 11:37 AM

    I haven’t even bought my turkey yet!

  • Reply
    October 6, 2018 at 10:44 AM

    Hi Jo-Anna! I followed your instructions last year and it was AMAZING! I’m back again to follow your instructions, but I’m wondering if there is anything I need to change or consider if my turkey is a whopping 22 pounds? Eek!!

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      October 6, 2018 at 7:40 PM

      Hi Krista! I just checked the Canadian Turkey website, and for a turkey that size you should cook it like this:
      For a turkey that is 20 – 24 lbs cook it for 4 ¾ – 5 ½ hours if it’s stuffed, or 4 – 5 hours if it’s unstuffed. You might need to double the herb butter too. Good luck! And Happy Thanksgiving!

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