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Make ahead roasted turkey on a blue serving platter.

Make Ahead Roasted Turkey Recipe

Make Ahead Roasted Turkey for Thanksgiving or any feast is perfect when you’re pressed for time. With this technique, cooking turkey the day before, the week before, or even the month before— tastes delicious and freshly carved.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword gravy, turkey
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
cooling 30 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes
Servings 16 people
Calories 524kcal
Author Meggan Hill


For the Roasted Turkey:

  • 1 whole turkey 14-16 pounds
  • 2 teaspoon poultry seasoning (see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme minced, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary minced, or 1 teaspoon dried and crushed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

For serving:

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour


To make the Roasted Turkey:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place turkey on a rack inside a roasting pan, breast side up. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning and pepper. Tuck wings under turkey; tie drumsticks together.
  • Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes. In a 4-cup measuring cup, mix broth, herbs, lemon zest and juice, and garlic; pour over turkey. Roast, uncovered, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 170- 175°, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. 
  • While turkey is roasting, baste occasionally with broth mixture. Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly.
  • Remove turkey from pan; let stand at least 20 minutes before carving. Skim fat from cooking juices.

To freeze the Roasted Turkey:

  • Carve the turkey and place in shallow freezer containers. Pour cooking juices over turkey then let cool slightly, about one hour. Cover and freeze up to 3 months.

To Serve the Roasted Turkey:

  • Partially thaw out turkey in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer turkey and cooking juices to a baking dish.
  • Pour 1 1/2 cups broth over top. Bake, covered, until a thermometer inserted in the turkey reads 165 degrees, 50-60 minutes.
  • Remove turkey to a platter, reserving cooking juices, and keep warm. 
  • In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, stir in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in the cooking juices; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. 
    Serve gravy alongside turkey.


It's easy to make your own poultry seasoning: 
Store the remainder seasoning in an airtight jar and keep in pantry. 


Serving: 8ounces | Calories: 524kcal