This recipe yields a Thanksgiving turkey that is moist, delicious, and a perfect foil for inventive accompaniments, such as our Madeira-Truffle Butter, Multicultural Stuffing, and Rich Gravy recipes. Just garnish the bird with a few sprigs of fresh herbs before servings, and you've got the makings of a lovely holiday dinner.
Watch How to Carve a Turkey
What You Will Need
- 1 (12–14-lb.) turkey, kidneys discarded, giblets reserved for making <a href="https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Rich-Gravy">Rich/ Gravy</a> (optional)
- 2-3 1⁄2 tbsp. sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup <a href="https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Madeira-Truffle-Butter">Madeira-Truffle/ Butter</a> (optional)
- 4-5 cups <a href="https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Multicultural-Stuffing-">Multicultural/ Stuffing </a>
- 10 tbsp. butter, softened
Preheat oven to 450°. Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry. Trim off wing tips and set aside for making gravy, if you like. Season cavity with 1 tsp. of the paprika and salt and pepper to taste. If using Madeira–Truffle Butter, loosen skin from turkey breast by starting at body cavity end and sliding your hand under skin, being careful not to tear it, then rub butter under skin. Spoon Multicultural Stuffing into turkey and neck cavities. Set turkey aside.
Combine remaining paprika to taste and 3 tbsp. of the butter in a small bowl and set aside. Put two large sheets (about 4' long) of 18" heavy-duty foil on top of each other on a clean surface to form a cross and grease with remaining butter. Put turkey breast side up in center of foil, rub all over with the paprika butter, and generously season with salt and pepper. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Gather opposite ends of foil together and tightly crimp so that turkey is loosely but completely wrapped in foil with no holes for steam to escape. Put turkey on a rack set inside a heavy roasting pan.
Roast turkey for 2½ hours. Remove pan from oven, unwrap turkey, and transfer to a carving board. Pour turkey drippings from foil into a bowl and set aside for making Rich Gravy, if you like. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. Return turkey, breast side up, to pan and roast until skin is golden brown and internal temperature of thigh registers 175°-180° (tenting it with foil if it browns too quickly), about 30 minutes more. If temperature of stuffing is below 160°, transfer it to a baking dish and finish it in oven.
Transfer turkey to a carving board, loosely cover with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes and any pan juices to reserved drippings. Remove twine, transfer stuffing to a serving dish, and carve turkey.