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Grandma's Favorite Roast Turkey

This Roast Turkey recipe will leave you stuffed after your Thanksgiving dinner. With only two ingredients, this Thanksgiving dinner recipe is a great addition to any table.


If you're looking for a new way to prepare your Thanksgiving bird, check out The Top 41 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes for more great ideas!


  • (17-20 lb) turkey
  • Butter, margarine, or olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Line a large pan with foil, or use foil roasting pan. A commercial full-pan works great.
  3. Remove neck & giblets from turkey. Remove pop-up thermometer if present.
  4. Clean pinfeathers and any excess tissue from inside bird.
  5. If a plastic clip is used for legs, remove it, and cut off tail of turkey.
  6. If a metal clip is used for legs, you can leave it in place, and use it later to secure the legs.
  7. Rinse thawed turkey with cold water, inside and out.
  8. Pat turkey dry with clean white towels.
  9. Lay a long strip of heavy duty aluminum foil on counter.
  10. Strip should be long enough to go around turkey front to back, and overlap some.
  11. It is best to use at least 18" foil for this, 24" is better if you have it.
  12. Tear small pieces of foil to cover wing tips, and set aside. Grease the foil with butter, margarine, or olive oil.
  13. Rub turkey inside and out with butter or margarine, or olive oil. It helps if the butter is slightly softened by leaving out of the refrigerator for a while.
  14. Leave a little extra in the leg joint area. Note that you can use a garlic butter, or herb butter if you like. It adds a great flavor.
  15. Slide fingers under skin of breast, and place a small pat of butter or margarine on either side of breastbone.
  16. Take about 1/3 - 1/2 stick of butter or margarine, and make a flattened ball. Place on top of turkey breast area, and place square of foil over it. The foil square should cover most of the breast area.
  17. Mold the foil to the turkey. Cover wing tips with foil. You can stuff the bird at this point if you like. Never put warm stuffing in a cold bird.
  18. Re-clip legs if metal clip is used.
  19. Tie legs, or sew bird shut as you prefer.
  20. Place turkey on greased foil sheet. Fold foil over the top of the turkey, from both ends.
  21. Tuck side tops into side bottoms, and crimp. Tear another sheet of foil, about the same length.
  22. Rotate turkey 90 degrees, and wrap from side to side. Crimp the foil. Use 5 or 6 layers of foil.
  23. When you are done wrapping, you should have a tightly wrapped foil "football", roughly the shape of a turkey. Be sure to crimp and mold each layer of foil.
  24. Place in pan, and in oven.
  25. Cook 3 1/2 hours at 475 degrees. If you start with a mostly-frozen turkey, cook for 4 hours.
  26. After cooking time has elapsed, remove from oven, strip back foil layers, and check leg joint for doneness. Any juices should run clear.
  27. If the turkey is not browned enough for you, leave foil open, baste, and place back in oven at about 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or so. Watch turkey to avoid burning.
  28. When you strip the foil, have a turkey baster and a large pan available. You will recover up to a quart of turkey broth from the foil. This makes excellent gravy.
  29. To serve, remove from foil layers and pan, and place on a large platter for carving. The legs and wings may fall off if it is very very done. It will still be moist. Note that if you stuff the turkey, the dressing will be very moist.
  30. If you like, mix your dressing a little dry to compensate.

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