This succulent roasted turkey is as simple to make as it is delicious to eat. A butter-saturated piece of cheesecloth draped over the bird eliminates the need for basting, while fresh herbs and aromatics impart flavor in every bite. A final blast of high heat toward the end of roasting ensures an extra-crisp golden exterior, making for an unforgettable holiday turkey.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have a large roasting pan with roasting rack ready.
- Pat the turkey thoroughly dry on all sides. Season liberally with salt and black pepper, to taste, taking care to season the outside as well as the internal cavity. Set the turkey on the roasting rack and tuck the wing tips underneath the legs.
- Place 2 tablespoons of softened butter in a small bowl and add the garlic powder and minced herbs. Stir to combine. With clean hands, rub the herb butter over the entire surface of the turkey and underneath the breast skin.
- Place the garlic, onion, lemon, and whole fresh herbs in the cavity of the turkey. Tie the legs securely together with a strand of kitchen twine. Pour 2 cups of chicken broth into the roasting pan.
- Place the remaining butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 to 40 seconds, or until melted.
- Take a piece of cheesecloth, roughly 14 by 18 inches, and submerge it in the melted butter, turning it to ensure the entire cloth is moistened. Drape the soaked cloth over the turkey like a blanket, leaving no part of the bird exposed.
- Carefully transfer the roasting pan to the lowest rack of the preheated oven. Roast the turkey for 2 to 2½ hours, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time, until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
- Carefully remove the cheesecloth from the turkey and discard it. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F. Continue roasting for 12 to 15 minutes, until the skin is browned and crispy and the thickest part of the breast reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Allow the turkey to rest in the rack for 30 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the turkey to a cutting board. Remove the aromatics from the internal cavity and discard. Carve as desired and serve.
Sara Mellas is a visual stylist and author of The Easy Baked Donut Cookbook and The One-Pot Casserole Cookbook. She’s also a TEDx speaker, former music director, and over-competitive baker, currently living in Nashville, TN with her two year-old oven.