How Do I Cook a Turkey – A Gluten Free Roast Turkey Recipe

How Do I Cook a Turkey - A Gluten-Free Roast Turkey Recipe

Every November, when the turkey prices are rock bottom, I stock up on a few whole turkeys.  One is for thanksgiving, one for Christmas, and then one or two are for my freezer stash, to be eaten in the spring.

Roast Turkey is perfect for our family of six – there’s always enough meat to go around, plus some for left overs. But, my husband isn’t a huge fan of over-cooked dried out roast turkey. I doubt anyone is.

Over the years I’ve developed our own family roast turkey recipe. It’s self-basting, gluten-free, and moist. Plus it’s fun to make.

Frozen turkeys need a couple days in the refrigerator to thaw out. If you don’t have enough time to thaw out a turkey, be sure to buy a fresh turkey instead, or be prepared to cook it frozen for much longer.  We usually put ours in the refrigerator 2-3 days in advance of when we start preparing it.

Because a good roast turkey takes hours to slow cook, we usually begin our preparations the night before we want to eat it, that way we can either cook it slowly over night or can put it straight in the oven when we get up in the morning.

After setting the oven to pre-heat to 325 degrees F, the first step is to prepare the vegetable stuffing. We actually don’t eat this stuffing, instead it’s used to add flavor to both the turkey and the broth that we eventually use for gravy.

Gluten-Free Vegetable Stuffing

  • 2-3 whole carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion or 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 large Apple or 2 medium apples, roughly chopped  (I usually use Braeburn, Gala, or HoneyCrisp apples)
  • 2 T garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 T coarse sea salt

Hand mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Preparing the Turkey

Once the turkey is mostly de-frosted and the stuffing is ready, it’s time to prepare the turkey – but first, wash your hands! For food safety, be overly cautious and always wash your hands before and after handling raw poultry – yep, that includes the turkey. :)

Once your hands are clean, it’s time to remove the neck and the giblets from the inside of the turkey. Also I usually toss the gravy packet that comes with the turkey, cuz we much prefer our homemade turkey gravy.

Place the turkey in the roasting pan and pat it down with paper towels or napkins. Everyone always has their preference on whether to roast a turkey breast up or breast down. Personally, we like really moist breast meat, so we usually roast with the turkey breast down, marinating in the broth.  Either way works.

Kgirl Basting the TurkeyNext stuff all open cavities with the prepared vegetable stuffing. When I mean stuff, I mean STUFF – to the brim, full and crammed.

Any left over vegetables simply sprinkle around the turkey in the roasting pan. These will make the broth much more flavorful and delicious.

Basting the Turkey

Next, it’s time to prepare the basting seasonings. In a small bowl, mix the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 T of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of dried Thyme
  • 1 T of fresh garlic, minced

With a pastry brush, paint the basting seasonings all over every bit of exposed turkey skin.  The oil will help seal in the juices, so be sure to cover it well.

Cooking the Turkey

Now that the turkey is stuffed and basted, and the oven is pre-heated to 325 degrees F, it’s time to seal it up, so it becomes self-basting.  Using aluminum foil, completely cover the turkey. If your foil isn’t big enough, fold the edges of two pieces together a few times to create a larger piece that doesn’t break apart.

Cinch the edges of the foil good around the roasting pan.  We want all the steam and juices to stay within the roasting pan and aluminum foil tent while it’s cooking. That’s what makes a difference in how moist it will be in the end.

Once you have it wrapped, either store the turkey in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook it, or place it directly in the oven and begin cooking.

How Long to Cook the Turkey

Usually I use the USDA recommended cooking times as a guide on when to check the turkey. Because I don’t like to break the seal on my self-basting turkey, I never check it before the minimum recommending cooking time is up.

USDA Recommended Cooking Times for Roast Turkey

The general rule of thumb is to cook the turkey until you have an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F.  Generally, our turkeys are moist and beginning to fall off the bone by the time we pull them out.

Be careful when pulling your turkey out of then oven, the juices will be hot and sloshing around in the roasting pan. After I drain off part of the juices (not all) for gravy, I like to wrap the hot turkey in towels on a spare counter and let it sit and cool just a little bit before serving, while I’m off making turkey gravy.

This turkey recipe won’t give you the carmelized brown skin of many roast turkey recipes, but it will give you moist, delicious turkey meat and yummy broth for gravy.


This posted is linked up with Home to 4 Kiddos Try a New Recipe Tuesday and Real Food Holiday Recipe Link-Up

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3 Responses to How Do I Cook a Turkey – A Gluten Free Roast Turkey Recipe

  1. Our favorite way is to fry it! Yummy! We have two ready to fry this Thanksgiving. We actually want leftovers, but never have them! Also, here is another way to cook a turkey that keeps it juicy!

  2. Shannon says:

    Oh we loved your Fried Turkey last year! It was the first time we had ever tried it. I’ve never tried the grilled method, but I know anything you cook is delicious! :)

  3. Lisa says:

    This looks delicious! Thanks so much for linking up with “Try a New Recipe Tuesday!” I hope you will be able to join us again this week. :-)

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