Roasting the turkey ahead not only frees up space in the oven, it also allows you time to spend with your family and friends. It’s not difficult, but many cooks, including myself, have not thought about it. This Make Ahead Turkey Recipe is easy and delicious!
Maybe this sounds familiar – Thanksgiving morning arrives, and the kitchen is full of hustle and bustle to prepare the big meal, several hours before it’s time to eat you put the turkey in the oven to roast, you continue working on the other dishes for the meal while the turkey is roasting, then about an hour or so before it’s time to eat, you work frantically to finish up the side dishes.
Sound familiar? Maybe it’s not that way for you, but it is for me, until this year. I have decided that this Thanksgiving is going to be different, so I began hunting for make ahead dishes including a turkey recipe that our family would love but would make Thanksgiving dinner much easier.
Here’s the first secret – I didn’t roast the turkey any differently than I normally do. Yes, it’s that easy. So, if you have a favorite recipe you use to fix your turkey, by all means use it. If not, you can certainly try our recipe.
Here’s the second secret – I use an oven bag, and I have for years. There are tons of recipes out there that will tell you to brine, or soak, or roast with the skin on or off, etc. etc. But honestly, years and years ago, I discovered that roasting the turkey in a bag keeps it moist and juicy.
Seasoning is important on turkey, because it’s typically bland tasting, in my opinion. We used the same seasoning we do for Turkey Breast – garlic powder, minced dried onion, seasoning salt, paprika, pepper, parsley flakes and basil.
After the turkey is done, let it rest for 15 – 30 minutes, then slice. We laid the turkey on top of Turkey Gravy to give it even more flavor, wrapped it tightly with foil and into the refrigerator it went. When it’s time to reheat the turkey, remove from refrigerator, remove foil and let it come to room temperature for 1 hour. Heat in oven about 20-30 minutes or until very hot. You can roast the turkey 1-2 days ahead. You could also freeze it, however, I’m not a big fan of it frozen, thawed and reheated.
To free up even more time, don’t forget you can prepare and freeze mashed potatoes too!
And don’t forget the Turkey Gravy!
- 12-13 pound Turkey
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon minced dry onion
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon parsley flakes
- ½ teaspoon basil
- 1 Reynold's Oven Bag
- Clean out and rinse turkey, pat dry with paper towel
- Rub with oil
- Combine spices together and sprinkle inside and out of turkey
- Place oven bag in a large pan, then place turkey in bag
- Roast according to directions on box of oven bag
- After the turkey is done, let it rest for 15 – 30 minutes, then slice.
- Lay the turkey on top of Turkey Gravy to give it even more flavor, wrapped it tightly with foil and place into refrigerator
- To reheat the turkey, remove from refrigerator, remove foil and let it come to room temperature for 1 hour. Heat in 350 degree oven about 20-30 minutes or until very hot.
- You can roast the turkey 1-2 days ahead.