Chef John's Roast Turkey and Gravy

Chef John's Roast Turkey and Gravy

Made  times
Chef John 23863

"The biggest myth in all of American cookery is the belief that a juicy, perfectly cooked turkey is difficult for the novice cook to achieve. One of the secrets to a moist, delicious, and beautiful turkey is spreading butter under the skin. You can season the butter any way you want; the possibilities are endless."
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4 h 55 m servings 942 cals
Serving size has been adjusted!

Original recipe yields 16 servings



  • Calories:
  • 942 kcal
  • 47%
  • Fat:
  • 70.1 g
  • 108%
  • Carbs:
  • 4.6g
  • 1%
  • Protein:
  • 68.7 g
  • 137%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 256 mg
  • 85%
  • Sodium:
  • 974 mg
  • 39%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

See full nutrition

Nutritional Information

1 Serving
Servings Per Recipe:
Amount Per Serving
  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  • ** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
  • (-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.


  • Prep

  • Cook

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Mix 2 tablespoons salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper, and poultry seasoning in a small bowl. Tuck turkey wings under the bird, and season cavity with about 1 tablespoon of the poultry seasoning mixture. Reserve remaining poultry seasoning mix.
  3. Toss the onion, celery, and carrots together in a bowl. Stuff about 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture, rosemary sprigs, and 1/2 bunch sage into the cavity of the turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Loosen the skin on top of the turkey breast using fingers or a small spatula. Place about 2 tablespoons butter under the skin and spread evenly. Spread the remaining butter (about 2 tablespoons) all over the outside of the skin. Sprinkle the outside of the turkey with the remaining poultry seasoning mix.
  4. Spread the remaining onion, celery, and carrots into a large roasting pan. Place the turkey on top of the vegetables. Fill the pan with about 1/2 inch of water. Arrange a sheet of aluminum foil over the breast of the turkey.
  5. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 3 1/2 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). Remove the foil during the last hour of cooking. Baste the turkey with the pan juices.
  6. While the turkey is roasting, make stock: place neck, heart, and gizzards in a saucepan with the bay leaf and water. Simmer over medium heat for 2 hours. Strain the turkey giblets from the stock, and discard giblets. There should be at least 4 cups of stock.
  7. Remove the turkey from the oven, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Pour the pan juices, about 3 cups, into a saucepan and set aside. Skim off the turkey fat from the pan juices, reserving about 2 tablespoons.
  8. Heat 2 tablespoons of the turkey fat and 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Transfer the onion from the roasting pan into the skillet. Cook and stir until the onion is browned, about 5 minutes, then stir in the flour. Continue to cook and stir for about 5 minutes more; whisk in 4 cups of the skimmed turkey stock and the reserved pan juices until smooth; skim off any foam. Stir in the balsamic vinegar. Simmer until the gravy is thickened, whisking constantly, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of chopped sage, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.


  • Cook's Note
  • For thicker gravy, double the amounts of turkey fat, butter, and flour in the gravy part of the recipe.


  1. 124 Ratings

Most helpful positive review

I was in charge of making the turkey this last Thanksgiving and I came across this recipe. I followed the recipe exactly and I have to say it was the best Turkey we've ever had. Everyone was a...

Most helpful critical review

I didn't think this recipe is that amazing. The gravy was so-so, and I didn't really get any kind of awesome extra flavor from the herb butter mix under the skin. I think next time I will try do...

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I was in charge of making the turkey this last Thanksgiving and I came across this recipe. I followed the recipe exactly and I have to say it was the best Turkey we've ever had. Everyone was a...

This really was easy for a first-time turkey girl! I am not a cook, in fact, I think of myself as a terrible cook and I wanted to simply buy the frozen slab of turkey meat for Thanksgiving last...

Only a partial review, BUT the simple herb coating is FABULOUS! It coats the skin well enough that it doesn't burn or need covering; &, of course, tastes delicious! I combined recipes which ba...

What an easy, and beautiful, and flavorful, and crispy, *and* moist turkey!(however, I must admit that I did turn down the heat during the last hour thinking we would have to hold the turkey for...

This is the second time I am making the turkey. One was made for the saturday after thanksgiving, which came out great and the next one was made today. I used all of the ingredients with only on...

juicy and delicious!!!!

The vegetable mixture, herbs and spices combined with lots of butter made this the best turkey I've ever made. I'll use this recipe again. Very "Chef-y." Did not make the gravy due to the fact I...

I used this recipe for Thanksgiving 2013. I've never made a turkey before. However, Chef John's recipe was the BEST! I received a lot of compliments and I for the first time actually enjoyed ...

My husband said this was the best Turkey he ever ate in his life. It smelled so good as it was baking. I did not deviate from the recipe at all but did not make the gravy to make the dinner heal...

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