The aroma of my mama’s moist turkey slowly roasting always makes us salivate with anticipation on Thanksgiving. Seasoning the bird and sealing it overnight in a cooking bag makes it easy and super moist.

The important thing is to leave several days—yes, days—for it to thaw. Then, it’s simply a matter of rinsing and patting it dry, rubbing on butter and seasoning then sealing it in a cooking bag to marinate overnight. The oven does the rest!

A plate with a sliced, moist Thanksgiving turkey.

Moist Turkey for Thanksgiving Recipe


Yield: 10 -12 servings
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  • 20 - 25 lb turkey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • turkey oven bag
  • parchment paper
  • large roasting pan, or roaster


  • Make room in the fridge to thaw a 20–25 lb turkey—it’ll need about 5 days to thaw. Make certain to thaw your turkey with a baking sheet under it to capture any juices that may escape from the bag. If you don’t do this, you could have a mess on your hands.
  • The day before you’re ready to cook the turkey, take it out of the fridge and remove the neck and giblets from both cavities of the turkey. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cool water then pat dry inside and out, using paper towels.
  • Rub butter under the skin of the breast and inside the cavity. Make certain you push down on the breast and not pull up on the skin to loosen or it will tear. Season turkey inside and out with salt and pepper, wrap it in parchment paper, place it in the cooking bag, seal tightly then return it to the fridge overnight.
  • The next morning, remove the turkey from the fridge and place it breast-side down in roasting pan or large roaster. Place the bagged turkey in the oven and turn the oven on to bake at 275 degrees.
  • Roast the turkey 5½ –7 hours, depending on size (20–25 minutes per lb of turkey). Turn it over ¾ of the way through cooking.
  • Remove turkey from the oven when done and allow it to rest 20–30 minutes. A good test is to pull on the leg. If it moves freely, the turkey is done. Remove from bag and transfer turkey to a large cutting board. Remove the meat from the bones and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Use the drippings to make a great gravy.


Happy Holidays from the team here at Everyday Dishes!
Calories: 2126kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 314g, Fat: 91g, Saturated Fat: 27g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g, Monounsaturated Fat: 29g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 1068mg, Sodium: 4454mg, Potassium: 3258mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1098IU, Calcium: 167mg, Iron: 13mg
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Moist Turkey for Thanksgiving Recipe Video