How to Make Juicy Roasted Turkey Without Brine or Stuffing

10 servings
4 hr 30 min

This easy turkey roast recipe is perfect for the home cook who doesn't want to fuss with brine or stuffing but still wants a moist and flavorful Thanksgiving dish.

We're going to show you how to roast a turkey with salt and herbs on top with a simple trick to keep the bird juicy - it's easy, it's faster, and the results are simply delicious.

Take the stress out of your family Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) dinner with this simple trick that yields the perfect turkey roast - crispy skin and deliciously tender meat.

Why it Works

  • This is an easy turkey roast recipe with all the flavor without any extra work and made with just a few ingredients.
  • The best part about this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time, then place it in an oven before guests arrive at your house on Thanksgiving day - without any worries about being overwhelmed in the kitchen.
  • This simple roast turkey recipe is perfect for those looking for a tested-and-true method of cooking a juicy bird.
  • It's ideal for beginners - easy to prepare, the instructions are very clear, and there is no way to screw up this Thanksgiving dinner.

We're here today to share our favorite method for preparing a succulent and tasty roast without using any brine or stuffing - it's called dry-roasting!

Turkey is one of the most popular dishes for Thanksgiving and Christmas in North America. But have you ever tried roasting the holiday bird without brine or stuffing, as in this Croatian recipe?

Traditionally, Croatians serve roasted turkey with mlinci, homemade baked pasta. If you want a complete experience, you can find the simple recipe for mlinci in my book.

You will also love this roast with a side of warm potato salad or butternut squash barley risotto. And if you don't like the taste of turkey, we recommend this herb-roasted spatchcock chicken.

The secret to the perfect roasted turkey is keeping it simple because who needs crazy methods and exotic ingredients? Give this recipe a try next holiday, and let us know how you think it turned out!

Please follow the link to the original recipe on the blog for more tips and FAQs.

How to Make Juicy Roasted Turkey Without Brine or Stuffing
Recipe details
  • 10  servings
  • Prep time: 30 Minutes Cook time: 4 Hours Total time: 4 hr 30 min
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  • ▢ 12-14 pounds whole turkey
  • ▢ 1 stick butter or 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • ▢ 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • ▢ 4 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons Vegeta Natur* or salt
  • ▢ 1-2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • ▢ 2-3 bay leaves
  • ▢ 1 lemon
  • ▢ 1 onion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take the giblets and neck out of the turkey and wash the bird inside and out (use the giblets and neck to make stock). Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers, and pat the inside and outside dry. Then pour hot water over the skin of the turkey. The skin will tighten (this pulls the proteins in the skin together to form a tight surface that crisps up better). Pat dry the turkey again with paper towels.
Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan. Add one cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Brush the outside of the bird with melted butter.
Mix together the Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, and Vegeta or salt.
Rub the herb mixture liberally all over the turkey, spreading a little in the cavity and being sure to season the back, the breasts, and the meaty thighs.
Wash the lemon and peel the onion. Press cloves into the onion. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, clove-studded onion, and the bay leaves.
Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
Cover and roast for 2½ hours until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear. Uncover the turkey, and continue baking until the skin turns golden brown, 30 minutes to 1 hour longer. (The internal temperature should reach 170 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast and 180 degrees in the thigh)
Remove the turkey to a cutting board and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Carve the turkey with a sharp knife and serve.
  • If you can, go for a fresh, not frozen, turkey. Otherwise, make sure to defrost it in the refrigerator way ahead of the roasting day.
  • For even crispier skin, leave the turkey in the fridge (in a pan to catch any juices that may leak) uncovered overnight.
  • If you're tight on a schedule, leave the turkey be - don't be opening the oven ever so often, or you will prolong the cooking time.
  • The minimum internal temperature should reach 165 F for safety, but I always go a safer route and bake it to 170 -180 degrees.
  • Let the roast stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. It will carve more easily.
  • Storage: Place leftover turkey meat in a dish with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for 3-6 months.
  • Read the post above for more helpful tips, equipment needed, and FAQs.
  • Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used.
All that's Jas
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  • Sharon Sharon on Nov 08, 2021

    Will this work for a turkey breast?

    • All that's Jas All that's Jas on Nov 09, 2021

      Yes, if it's a whole breast with bones. Otherwise, place the breast on sliced onions seasoned with a dash of ground cloves and squeeze some lemon juice over the meat. Enjoy!

  • Lydia Lydia on Nov 08, 2021

    Thanks I’m gonna give it a try