This roast turkey recipe is flavored with sage and served with gravy made extra-tasty with the lemony pan drippings from the turkey and bay leaves in the giblet stock. The salt rub in this recipe acts as a “dry brine,” plumping and seasoning the meat for moist, juicy, flavorful turkey. Source: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2012

Lia Huber


Giblet Stock


Instructions Checklist
  • To season turkey: The day before you want to roast your turkey, combine sage, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Remove giblets from turkey and set aside in the refrigerator for making stock. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and pat the sage mixture all over it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.

  • To prepare giblet stock: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the reserved neck and giblets, onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add water, peppercorns and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming off any foam that rises to the top, for 1 hour. Strain. If desired, remove giblets and mince for gravy. Refrigerate for up to 1 day.

  • To roast turkey: About 30 minutes before you're ready to roast the turkey, position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 425 degrees F.

  • Transfer the turkey to a work surface. Wipe out the roasting pan. Stuff lemon halves in the turkey cavity. Coat a roasting rack with cooking spray and place it in the pan. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey breast-side down on the rack and let it stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

  • Roast the turkey for 40 minutes. Carefully flip it over so the breast side is up. (To turn the hot turkey, use silicone gloves, turkey forks or cover the turkey with foil and use oven mitts.) Add 2 cups hot water to the pan to prevent the drippings from burning. Continue to roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (without touching bone) registers 160 degrees F, 50 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of your turkey.

  • Carefully transfer the turkey to a large, clean cutting board. Set the roasting pan aside, reserving the pan drippings for the gravy. Loosely cover the turkey with foil and let rest 20 to 30 minutes before removing the string and carving.

  • To prepare gravy: Pour any pan juices and fat from the roasting pan into a large glass measuring cup and place in the freezer until the fat rises to the top, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, pour into a fat separator then pour the defatted juices into a large measuring cup.)

  • Whisk 1/2 cup of the reserved giblet stock with flour in a small bowl until smooth. Return the defatted pan drippings to the roasting pan along with the remaining 3 1/2 cups stock. Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Boil for 4 minutes, whisking occasionally and scraping up the browned bits.

  • Whisk the stock-flour mixture again and add to the pan. Cook, whisking constantly, until the gravy thickens, about 4 minutes more. Before serving, pour the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired, to strain out any lumps. Stir in reserved minced giblets, if using. Season with pepper.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate giblet stock (Step 2) for up to 1 day.

Equipment: Kitchen string

Tip: For the best taste and texture, we like using a “natural” or “organic” turkey--it does not have any added “sodium solution” found in most conventional turkeys and has a better taste and texture. Turkeys labeled “heritage” are also typically “natural.”

Nutrition Facts

150 calories; total fat 4.1g 6% DV; saturated fat 1.1g; cholesterol 88mg 29% DV; sodium 228mg 9% DV; potassium 207mg 6% DV; carbohydrates 1.7g 1% DV; fiber 0.1g; sugarg; protein 24.8g 50% DV; exchange other carbs; vitamin a iu 14IU; vitamin cmg; folate 14mcg; calcium 15mg; iron 1mg; magnesium 27mg; thiaminmg.

Reviews (4)

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4 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
Even my niece ate it! I made this last year after reading through the recipe and after years of dried out turkey this was the best. My picky niece that does not like turkey (because It's dry) ate it. She ate more than one serving to boot! I doubt I will ever fix one any other way again. The stock comes out great the gravy is wonderful. Pros: Moist tasty Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Perfect in every way We had given up on trying to roast turkey when my son suggested cooking it the way I cook roast chicken: high heat. I looked for a recipe online and found plenty but when my Eating Well issue came I dove into it on a mission to find a better recipe. And I did. I cut out the recipe and put it into a plastic sleeve. After using it I put into the looseleaf notebook that holds all the best recipes we've ever found. I will never cook a turkey any other way. Pros: most delicious amazingly moist Cons: none Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Best turkey I've ever made The family says it is the best turkey I've ever made I like the fact that it taste fresh and does not have the stuffing taste. I've never had luck with a turkey being moist without stuffing until now. This is a keeper! Thanks Pros: Moist herbs made it very tasty Cons: The flip Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Definite keeper I used a 13.5 lb turkey and cooking time was exactly 1.5 hours after I flipped the turkey over - was the perfect amount of time. The rub was simple. The skin crisped up nicely and turned a beautiful shade of reddish-brown. I put the stuffing (wild rice with apple and sausage) in the oven when there was about 55 minutes left and they were both done at the same time. Gravy turned out perfect. Pros: Juicy flavorful easy Read More