Chef Michael Chiarello shows us how to cook a turkey in the oven to be moist like the pros. The best part? No basting. Put it in the oven until it’s done – with moist meat & crispy skin.
Robert Twigger explains in his book, Micromastery, that we can focus our efforts on one specific area and perfect that skill which elevates our performance to an impressive level quickly and easily.
This one skill is called an “entry trick”. The only way to learn the entry trick is from a pro who knows that has learned from years of experience & is willing to pass the secret on.
Over the years I have roasted turkey more times than I can count. Literally.
But when I tried chef Chiarello’s turkey tips for our Christmas dinner, we were all in awe. It was amazing! My sister-in-law Wendy even asked for the recipe for our family reunion in the summer – and then asked again the next Christmas for her family dinner.
Even if you know how to roast turkey, try this method and see the difference for yourself. I think you’ll be amazed at how flavorful the meat is and how wonderful the gravy tastes too.
Here’s how to turn your oven into an impromptu steam oven.
Here’s a video tutorial by chef Michael Chiarello. Written instructions follow, and are printable.
How Much Turkey Do I Need?
The rule of thumb is a pound of turkey per person. Chef Chiarello recommends a pound and a half per person so you can send some home with them or have leftovers the next day. (See our exciting turkey leftover recipes to help you decide!)
How to Roast a Turkey
- 1 fresh turkey (thawed)
- bundle fresh sage
- bundle fresh rosemary
- bundle fresh thyme
- 1 lemon or orange
- 3-4 carrots
- 3-4 celery stalks
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 4 c chicken broth
- Preheat oven at 375°.
- Remove the plastic and the neck and giblets from the body and neck cavities of a thawed turkey.
- Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and then pat dry with paper towel.
- Put several celery stalks and whole carrots in the bottom of your roasting pan. If you have a rack, place it on top. If not, just set the turkey directly on top of the vegetables.
- Start with the turkey upside down, with the breast facing down. Rub the bird down with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Turn it over and repeat on the breast and legs.
- Don’t truss the turkey’s legs or wings. It cooks thoroughly when the heat can reach all parts evenly.
- Fill the cavity with a bundle of fresh herbs. Rosemary and thyme are the herbs recommended by Chef Chiarello. Add some lemon slices to the herbs.
- In the video he pours 4 cups of chicken broth into his roasting pan and then puts the roaster on the stove to bring it to a simmer. (I don't want to transfer a heavy turkey pan, bird and steaming hot stock from one place to another. Instead, I set the roasting pan on the oven rack, simmer the broth in a pot and then pour it into the roasting pan.)
- Roast uncovered so the hot broth fills the oven with flavorful steam. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR WHILE COOKING. (If you do, the steam escapes. This means no basting required.)
- Cook for 15 to 18 minutes per pound, or until meat at the thigh is 165° and juices run clear.
- Remove the turkey from the pan and let set for 15 minutes before carving.
How Long Do I Cook the Turkey?
When the oven temperature at 375°, you should cook turkey for 15 to 18 minutes per pound. The meat at the thigh should be an internal temperature of 165 degrees, and the juices should run clear and not be pink. (Chef Chiarello recommends a Digital Instant Read Thermometer.)
Remove the turkey from the pan and let it stand for 15 minutes before carving. This is a great time to make the gravy – see Chef Chiarello’s tips on making a tantalizing turkey gravy.
Chef Chiarello for Progresso via Family Feature
Want more? Chef Chiarello shows us the secret to making turkey gravy.
Chef Michael Chiarello shares his secrets to making turkey gravy from drippings. This method turns out perfect turkey gravy from scratch that will impress everyone around your holiday table.
Want more? See all of our recipes by chef Michael Chiarello.
Our recipes by celebrity chef Michael Chiarello are from his specialty in Italian-influenced California cuisine, and also his partnership with Progresso Soup to share at-home cooking tips like how to cook a moist turkey and make an amazing gravy.
Want even more? See our new turkey recipes.
Sign up for our weekly magazine with all our new recipes, party ideas and ways to put more play in every day.