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Thomas Keller Turkey Recipe

Thomas Keller’s approach to cooking is marked by precision and a focus on enhancing natural flavors. His turkey recipe showcases these principles, resulting in a perfectly roasted bird with a crispy exterior and moist interior. By using simple yet high-quality ingredients and paying attention to details like trussing and basting, Keller creates a dish that captures the essence of a classic roast turkey while elevating it to a new level of culinary excellence. Follow along as we delve into the steps of Thomas Keller’s turkey recipe to create a Thanksgiving centerpiece that is sure to impress your guests.

Thomas Keller Turkey Recipe

Thomas Keller Turkey Recipe

Certainly! Thomas Keller is known for his meticulous approach to cooking, and his roasted turkey recipe is no exception. Here’s a simplified version of his roast turkey recipe:


  • 1 whole turkey (12-14 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Fresh herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, and sage)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • Chicken or turkey stock


  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).
  2. Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity, and pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Season the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper.
  3. Truss the turkey with kitchen twine to help it cook evenly.
  4. Brush the entire surface of the turkey with melted butter, and season generously with salt and pepper. You can also place fresh herbs under the skin for added flavor.
  5. Place the lemon wedges, onion quarters, and garlic halves inside the turkey cavity.
  6. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour about 2 cups of chicken or turkey stock into the bottom of the pan to create a flavorful base for basting.
  7. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) and continue roasting, basting with the pan juices every 30 minutes.
  8. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey. It’s done when the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F (74°C).
  9. Allow the turkey to rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving.

This basic recipe follows the principles of Thomas Keller’s attention to detail and emphasizes the use of quality ingredients. Adjustments can be made based on personal preferences and the size of your turkey. Enjoy your delicious roast turkey!

Frequently Asked Questions for Thomas Keller Turkey

Q1: Can I use a different size turkey for this recipe?

A1: Yes, you can adjust the cooking times based on the size of your turkey. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Q2: What herbs can I use for seasoning the turkey?

A2: Thomas Keller recommends using fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and sage. Feel free to customize the herb blend based on your preferences.

Q3: Can I prepare the turkey in advance?

A3: While it’s ideal to roast the turkey on the day you plan to serve it, you can prepare some elements in advance, like seasoning the turkey the night before and refrigerating it. Just bring it to room temperature before roasting.

Q4: How do I ensure the turkey is moist?

A4: Basting the turkey with the pan juices every 30 minutes during roasting helps keep it moist. Trussing the turkey also contributes to even cooking.

Q5: Can I use a different type of stock for basting?

A5: Yes, you can use either chicken or turkey stock for basting. Homemade stock or a high-quality store-bought version will enhance the flavor.

Q6: What can I do if the skin is browning too quickly?

A6: If the skin is browning too rapidly, you can tent the turkey with aluminum foil to slow down the browning process while allowing the turkey to continue cooking.

Q7: How do I carve the turkey properly?

A7: Allow the turkey to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving. Follow the natural contours of the bird, and carve slices against the grain for the most tender meat.

Q8: Can I make gravy from the pan drippings?

A8: Absolutely! The pan drippings, combined with some flour and additional stock, can be used to make a delicious gravy to accompany the turkey.

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