Super Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey (No Brine!)

4.84 from 37 votes

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Sharing my secret to super juicy no brine roast turkey recipe that will make you a hero of your Thanksgiving dinner. It involves a bottle of champagne and melted butter! Seriously, unless you want to, you really don’t have to brine your bird any more.

Sharing my secret to super juicy no brine roast turkey recipe that will make you a hero of your Thanksgiving dinner. It involves a bottle of champagne and melted butter! Seriously, unless you want to, you really don't have to brine your bird any more.


 

The Best Moist Turkey Recipe

You read that right, my friend. Not brining the turkey this year.

Year after year, my husband was in charge of our Thanksgiving turkey. Every year, he brought out a large bucket and made his brining solution to brine the bird. We always enjoyed the juicy turkey.

But I was curious if we could get that succulent turkey without hassle of brining. So this year, I started the testing early. You know, typical extreme type A over here. 😉

The real motivation was that I read this brine injecting method in Real Simple magazine (November 2016 issue) a while back, and I really wanted to try it. It said to inject a brining solution, or melted butter into the breast and legs before roasting.

Sounds intriguing, right?

Well, I tried this method, and happy to report – it works! I injected melted butter, because I’m using lots of herbs on the outside, but I think, next time herb infused melted butter, or even brown butter would be fantastic!!!

For this method, you’ll need a marinade injector, that you’ll fill with melted butter and inject into the meat before roasting. You don’t want to poke too many times into the bird though, or you may damage the skin. I showed you exactly how to do this in the video below, but here’s a quick visual. (And yes, I have 4 hands that multitask pretty good. Jealous?)

And that’s not the only magic trick I used for this Thanksgiving turkey recipe. This roast turkey is special one, because it’s also roasted in champagne!

I know, fancy, huh?

Roasted Turkey Ingredients

  • Turkey – Estimate 1.5lbs of turkey per person. For this recipe, you don’t have to brine the turkey. But it’s ok if your turkey is kosher or it’s already been injected with saline solution.
  • Butter + seasonings – Compound butter can be made with any kind of seasoning.
  • Lemon juice – is mixed into the butter mixture. Touch of acid brightens the flavor and tenderizes the meat.
  • Apples, carrots and fresh herbs – are for the cavity. They infuse the turkey with delicious aromatics. You may use oranges, lemons, onions, etc.
  • Champagne –  is the secret ingredient in this recipe! You don’t need anything fancy. I use Korbel Brut champagne. The champagne concentrates during roasting and makes the most amazing dripping!
  • Chicken broth or stock – either one works!

Champagne not only adds an amazing tang to the drippings, but it keeps the bird nice and moist!

I have to give credit to this recipe on Allrecipes.com though. It has so many rave reviews, and rightly so!

How To Make The Juiciest Turkey

  • Prep the turkey
    • Begin to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator 2-3 days before roasting.
    • Pull the neck and giblets out of the cavity.
    • Thoroughly pat dry the turkey with paper towels.
    • Carefully run your hand under the breast skin to create a pocket.
  1. Make the compound butter
    • Combine 1 stick of butter, garlic, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt and lemon juice. Mix until well combined. It’s ok if the lemon juice isn’t fully incorporated.
  2. Season the turkey
    • Smear the compound butter evenly all over the turkey and under the breast skin. (TIP: If the skin is wet, butter won’t stick. So be sure to dry the skin with a paper towel well.)
    • Place the turkey breast side up on a V rack in a large roasting pan and fill the turkey cavity with carrots, apples, and fresh herbs.
    • If desired, tie the legs of the bird with twine. (I prefer this method over the whole trussing because it’s easier.)
    • Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a bowl.
    • Using a marinade injector, slowly inject each thigh and breast half with about 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
  3. Roast the Turkey
    • Pour champagne and chicken stock over the turkey and into the cavity.
    • Roast the turkey until it’s golden brown, about 3.5 hours for 14lbs turkey, basting it every hour using a turkey baster. (Check on turkey after 2 hours. If the skin isn’t browning fast enough, increase the oven temperature by 50°F/10°C. If the skin is browning too much, cover it with foil.)
    • The turkey is cooked, when the deepest part of the breast and legs registers 165°F (74°C) on an instant-read thermometer.
    • Remove the turkey from the oven, cover it with foil and let rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.

What to put inside a Turkey to make it moist

I like to inject the breast and thighs with melted butter to keep the meat extra moist and flavorful.

How to season my turkey

Compound butter is a fantastic way to season the turkey. I like to rub some of the herb butter under the breast skin right over the meat for the best flavor.

How long to roast Turkey?

Roast the turkey until it’s golden brown, about 3.5 hours for 14lbs turkey. Unstuffed turkey will take anywhere between 2.5-5 hours at 350°F, and 15-30 additional minutes for a stuffed turkey.

How to keep a Turkey moist

Injecting the turkey with melted butter keeps the turkey moist and juicy!

How to serve Oven Roasted Turkey

Be sure to rest the roasted turkey for at least 30 minutes before serving. You may serve the whole roast turkey on a large serving platter garnished with fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies. Or you may carve it for easy serving.

Roasted Turkey Recipe FAQs

Do you cover a turkey when you are roasting it?

I don’t cover the turkey when roasting unless the breast skin starts to brown too much. In that case, I simply place a small sheet of aluminum foil to shield the breast.

Do you put water in the bottom of a roasting pan for turkey?

It’s not required, but for this champagne roast turkey, I recommend adding chicken broth along with a bottle of champagne for the most flavorful dripping.

Now I’ll have to warn you about that tangy pan dripping. Because the champagne is reduced significantly, meaning the flavors are more concentrated, it has quite a tang. But IF used carefully, your gravy will be to die for!

And I’m not saying this lightly. We’re not talking boring, same old turkey gravy here. (Nothing against tried n’ true gravy, but let’s be honest, it can get a little boring.) We’re talking bold flavorful turkey gravy that’ll go around the table non-stop. I’m telling ya, when we had faux-Thanksgining in September, I had to get up and refill the turkey bowl 4 times!!! It was that good!

And when I say, use the dripping carefully, I mean add it little by little and adjust it to your taste. You can get the complete gravy recipe here.

Now go on and give this recipe a test run before the big day. And please share your feedback. Thank you!!!!

Watch Video: How to Roast a Turkey

Watch How to Make This Below!

4.84 from 37 votes

Oven Roasted Turkey Recipe

Sharing my secret to super juicy no brine roast turkey recipe that will make you a hero of your Thanksgiving dinner. It involves a bottle of champagne and melted butter! Seriously, unless you want to, you really don’t have to brine your bird any more.
Prep: 30 minutes
Total: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 whole turkey (I used 14lbs turkey)
  • 1 ½ sticks (170g) unsalted butter softened, divided
  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic about 4-5 cloves Note 1
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 apples cored and roughly chopped, optional
  • 2 large carrots roughly chopped, optional
  • A bunch of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, marjoram
  • 1 bottle (750ml) champagne
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Instructions 

  • Begin to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator 2-3 days before roasting.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • Pull the neck and giblets out of the cavity. Pat dry the turkey with paper towels.  Carefully run your hand under the breast skin to create a pocket.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 stick of butter, garlic, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt and lemon juice. Mix until well combined.
  • Smear the butter evenly all over the turkey and under the breast skin. (If the skin is wet, butter won’t stick. So make sure to dry the skin with paper towel well.) Place the turkey breast side up on a V rack in a large roasting pan.
  • Fill the turkey with carrots, apples and fresh herbs.
  • If desired, tie the legs of the bird with twine. (I prefer this method over whole trussing, because it’s easier.)
  • Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a bowl.
  • Using a marinade injector, slowly inject each thigh and breast halves with about 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
  • Pour champagne and chicken stock over the turkey and into the cavity.
  • Roast the turkey until it’s golden brown, about 3.5 hours for 14lbs turkey, basting it every hour using a turkey baster. (Check on turkey after 2 hours. If skin isn’t browning fast enough, increase oven temperature by 50°F/10°C. If the skin is browning too much, cover with a foil.)
  • The turkey is cooked, when the deepest part of breast and legs registers 165°F (74°C) on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Remove the turkey from oven, cover with foil and let rest at least 30 minutes before carving.
  • Reserve pan juices to make gravy. But add the drippings into the gravy little at a time, as the champagne is reduced and flavors are concentrated. So adjust it to your taste.

Tips & Notes

Note 1: I like to grate the garlic on microplane zester over pressing it, because it yields super fine puree that’s easy to smear.
For complete turkey guide, read this TURKEY 101 post, where I cover everything you need to know from brining to carving.
Don’t have Thanksgiving Menu yet? Check out my Thanksgiving Menu for inspiration. Plus, it includes complete schedule for prep and checklist for stress-free hosting!

Nutrition

Calories: 698kcal
Carbohydrates: 13g
Protein: 71g
Fat: 36g
Sugar: 9g
Sodium: 1468mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Thanksgiving Turkey 101: Everything you need to know about cooking a turkey from brining to carving!

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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207 Comments

  1. Is it possible to omit the champagne? I understand it would alter the flavor of the drippings/broth, Is there a way I could make up for that?

    1. Hi, Tayt. Sure, you can do that. You can use chicken stock. And if you’d like, you can add some halved lemon in the pan. Let me know how it turns out, if you try it.

  2. Can you taste the champagne at all or does it cook off? My husband doesn’t like when I cook with wine. It sounds amazing though. Thx

    1. Hi, Michelle. I’d say you won’t taste the champagne in the meat, but the dripping will have concentrated taste that I think adds amazing flavor to the gravy.

    1. I’m also planning to use a turkey roaster! I think I’m just going to use this recipe but adjust the cooking times to what the roaster instructions say! Without opening to baste it at all.

      1. Thank you for sharing, Janine. And I’d so appreciate if you’d come back and share your feedback after you’ve tried it.

        1. Hi, Ali. Bummer, then you won’t be able to inject butter into the breast. I’d say, just skip that step then. But I do think that’s the secret to juiciest turkey, but it’ll still be good.

  3. 5 stars
    I use to hate turkey! But 2 years ago I found this recipe and now I dream about this turkey all year long!!! Best turkey ever.
    But- i have a quick question. This year my turkey will be 22 pounds. Should I double the recipe?

    1. Hi, Carolyn. I’m SO happy to hear that you love this recipe. Yes, but you don’t need to double all the ingredients. Just double the butter mixture, and leave the champagne and broth amounts the same. Hope you enjoy!!

  4. 5 stars
    Best turkey I’ve ever been had and I don’t care for turkey! Will be making it this thanksgiving again because it was such a hit.

  5. Late post, I used this recipe for our Thanksgiving Turkey. I have got to to say my turkey was awesome and amazing. I had so many compliments about the turkey. How it was so moist and tasty. I will definitely keep using this recipe. Thank you, Shinee for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  6. This will be my 2nd year using this recipe! Last year I used it on Thanksgiving and it was AMAZING and than again for Christmas and everyone loved it including the gravy. I didnt host Thanksgiving this year but I am doing Christmas and I’m so excited to make my 3rd turkey using this recipe! Thank you so much.

    1. Hi, Andrea. Since you’re cooking in a pressure cooker, you can halve the amount of liquid. Hope it turns out great. Let us know. Happy Thanksgiving!

      1. Can you use a brine and follow this recipe as well? I wanted to try a brine with apple cider vinegar, herbs, garlic, brown sugar and orange peel for like a zesty sweet flavor. I’m afraid if I do that and this recipe it’ll ruin it.

        1. Just curious if you decided to do the brine …looking into trying out this recipe next time! I usually do a brine.