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Roast Turkey & Gravy

These are the ingredients and steps for brining and roasting a whole turkey. Also included is a delicious and easy gravy made with the roasted turkey juices.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Brine Turkey, Gravy, Roast Turkey
Author Abigail Aars



  • 4 cups water, plus additional 12 - 16 cups
  • 1 cup sea salt reduce to 1/2 c. for table salt
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or cane sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • 15 lb. defrosted turkey
  • 2 large yellow onions peeled & quartered
  • 2 lemons halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 8 tbsp butter softened
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • giblets & neck from turkey
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste


  • 4 tbsp butter softened
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 6-7 cups pan juices from roasting turkey or chicken stock
  • salt & pepper to taste


For Brine:

  1. In 3 quart saucepan, boil 4 cups of water. Dissolve sea salt* and sugar in the water. Add seasonings, orange & lemon slices. Then remove from the heat and let it cool. *If you use table salt, reduce amount of salt to 1/2 cup.

  2. Prep the turkey: cut off the plastic wrap covering on the turkey and remove plastic tie that’s probably holding the legs of the bird together. Remove giblet bag inside the cavity of the bird. Put giblets into the bottom of the brining pot. Rinse your turkey with cold water.

  3. Line the brining  pot with oven bag. Lower the rinsed turkey (wings down/legs up) into the pot inside the bag. Poor your cooled brine into the cavity of the turkey. Poor additional cold water, about 12-16 cups, into the cavity of the turkey until it fills the pot.

  4. Close bag with twisty tie. Place the pot in the fridge to keep it cold for 20 - 24 hours.

Roasting Brined Turkey:

  1. Next day: Preheat oven to 325° F. Make sure oven rack is on the second level in a conventional oven so that turkey will be roasting in the center of oven.

  2. Remove brined turkey pot from fridge and carefully (ask a friend to help) poor the liquid out into the sink. You can leave the orange and lemon slices inside the cavity of the bird that were a part of the brine. 

  3. Stuff 2 onion quarters, lemons and rosemary sprigs inside the turkey’s cavity. Place remaining onion quarters, giblets & neck, and 4 cups chicken stock into bottom of roasting pan. Place your rack on top of these ingredients.

  4. Place the turkey, breast side down,* on top of the rack. I start off cooking the turkey breast side down for first hour. Pat dry the turkey very well with paper towels. Salt and pepper skin of turkey. Smear softened butter all over the skin of the turkey with your hands.

  5. Place turkey into the 325° F oven. Set timer for 1 hour. Remove turkey from oven. Flip the turkey over so it’s now breast side up.  Now, is when you can tie up the legs. Wrap a foil ‘rope’ around the legs to hold them together. Ladle some of the pan juices all over the turkey breast skin.

  6. Put the turkey back into oven. Set timer for 1 hour. Remove turkey from oven. Ladle pan juices all over the turkey breast skin and put the turkey back into the oven. Set timer for 1 hour.

  7. Remove the turkey, after the third hour and test the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh ...as well as the thickest part of the breast. The temperature should be 165° F. If the temperature has not reached 165° F. but the turkey skin already looks really golden and crisp then lay aluminum foil over the top of the turkey and place back into the oven for 10 - 15 more minutes and test temperature again. Keep testing every 10 - 15 minutes until at least 165° F is reached.

  8. Once done, strain the pan juices from bottom of the pan. (It’s hot! And a friend may need to help lift and pour, you can move the turkey to another platter to rest) 

  9. Put foil over the turkey until you are ready to carve him up!


  1. In a 2 quart saucepan, simmer 6-7 cups of the strained stock & pan juices on the stove.

  2. Mix 4 T. softened butter with 4 T. all-purpose flour with a fork in a small bowl to make a paste.

  3. Whisk this flour paste into the simmering stock & juices. Heat through until slightly thickened, season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Eat and enjoy!