Thanksgiving Turkey – Make Ahead Recipe

I love making my turkey this way, because it is easy, I can make it ahead of time to freeze it, and it still always turns out so juicy.  If you make your turkey ahead of time this way, no one will ever know that you didn’t slave over your bird on Thanksgiving Day.  This year I’m using my organic turkey from Nature’s Prime Organics.  I got a groupon deal, and ended up paying very little for my bird.

Thanksgiving Turkey 1


1 Organic Turkey (simple right?)


1. Take your thawed turkey out of the bag and remove the giblets from the inside.  Place the giblets in the bottom of your roasting pan, and place the bird in the pan (on a rack if you have it).   The nice thing about turkeys is that they make their own broth with little effort.  Adding the giblets to the bottom of the pan will just add to the richness and quality of the broth.

2. Cook your turkey in the oven according to the general directions:  Cook at 325 for 15-20 minutes per pound.  When the red popper thingy (don’t you love how technical I am?) comes out, then it is done.

3. Let the turkey cool so that you can handle it.  Pull off all of the meat on the turkey and place in bags or containers for freezing. Pour the broth from the bottom of the pan into a container for freezing as well.

4.  When Thanksgiving Day arrives, pull out all your ingredients from the freezer to thaw several hours before you plan to heat it all back up.  In your roasting pan place the pieces of turkey meat, and then pour the broth over the meat.  Warm it all up in the oven at about 300-325 (depending on how fast you need it ready), for about 30-45 minutes.

5. Serve and wow your guests with an extremely moist and juicy bird.  They’ll never know that you made it ahead of time!

Thanksgiving Turkey 2

Thanksgiving Turkey 3

One further thing I like to do is utilize all the bones of the turkey in order to make more broth.  That way I can freeze the broth and use it in more of my cooking throughout the holiday season.  There is a ton of calcium in those bones, so this broth will be very beneficial health-wise!

Directions for Bone Broth:

  1. Place the leftover turkey bones in a crock pot or large stove top pot.
  2. Cover with water and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer for a day or two until your broth is nice and hearty.
  3. At this point the bones basically become mush.  I personally will mash them into my dog’s food to give him some good calcium. Only do this if the bones are soft enough where your animal won’t choke.  The bones should basically disintegrate if you touch them.
  4. Strain the broth out, use it for your cooking or freeze for later.

Thanksgiving Turkey 4

Thanksgiving Turkey 5

Thanksgiving Turkey 6

I love making bone broth, because I’m not wasting any part of my bird! Got a tip for the Thanksgiving Turkey? Share it with us!

This recipe is part of the Have a Healthy Holiday Event.  Be sure to check out the recipes on the other seven blogs and RSVP for Wednesday’s Twitter Party.

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  1. I think having the turkey in the middle of the table beats the convenience especially when you have small children.

  2. When you say “Simmer for a day or two” are you leaving it on the stove “24/7” or do you put it in the fridge at night and re-start the next day?
    Could cooking the bone broth in a slow cooker work?

    This sounds SUPER yummy! I’m going to try this recipe this year! =)

    • Audrey- I make my broth in the slow cooker- works GREAT!! I usually leave it for 36-48h on low. Just make sure there’s enough liquid to keep the bones covered. Sometimes I need to add a little boiling water part way through :)

  3. I always cook the turkey the day before too. It works great — the meat is so moist from soaking in the broth and then reheating that way!

  4. I also have a fool proof, juicy bird recipe… I place the bird in the oven at about 11:00 pm the night before on 175 degree oven. Let it cook all night long. Depending upon the size of the bird (I always have an 18+ lb bird) it should be done cooking by about 10 – 11 am. You will get copious amounts of broth this way as well, so you can take the meat off the bone and cover with the juices in a crock pot.

    I choose to do this method because I can not justify purchasing a roaster so that my oven is freed up for other items. This is a good compromise… the turkey is falling-off-the-bone yummy moist ambrosia, and my oven is warmed up and ready for the other mealtime items.

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