If you follow this recipe, your turkey will be moist and delicious—plus, it won't require any basting!

It was our first Thanksgiving. My husband had to work, so we weren't traveling to see family. We wanted to make the best of a holiday at home and make a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Turkey was at the top of our list, so I sent my husband to the store.

"Try to find a small turkey. It's just the two of us, and I don't really know what I'm doing," I said. 

Well, he arrived home with a 24-pound frozen bird in hand. It was the size of a small Buick. I panicked a little and did the only thing I knew to do. I called my mom and asked, "How do you make a turkey?"

She explained the quick and easy family recipe that she's used for years. Whew, I felt better and was again confident to make my first Thanksgiving meal.

A special key to the best turkey is to keep as much moisture inside as possible. Reynolds Kitchens Oven Bags do the trick; they're inexpensive and easy to use. The package includes two bags and the ties needed to close the bags—save the extra bag for your next turkey!

Another key is the use of liquid smoke on top of the turkey. You can use chicken broth if you'd prefer a lighter poultry flavor. Though the liquid smoke adds just a hint of smokiness to the delectable poultry. 

Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: Up to 5 hours



  • 1 frozen turkey
  • 1/3 c. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 c. liquid smoke (or chicken broth)
  • 1/2 t. garlic salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper


  1. Thaw the turkey completely. I like to do this in the kitchen sink in a cold water bath. Cold water defrosts a turkey much quicker than warm or hot water. For a fully-frozen turkey, allow about 12-16 hours to defrost. If it defrosts early, store the turkey in the refrigerator until you're ready to prepare.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Prepare your roasting pan. I like to use disposable roasting pans as they make clean up even easier. Spray the inside of the roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Open an oven bag and add the flour (as the package directions suggest). Leave the opened bag inside the roasting pan.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the seasoning ingredients (Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, garlic salt, and pepper). Set aside.
  5. Open the turkey and rinse the outside. Check each cavity for items that should be removed ... like the neck and giblet bag. Place the turkey inside the oven bag, breast-side down. Close the oven bag with the provided tie.
  6. Bake the turkey for 4 to 4.5 hours, or until the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.
  7. Remove the turkey from the oven for 30 minutes to rest before carving. Carefully slice open the oven bag. Hot steam will escape. Turn the turkey over, using turkey lifters, to begin slicing the turkey breast. Remove the drumsticks and some dark meat as well. Slice enough turkey to serve your family and guests. 
  8. If possible, locate the wishbone and remove it. Let the wishbone dry on the counter until after dinner. Leave the remaining meat on the bird to remove after dinner. 
  9. After dinner, remove the remaining meat off of the turkey. Store leftover turkey in the refrigerator for sandwiches later that day or the next day. Freeze leftover turkey to use in the next few months in casseroles and soups.

What is your favorite way to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey? Share tips in the comments below.