A simple recipe for a classic roasted turkey that uses vegetables and a white wine baste to make a gravy your family will rave about. Includes cooking tips and the number one way to keep your turkey moist.
Like many of you, our holiday meal traditions include our favorite side dishes surrounded by a flavorful turkey, and this white wine roasted turkey recipe featuring a delicious baste of white wine has been a favorite for years.
It is straightforward and easy, has a great flavor from the wine, and makes the most amazing gravy ever.
Really- the gravy is so good.
TIP: Buy more than one turkey
Buying at least two (and sometimes more) turkeys when they're on sale is a great way to save money. Roast your holiday turkey and freeze the other one to cook later in the winter.
I often roast the extra turkey in January or February for a dinner or on a weekend meal prep day - eat some fresh and cut up the rest of the meat for the freezer.
The cubed, cooked turkey is a great convenience food to have stocked up in the freezer - it can be used in any recipe that calls for turkey or chicken like these favorite rotisserie chicken recipes.
White Wine Roasted Turkey
Roast Turkey: Do you ever feel nervous about cooking a turkey? I used to almost shake in my boots at the thought - it seemed so scary, especially when I thought about the guests waiting for the main event of the meal.
I've since created a Thanksgiving day turkey countdown with all the steps and timing you need to get the turkey on the table and included it in the Thanksgiving Week Countdown that's found in The Holiday Season Planner. It's free for subscribers to our weekly newsletter - sign up here!
Here are some things I've learned from years of turkey roasting:
- It doesn't take as long as you think - unless it's a HUGE bird.
- Simpler is better (I leave the day-long brining, turning while hot, and other techniques to others).
- Using a thermometer is key to moist white meat.
- Gravy makes everything - even the dreaded dry breast - taste better.
This recipe covers it all:
- 15 minutes to prepare.
- Cooked in under 3 hours (with a foil covering for part of the time to self-baste).
- Tested for doneness with an instant read thermometer.
- And since this recipe makes a truly wonderful gravy, point #4 is a total win, so you can roast your turkey with confidence!
Roasted Turkey Gravy
Make Broth: While the turkey roasts, you can add the neck and some vegetable scraps to a sauce pan, cover them with water and cook for a few hours to make an easy turkey broth.
Use this broth in the gravy, if needed, and other side dishes like our family's favorite, lick-the-plate-clean, Sausage-Cranberry Dressing.
Make Gravy: To be completely honest, it has always been the gravy that caused me more anxiety than roasting the bird. It seemed to take a lot longer to figure out how to get a gravy that was lump-free and really tasty.
After trying different thickeners, starting with a white sauce, shaking in a jar with cold water, and more, I keep coming back to this easy method: whisking the flour into a bit of the bubbling broth and then slowly adding the remaining broth.
Our family prefers the texture of gravy made with flour, but for those who are gluten-free, it's easy to adapt this wine-based gravy to use potato or cornstarch, so don't let that stop you from trying this recipe.
Every time I serve this recipe for roasted turkey, I always get tons of compliments on the gravy. Everyone loves it as much as I do.
Don't just take my word for it, though - check out these readers who feel the same way:
I have been making this roasted turkey recipe with our homegrown turkeys for a couple years now, and it is beyond our favorite…STILL. We are a big gravy family, so without a doubt this gravy is outstanding and does not disappoint! -Abby
I have made this turkey numerous times and it is hands down the best turkey and the best gravy! Yum. -Mary
There is zero anxiety involved with cooking this turkey - yay!
Roast Turkey FAQ's & Tips
How long does it take to roast a turkey?
This is a tricky question, and depends on how big the turkey is, the oven temperature, whether the turkey is stuffed or not, or is cooked with a cover.
As an example, the basic recommendation of 20 minutes per pound would result in cooking the 10-12 pound turkey in this recipe for 3.5-4 hours, which is much longer than the 2 hours 40 minute cooking time in the recipe.
That's because the recipe below starts roasting at a higher temperature before lowering it to 350 degrees, and then bakes for an hour with a foil cover.
So the REAL answer to how long does it take to roast a turkey is to use a thermometer in the thigh and when it reaches 160 to 165 degrees, the turkey is done. (The turkey temperature will rise 5-10 degrees as it sits after removing from the oven.)
How do I keep my turkey moist?
This is probably the #1 issue that people deal with, but it really refers to the breast meat, since the dark meat has more fat and so is usually very moist.
Here are the things you can do to keep your turkey breast meat juicy:
- #1 is use the thermometer and check the temperature 30 minutes to an hour before you think it should be done. DO NOT rely on the insert pop-ups - they often pop-up when the breast is already overcooked.
- Cook the turkey breast side down for the first 40 minutes to an hour. It's not the easiest thing to do to turn a big, hot turkey, so I don't bother, but try it if you would like to.
- Salt the turkey with a "dry brine" a couple days before cooking: rub 2-3 tablespoons sea salt or 3-4 tablespoons kosher salt over a 12-15 pound turkey and let it sit in the fridge, uncovered, for up to 72 hours. Do not rinse and roast as usual (it doesn't make it too salty, but you won't need to add any of the salt the recipe suggests). Note: this only works with natural turkeys that don't have any saline solution ("self-basting") added.
- Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes, uncovered, before carving. Tenting with foil after removing from the oven will cause it to keep cooking. As the turkey sits, the juices will redistribute evenly.
Our Favorite Turkey Side Dishes
- Amazing Garlic Green Beans Recipe
- Amazing & Easy Lemon Garlic Baked Grated Carrots
- Incredible Sweet & Savory Sausage Cranberry Stuffing Dressing
- Garlic & Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
- The Original Soft 100% Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls Recipe
White Wine Roasted Turkey with Amazing Gravy
- 10 to 12 pound turkey
- 2 stalks celery cut in half
- 1/2 large onion sliced
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1 cup white wine*
- 1/4 cup flour **see note for gluten free option
- 2 ½ cup broth from pan juices + extra broth if needed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay the celery and onions in a single layer in the center of a large roasting pan.
- Remove the giblets and neck from turkey. Discard giblets (or use for another recipe) and place the neck in a small saucepan and set aside. Pat the turkey dry with a paper towel (so the butter sticks) and bend the wing tips under the body. Set the turkey, breast side up, on the vegetables in the prepared pan.
- Mix salt, pepper, and thyme together in a small bowl. Brush the turkey all over with the melted butter and sprinkle with the salt mixture.
- Roast, uncovered, for 40 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, add vegetable scraps to the saucepan with the turkey neck, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, while turkey roasts to make broth.
- Remove turkey from oven and reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Pour the cup of white wine over the turkey and cover the pan tightly with foil, tenting the center to avoid touching the turkey breast as much as possible.
- Roast 1 hour. Remove foil, baste with pan juices and roast for another 30-60 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
- Remove turkey from pan to a platter or cutting board and cover with foil to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
- While the turkey is resting, strain the pan drippings into a 4-cup glass measure. Add neck broth as needed to equal 2½ cups.
- Pour 1/2 cup of the liquid into a medium-sized saucepan and heat on medium-high. Slowly whisk in the 1/4 flour until smooth. Add remaining 2 cups of liquid slowly and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve immediately with turkey
This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in December of 2015.
Marci Kentch says
This sounds amazing Jami, thank you! I'm going to try it, but was wondering which white wine do you prefer using?
I use a dry wine, like a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Hope you enjoy this, Marci!
So do you recommend resting the turkey covered with foil (like in step 8) after roasting? Or does that make it more dry as mentioned in the FAQs? I’m doing a 14lb turkey with tons of leftovers for our small family of 5 this year. Always love your recipes and tips.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!!
I do let it sit covered with foil before cutting, just about 30 minutes.
This sounds amazing but I do have a question. In the detailed blog post, you mention starting the turkey breast side down and not turning it. But in the recipe card, you say turn breast side up. Also, I know nothing about wine so could you suggest a type of wine to use. Thank you.
Sorry that was confusing for you, Barbara. That was just one of the suggestions of different ways to keep the breast moist in the FAQ section. I specifically say that I don't bother with it, but that it is an option. I find the best way to keep the breast moist is to take it out when the thigh temp is at about 160 degrees. I don't start breast side down for this recipe.
Mary L Buzzell says
I have made this numerous times and can attest it is the best!
Oh, thank you for this review, Mary!!
Bonnie Leathers says
I also cook the neck and giblets to make more broth for the gravy. Before adding water I brown the neck in a little oil and butter. I think it adds more flavor--you know, all those layers the TV chefs talk about. Take care and have a joyous holidays.
Bonnie from Eugene
Oh, that sounds delicious - I bet that does add more flavor, Bonnie, I'll have to try that!
Have you roasted a larger turkey using this recipe? I'm wondering if I would need to adjust the times for roasting in steps 4 and 7 if I'm using a 15-16 pound turkey. I've always used a turkey bag for my turkey and I would really like to try your recipe this year. It looks wonderful and so easy also.
Yes, Terri, I've done a 16 pound bird this way before and you're right you do have to adjust the time, though I simply added time to the cooking after removing the foil. I used the time listed for that size bird and tested with an instant read thermometer. I can't remember exactly, but I think it's only about 20-30 minutes more.
Abby Roleau says
I have been making this roasted turkey recipe with our homegrown turkeys for a couple years now, and it is beyond our favorite...STILL. We are a big gravy family, so without a doubt this gravy is outstanding and does not disappoint! I have made this recipe after brining our turkeys for a couple days...amazing! Thanks for the go-to favorite recipe, we will be sharing this with all our turkey customers!
Wow, thank so much, Abby - I'm so glad you like this as much as we do! It really does make the best gravy. 🙂 I'll have to try brining my bird, too.
I have made this turkey numerous times and it is hands down the best turkey and the best gravy! Yum. Going to try your stuffing recipe this year. 🙂
I'm so glad, Mary! Everyone loves the gravy here, too. 🙂 Hope you like the stuffing (I just made this year's version last night for our early T-day dinner...sigh).