Turkey is underrated, and I'm not ashamed to say that I love it. Turkey is moist, juicy, and flavorful, and I love to eat it year-round. However, I didn't always think of turkey this way. Dry, tough, and flavorless—those are the words I once used to describe this bird. It was not until I made this easy Thanksgiving turkey for myself that I discovered its potential for deliciousness.

This easy Thanksgiving turkey recipe, courtesy of The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, will help you cook up a juicy, tender turkey with a crisp skin. Better yet, you can get it into the oven within two hours, and into your stomach shortly thereafter. 

I love this recipe because it easy to prepare, without sacrificing flavor. Because only the turkey breast is used, you don't have to worry about different parts of the turkey being done at different times; in a whole turkey, the legs, thighs, and breast are done at different temperatures. 

Pro Tip: An instant-read thermometer is a very good investment, especially if you are new to cooking different types of protein. You can find a cheap, effective one here

Easy Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

  • Prep Time:45 mins
  • Cook Time:2 hrs
  • Total Time:2 hrs 45 mins
  • Servings:6
  • Medium


  • 1 whole bone in skin-on turkey breast 4-5 pounds patted dry
  • 1 recipe Classic Sage and Sausage Stuffing recipe follows
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sydney Cheng
  • Step 1

    Using poultry shears or a knife, cut off any back portion still attached to the turkey breast. Fill the cavity under the turkey breast and under the flap of fat around the neck with stuffing. Transfer the remaining stuffing to a buttered 9 by 13 inch baking dish, then place the turkey on top.

    Sydney Cheng
  • Step 2

    Using your hands, carefully separate the turkey skin from the meat, starting at the bottom of the breast and being careful not to tear the skin. Combine the butter, parley, and oregano in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper and stir with a fork until homogenous. Rub the mixture evenly over and under the turkey skin.

    Sydney Cheng
  • Step 3

    Roast until the stuffing starts to brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the turkey to a wire rack set on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Return the turkey to the oven and continue roasting until the skin is golden brown and crisp and the thickest part of the meat, near the bone, registers 145-150° Fahrenheit. on an instant-read thermometer, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from the oven, transfer to a large plate, and let rest for 20 minutes.

    Sydney Cheng
  • Step 4

    Meanwhile, pour the pan juices over the stuffing. Return the stuffing to the oven and cook until it is golden brown on top and registers 160° Fahrenheit on the thermometer, about 15 minutes.

    Sydney Cheng
  • Step 5

    Carve the turkey, arrange over the stuffing, and serve.

    Sydney Cheng

Classic Sage and Sausage Stuffing

  • Prep Time:35 mins
  • Cook Time:1 hr
  • Total Time:1 hr 35 mins
  • Servings:10
  • Easy


  • 2.5 pounds about 2 loaves high-quality sandwich bread or soft Italian or French bread cut into 3/4 inch dice about 5 quarts
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1.5 pounds sage sausage removed from casing
  • 1 large onion finely chopped about 2 cups
  • 4 large celery stalks finely chopped about 2 cups
  • 2 medium cloves garlic minced or grated about 2 teaspoons
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 4 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken or turkey stock
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sydney Cheng
  • Step 1

    Adjust the oven racks to the lower and upper middle positions. Preheat the oven to 275° F. Spread the bread evenly on two rimmed baking sheets. Stagger the pans on the oven racks and bake, rotating the pans and stirring the bread cubes several times, until the bread is completely dried, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 350° F.

    wheat, bread, toast, sweet, butter, cereal, pastry
    Christin Urso
  • Step 2

    Heat the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the foaming subsides (don't let it brown), about 2 minutes. Add the sausage and mash with a stiff whisk or potato masher to break it up into fine pieces (the largest pieces should be no greater than 1/4 inch), then cook, stirring frequently, until only a few bits of pink remain, about 8 minutes. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and sage and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add half of the stock.

    Sydney Cheng
  • Step 3

    Whisk the remaining stock, eggs, and 3 tablespoons of the parsley in a medium bowl until homogenous. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, slowly pour the egg mixture into the sausage mixture. Add the bread cubes and fold gently until evenly mixed.

    Sydney Cheng
  • Step 4

    Use part of the stuffing to stuff the bird if desired. Transfer the remaining stuffing to buttered 9 by 13 inch baking dish (or 10 by 14 oval dish). Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the stuffing reads 150° F, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until golden brown and crisp on top. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of parley and serve.

    Sydney Cheng

Cranberry Sauce

  • Prep Time:5 mins
  • Cook Time:20 mins
  • Total Time:25 mins
  • Servings:2
  • Easy


  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
jam, sweet, berry, marmalade, gelatin, cranberry sauce, compote
Helena Lin
  • Step 1

    Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the berries start to pop. Mash the berries against the side of the pan with the spoon, then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are completely broken down and have achieved a jam-like consistency. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.

    berry, sweet, cherry, cranberry, pasture
    Ethan Cappello
  • Step 2

    Stir in water in 1-tablespoon increments, if necessary, to adjust to the desired consistency.

    cranberry, berry, sweet, cherry, juice, cranberry sauce
    Chelsea Hawk

And, voila! You have a complete, stress-free Thanksgiving meal, whether you're going home for the holidays or mastering the art of Friendsgiving.