Roast Turkey with Cranberry Sauce Recipe

When it comes to classic holiday dishes, few can rival the mouthwatering appeal of a perfectly roasted turkey paired with a tangy and sweet cranberry sauce. The combination of tender, succulent turkey meat with the vibrant flavors of cranberry creates a culinary symphony that is sure to delight your taste buds and impress your guests. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any special occasion, this roast turkey with cranberry sauce recipe is a timeless favorite that brings people together.

Roast Turkey: A Labor of Love

Roasting a turkey might seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach and a little patience, you can create a masterpiece that’s both visually stunning and incredibly flavorful. Here’s how to do it:


  • 1 whole turkey (12-15 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, and sage)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey broth


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C).
  2. Start by preparing the turkey. Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity, and pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
  3. Mix the softened butter with chopped fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. Carefully loosen the skin over the turkey breast and spread some of the herb butter underneath the skin, directly onto the meat.
  4. Season the inside of the turkey cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with lemon halves, onion quarters, and smashed garlic cloves. These aromatics will infuse the turkey with fantastic flavors as it cooks.
  5. Tie the turkey legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body. This helps the turkey cook evenly.
  6. Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Pour the chicken or turkey broth into the bottom of the pan. This will help keep the turkey moist and create a flavorful base for gravy later.
  7. Cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil and roast it in the preheated oven. Calculate the cooking time based on the weight of the turkey (around 15 minutes per pound). Halfway through cooking, remove the foil to allow the skin to brown.
  8. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature. The thickest part of the thigh should reach 165°F (74°C) when the turkey is done.
  9. Once the turkey reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the oven and tent it with foil. Allow it to rest for about 20-30 minutes before carving. This resting period ensures that the juices redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a moist and tender turkey.

Cranberry Sauce: A Sweet and Tart Accompaniment

No roast turkey is complete without a side of cranberry sauce. This vibrant condiment provides a delightful contrast to the savory turkey, adding a burst of color and flavor to your plate.


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Optional: a cinnamon stick or a pinch of cinnamon


  1. In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest, and orange juice. If using a cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon, add it to the mixture.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens, usually about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Taste and adjust the sweetness to your preference by adding more sugar if desired.
  4. Remove from heat and let the cranberry sauce cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

Bringing It All Together

Once you’ve carved the roast turkey and let it rest, arrange the slices on a serving platter alongside the cranberry sauce. The combination of tender turkey meat with the bright and zesty cranberry sauce creates a harmonious blend of flavors that embodies the spirit of holiday feasting.

Whether you’re celebrating with family, friends, or simply enjoying a special meal, this roast turkey with cranberry sauce recipe is a time-honored tradition that adds warmth and flavor to any occasion. From the tantalizing aroma that fills your kitchen as the turkey roasts to the satisfying moment when you savor that first bite, this dish is a true culinary masterpiece that brings people together in joy and gratitude.

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