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Overnight Turkey Recipe

The overnight turkey delight is an ingenious way of preparing turkey that ensures it's succulent, flavorful, and has a perfectly crispy skin. By cooking the turkey at a low temperature overnight, the meat tenderizes slowly, resulting in a turkey that's incredibly juicy and full of flavor. The mixture of herbs and spices rubbed on the outside of the turkey permeates throughout the meat, ensuring every bite is as delicious as the last.

Overnight Turkey Recipe

Photos of Overnight Turkey Recipe

Most of the ingredients required for this recipe are staples that you probably already have in your kitchen. However, if you don’t have kosher salt and chicken broth readily available, make sure to grab them from your local supermarket. Kosher salt is a coarse-grained salt that's less processed than table salt, it will give the turkey a more robust flavor. As for the chicken broth, it will provide the turkey with additional flavor and keep it moist during the long, slow cooking process.

Ingredients for Overnight Turkey Delight

Turkey: This is the main ingredient of this dish. It's a great source of protein and its flavor pairs well with a variety of herbs and spices.

Unsalted butter: Used to help the spices adhere to the turkey and also add to the flavor of the dish.

Kosher salt: This coarse-grained salt enhances the flavor of the turkey.

Black pepper: Adds heat and a bit of a kick to the turkey.

Garlic powder: Gives the turkey a nice garlicky flavor.

Dried rosemary: Adds a sweet, fragrant flavor to the turkey.

Dried sage: Gives the turkey a warm and earthy flavor.

Chicken broth: Used to keep the turkey moist during cooking and to add extra flavor.

One reader, Aylmar Ayres says:

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This overnight turkey delight recipe is a game-changer! The turkey turns out incredibly juicy and flavorful. The butter and herb mixture creates a mouthwatering aroma. Plus, the long, slow cooking process makes the meat tender and succulent. It's a must-try for any turkey lover!

Aylmar Ayres

Techniques Required for Overnight Turkey Delight

How to prepare the turkey: This involves cleaning and drying the turkey, as well as rubbing it with the butter and seasoning mixture.

How to check the turkey's internal temperature: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the thickest part of the turkey thigh reaches 160 degrees F.

How to rest the turkey: After cooking, allow the turkey to rest for 30 minutes, loosely covered with foil. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moist and flavorful turkey.

How To Make Overnight Turkey

The meat is brushed with rosemary, sage, and garlic powder, then baked for hours for this overnight turkey that’s perfectly brown and crispy.

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 10 hours
Total: 10 hours 30 minutes



  • 16lbturkey,defrosted
  • ½cupunsalted butter,softened
  • 1tbspkosher salt
  • 1tspcoarse ground black pepper
  • 1tspgarlic powder
  • 1tspdried rosemary
  • 1tspdried sage
  • 32ozchicken broth


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees F. (If theoven has a minimum temperature of 200 degrees, set it to 200 F, but the turkey will likely be done sooner, so use a meat thermometer.)

  2. In a medium bowl, mash together the butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, and sage.

  3. Dry the turkey well inside and out with paper towels, then rub the butter mixture all over the outside of the turkey.

  4. Put the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up, then pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the pan.

  5. Tent the roasting pan with aluminum foil but make sure the foil is not touching the turkey.

  6. Cook the turkey for 9 hours.

  7. Use a meat thermometer to check the turkey’s internal temperature. Make sure the thickest part of the turkey thigh is at 160 degrees F.

  8. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F, remove the foil tent, and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the skin is browned and crispy.

  9. Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes, with the foil loosely covering the turkey.


  • Calories: 461.63kcal
  • Fat: 20.51g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.70g
  • Trans Fat: 0.33g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 6.47g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.47g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.86g
  • Fiber: 0.07g
  • Sugar: 0.78g
  • Protein: 63.81g
  • Cholesterol: 219.86mg
  • Sodium: 603.41mg
  • Calcium: 35.83mg
  • Potassium: 692.97mg
  • Iron: 2.61mg
  • Vitamin A: 80.95µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.11mg

Helpful Technique Tip for Making Overnight Turkey Delight

To ensure that your turkey is moist and flavorful, it's important to thoroughly dry it before applying the butter mixture. This allows the butter and seasonings to adhere better to the turkey, resulting in a more flavorful bird. Additionally, using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey is crucial to avoid overcooking. Remember, the turkey will continue to cook as it rests, so it's best to remove it from the oven when it's slightly under the desired temperature.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Recipe

Prep ahead: Prepare the butter mixture and rub it on the turkey the night before. This will save time on the day of cooking.

Use a roasting bag: Cooking the turkey in a roasting bag can help reduce cooking time and keep the turkey moist.

Invest in a meat thermometer: Using a meat thermometer ensures the turkey is cooked perfectly without the need for constant checking.

Carve in advance: Carve the turkey before serving and reheat the slices in the oven with some broth to save time during meal service.

Make a schedule: Plan out your cooking schedule in advance to ensure everything is ready on time.

Substitute Ingredients For Overnight Turkey Recipe

  • turkey - Substitute with chicken: Chicken can be used as a substitute for turkey in this recipe, providing a similar texture and flavor profile.

  • unsalted butter - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil can be used as a healthier alternative to butter, adding a different flavor profile to the dish.

  • kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for kosher salt, providing a similar level of salinity to the dish.

  • coarse ground black pepper - Substitute with crushed red pepper flakes: Crushed red pepper flakes can add a spicy kick similar to black pepper, enhancing the flavor of the dish.

  • garlic powder - Substitute with minced fresh garlic: Fresh minced garlic can be used as a substitute for garlic powder, providing a more intense and aromatic garlic flavor.

  • dried rosemary - Substitute with dried thyme: Dried thyme can be used as a substitute for rosemary, providing a similar earthy and herbal flavor to the dish.

  • dried sage - Substitute with dried oregano: Dried oregano can be used as a substitute for sage, adding a slightly different herbaceous flavor to the dish.

  • chicken broth - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can be used as a substitute for chicken broth, providing a lighter and slightly different flavor to the dish.

Presenting Your Overnight Turkey Delight

  1. Elevate the turkey: Carefully carve the turkey into elegant slices, arranging them on a large platter with decorative garnishes such as fresh herbs and edible flowers.

  2. Create a stunning gravy boat: Present the rich, flavorful gravy in a stylish, porcelain or copper gravy boat, adding a touch of sophistication to the table setting.

  3. Garnish with seasonal produce: Adorn the serving platter with vibrant, seasonal fruits and vegetables such as pomegranate seeds, kumquats, and fresh herbs for a visually appealing and fresh presentation.

  4. Incorporate elegant serving utensils: Use polished silver or gold serving utensils to add a touch of luxury and refinement to the dining experience.

  5. Present on a grand serving dish: Showcase the beautifully roasted turkey on an exquisite ceramic or marble serving dish, creating a focal point at the dining table.

  6. Enhance with ambient lighting: Set the stage with soft, warm lighting to create an inviting and intimate ambiance, allowing the dish to take center stage.

  7. Offer a variety of textures: Complement the turkey with a selection of crispy, crunchy, and creamy accompaniments to add depth and complexity to the overall dining experience.

  8. Serve with artisanal bread: Accompany the turkey with a selection of freshly baked artisanal breads and flavored butters for a sophisticated and indulgent touch.

Essential Tools for Making This Turkey Recipe

  • Oven: A kitchen appliance used for baking or roasting food by surrounding it with dry heat.
  • Roasting pan: A deep, wide pan used for roasting meats or vegetables in the oven.
  • Meat thermometer: A tool used to measure the internal temperature of meat and poultry to ensure they are cooked to a safe temperature.
  • Aluminum foil: A thin, pliable sheet of aluminum used to cover and protect food during cooking.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for mixing ingredients together.
  • Basting brush: A cooking utensil used to apply liquid, such as melted butter or marinade, to food during the cooking process.
  • Rack: A metal or wire framework used to hold and elevate the turkey in the roasting pan, allowing heat to circulate around the meat.
  • Knife: A tool used for cutting and preparing the turkey and other ingredients.
  • Medium bowl: A bowl used for mashing together the butter and seasonings for the turkey rub.
  • Measuring spoons: Utensils used to measure small amounts of ingredients accurately.
  • Measuring cup: A container used to measure liquid or dry ingredients accurately.
  • Foil tent: A method of covering the roasting pan with aluminum foil to create a tent-like structure over the turkey during the initial cooking process.

Storing and Freezing Your Turkey Delight

  • Allow the turkey to cool completely before storing or freezing. This may take up to an hour.
  • Slice the turkey into portions suitable for storing or freezing. Place the slices into airtight containers or freezer bags.
  • If storing in the refrigerator, consume the turkey within 3-4 days for optimal freshness and flavor.
  • For freezing, remove as much air as possible from the freezer bags before sealing to prevent freezer burn. Label the bags with the date and contents.
  • Frozen turkey can be stored for up to 4 months in the freezer.
  • To reheat, thaw the turkey in the refrigerator overnight. Place the slices in a baking dish, add a small amount of chicken broth or water to keep the meat moist, and cover with foil. Reheat in a preheated 325°F oven until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Alternatively, you can reheat the turkey slices in the microwave. Place the slices on a microwave-safe plate, add a small amount of liquid, and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on medium power until heated through, checking every 30 seconds to avoid overheating.

How To Reheat Leftover Turkey Delight

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C). Place the leftover turkey in a baking dish and add a splash of chicken broth or water to keep it moist. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the turkey is heated through.

  • For a quicker option, use the microwave. Place the turkey slices on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes per pound, or until the turkey is steaming hot.

  • If you have a lot of leftover turkey, consider making a delicious turkey sandwich. Toast some bread, add a layer of cranberry sauce, followed by the reheated turkey, and top it off with some lettuce and mayo for a tasty lunch.

  • Transform your leftover turkey into a comforting turkey pot pie. Dice the turkey and mix it with sautéed vegetables, gravy, and seasonings. Pour the mixture into a pie crust, cover with another crust, and bake until golden brown.

  • Create a flavorful turkey salad by chopping up the leftover turkey and mixing it with diced celery, red onion, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and fresh herbs like parsley or dill. Serve the salad on a bed of greens or as a sandwich filling.

  • Use your leftover turkey to make a hearty turkey soup. Simmer the turkey bones with vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions to make a flavorful broth. Remove the bones, shred the remaining turkey meat, and add it back to the soup along with some noodles or rice.

Interesting Fact About Overnight Turkey Delight

The turkey delight recipe is a great option for busy holidays, as it allows you to prepare the turkey the night before and have it ready to cook the next day. This recipe is perfect for those who want to save time and effort on the day of the big meal.

Is This Turkey Recipe Budget-Friendly for Home Cooking?

The cost-effectiveness of this overnight turkey delight recipe is quite high. The ingredients are relatively affordable and can be found in most households. The 16 lb turkey can feed a family of 4 for several meals, making it a cost-effective option. The overall verdict for this recipe is a solid 9. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $30, making it a budget-friendly and delicious choice for a special occasion or holiday meal.

Is This Turkey Delight Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

The overnight turkey delight recipe, while flavorful, may not be the healthiest option due to its high butter content and long cooking time. The use of butter, which is high in saturated fat, can contribute to increased risk of heart disease and other health issues if consumed in excess. Additionally, the extended cooking time at a low temperature may lead to the formation of harmful compounds such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been linked to cancer.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of butter used or replace it with a healthier alternative such as olive oil or avocado oil
  • Use a mixture of herbs and spices to add flavor without relying heavily on salt and fat
  • Cook the turkey at a higher temperature (325-350°F) for a shorter duration to minimize the formation of harmful compounds
  • Incorporate more vegetables into the dish, such as roasted root vegetables or a side salad, to increase nutrient density and fiber content
  • Opt for a leaner cut of turkey, such as the breast, to reduce overall fat content
  • Use low-sodium chicken broth to control salt intake

Editor's Opinion on This Overnight Turkey Delight

This overnight turkey delight recipe offers a unique approach to cooking a turkey, resulting in tender, flavorful meat. The long, slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld and the meat to become incredibly juicy. However, it's important to ensure the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature. Additionally, the final step of crisping the skin at a higher temperature adds a lovely texture. Overall, this recipe promises a delicious and succulent turkey, perfect for a special occasion or holiday feast.

Enhance Your Overnight Turkey Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and chives, topped with a dollop of melted butter.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts: Crispy roasted brussel sprouts drizzled with balsamic glaze and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
Cranberry Orange Relish: Tangy cranberry orange relish with a touch of cinnamon and a hint of sweetness from honey.

Similar Recipes to Overnight Turkey Delight

Savory Beef Stew: This hearty beef stew is packed with tender chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes in a rich and flavorful broth. It's the perfect comfort food for a cozy night in.
Citrus Grilled Chicken: Marinated in a zesty blend of citrus juices and herbs, this grilled chicken is bursting with fresh and tangy flavors. It's a light and refreshing dish that's perfect for a summer barbecue.
Mango Coconut Panna Cotta: Indulge in the creamy and tropical flavors of this mango coconut panna cotta. Topped with fresh mango slices and a drizzle of coconut milk, it's a delightful dessert that's sure to impress.

Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Overnight Turkey Delight

Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are the perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal. Filled with a delicious mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs, they are sure to impress your guests.
Caprese Skewers: These colorful and flavorful caprese skewers are a refreshing and light appetizer option. With juicy cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant basil, they are a delightful way to start any gathering.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth after a delicious meal.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of baked apples, cinnamon, and a crispy oat topping. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful combination of textures and tastes.

Why trust this Overnight Turkey Recipe:

This recipe guarantees a succulent turkey with a flavorful herb butter rub, ensuring a mouthwatering experience. The use of unsalted butter and a blend of kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, dried rosemary, and dried sage creates a harmonious infusion of flavors. Additionally, the inclusion of chicken broth ensures a moist and tender turkey. The slow roasting process allows the flavors to meld, resulting in a delectable turkey that will undoubtedly impress and satisfy any discerning palate.

Share your thoughts and experiences with this overnight turkey recipe in the Cooking Techniques forum section.
How long should I cook the turkey?
You should cook the turkey for 9 hours at 180°F. If your oven's minimum temperature is 200°F, set it to that temperature, but the turkey will likely be done sooner, so use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter?
Yes, you can use salted butter, but you may want to adjust the amount of additional salt you add to the butter mixture to avoid over-salting the turkey.
Do I need to baste the turkey while it's cooking?
No, you don't need to baste the turkey. The butter mixture and chicken broth will keep the turkey moist and flavorful as it cooks.
Can I use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs?
Yes, you can use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs. Just keep in mind that the flavor intensity may differ, so you may need to adjust the quantities to your taste.
What should I do if my oven doesn't go as low as 180°F?
If your oven's minimum temperature is higher than 180°F, set it to the lowest temperature possible and use a meat thermometer to monitor the turkey's doneness.

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