Overnight Turkey Recipe

Overnight Roasted Turkey is crispy and golden brown on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside with no basting needed and easy gravy! With just 15 minutes of prep this turkey cooks all night long with no basting needed!

Most people are used to the traditional Roast Turkey Recipe you’ll find on our site. Along with other easy Holiday Recipes you can make in your slow cooker, you could put the recipes together the night before and wake up to a fully prepared feast without any of the extra work!

How to Cook a Turkey Overnight

OVERNIGHT TURKEY RECIPE

You may be wondering, why cook an overnight turkey? This recipe is perfect for those of you who like to serve Thanksgiving lunch!

There are many readers who’ve been reaching out for help with preparing Thanksgiving lunch vs. a Thanksgiving dinner. For those of you who find yourselves in this position, you do not have to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning anymore to start cooking. Let your oven act like a crockpot overnight!

Most people haven’t tried cooking a turkey overnight, but have you ever considered it? This Overnight Turkey Recipe will change your life… in a good way. You can slow roast a turkey overnight without checking on it periodically.

Roasting a turkey is so much easier when cooked overnight. This slow-roasted Overnight Turkey Recipe is hands free once it’s in the oven.

With this recipe, you can rest, literally, assured that your turkey will be ok when you wake up. Not just ok, your turkey will be moist and tender and ready for your finishing touches before you place it on the Thanksgiving turkey serving platter.

OTHER HOLIDAY SIDE DISH RECIPES

Overnight Roasted Turkey vs. Classic Roasted Turkey

A typical roasting temperature is around 325 degrees F for up to 8 hours depending on the size of your turkey.

As you slowly roast your turkey overnight at 200 degrees F for approximately 10 hours, the low temperature and moisture is basting your turkey while you sleep.  No need to baste your turkey.

Cooking Turkey Overnight in large pan

HOW TO ROAST AN OVERNIGHT TURKEY

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Mix the Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and sage into the butter.
  3. Rub the herb butter all over the outside of the turkey.
  4. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan breast side up and pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Tent the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil.
  6. Place the turkey into the oven overnight to cook for approximately 10 hours.
  7. Use a meat thermometer to check the turkey’s internal temperature at the thickest part of the thigh and in the turkey breast. Once the turkey breast has reached a temperature of 160 degrees, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees.
  8. Remove the aluminum foil and roast for another 15-20 minutes on high heat until the skin is browned and crispy.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

MORE IDEAS FOR YOUR HOLIDAY TURKEY

STUFFING FOR OVERNIGHT TURKEY

Do not stuff a slow cooked turkey. Grandma’s favorite stuffing recipe (normally cooked in the cavity of the turkey) will be a flop because the low temperature and moisture overnight will make it a soggy mess.

Stuffing is best cooked separately at all times for food safety reasons. By the time the liquid from the turkey (that the stuffing has absorbed) reaches a food safe temperature, the white meat of the turkey will be overcooked. You are always best to cook them separately.

This Thanksgiving be kind to yourself. Plan for Thanksgiving dinner to be around Noon.  Both the Overnight Turkey and the Slow Cooker Stuffing will be hot and ready to enjoy.

GRAVY FOR OVERNIGHT TURKEY

This recipe calls for 32 oz. of broth to roast your Thanksgiving Turkey in all night long.  Cooked low and slow, the turkey juices will be full and rich with flavor.

This year’s gravy might just be the best gravy you’ve ever had.  Here’s a tried and true recipe tested for years for you to use.

  • Pour the liquid left behind in the roasting pan into a measuring cup and remove as much of the fat (reserve two tablespoons) as you can.
  • Add two tablespoons of your turkey fat into a sauce pan on medium high heat and combine with 2 tablespoons of flour.
  • Whisk and let cook on medium for a minute to cook out the raw flour taste.
  • Add in the rest of the turkey broth and let it cook until thickened, approximately 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Season to taste.

If you’re slow roasting your turkey overnight, you may want to consider doing your entire holiday meal in the slow cooker! Here are more holiday side dish options, all made in the slow cooker!

Overnight Roasted Turkey with juicy turkey meat

SLOW COOKER HOLIDAY SIDE DISHES

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What other seasonings can I use for Overnight Turkey?

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have the seasonings called for in this recipe, you can swap 1 tbsp of poultry seasoning for 2 tsp sage and 1 tsp either dried thyme or marjoram.

What if I don’t have enough chicken broth for this recipe?

You’ve been to the store so many times already and you don’t want to run back for chicken broth? No worries, if you have 1 bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon instant bouillon granules, pour into 1 cup water and Voila! you have 1 cup broth. You’ll need 4 cups of broth to cook a 14 – 16 lb bird.

Should I put anything in the turkey cavity while cooking?

Some place a celery stalk, small onion and small peeled carrot in the cavity of the turkey while cooking to add flavor.

HOW TO STORE OVERNIGHT TURKEY

  • Serve: Once removed from the roasting pan, let the turkey rest 20 – 30 minutes and then carve and serve.
  • Store: Tightly-covered, your leftover turkey will keep in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 days.  Use zipper-type plastic bags.  Leftover stuffing and gravy should be used within a day or so.
  • Freeze: Slice the meat from the turkey and wrap it in freezer paper or foil, then seal in plastic freezer bags (make sure to press out all the air before sealing) or use airtight containers.
Overnight Turkey on plate with stuffing and gravy

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Overnight Turkey Recipe

How to Cook a Roast Turkey Overnight with no basting needed!
Yield 25 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 14-16 lb turkey , defrosted
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 32 ounces chicken broth

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees. (If your oven has a minimum temperature of 200 degrees, set it to 200, but the turkey will likely be done sooner, so use a meat thermometer).
  • In a medium bowl, mash together the butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary and sage.
  • Dry your turkey well inside and out with paper towels, then rub the butter mixture all over the outside of the turkey.
  • Put the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan breast side up then pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the pan.
  • Tent the roasting pan with aluminum foil but make sure the foil is not touching the turkey.
  • Cook the turkey for 9 hours.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the turkey's internal temperature and make sure the thickest part of the turkey thigh is at 160 degrees.
  • Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees, remove the foil tent and cook an additional 15-20 minutes until the skin is browned and crispy.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes, with the foil loosely covering the turkey.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 936mg | Potassium: 645mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 164IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Cook Overnight Turkey, Cooking a Turkey Overnight, Overnight Turkey
Overnight Turkey Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

How to Cook Turkey Overnight collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. Used this recipe for Thanksgiving for our 14 pound turkey and it turned out perfect. Very easy to put it in the oven and come back 9 hours later. Ive tried brining and other cooking methods and this was by far the easiest and turned out great. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Using this recipe and my 16.45 lb Butterball, I made the best turkey I have EVER made!! This recipe makes me WANT to fix turkey again. I just loved it, and we’re loving it every day since. I set the temp to 180 and after 9 hours moved it up to 200 until the turkey made temp. My turkey went in still frozen in the middle, but there was nothing to be done about that so I kept with the plan. Truly delicious and I will recommend this recipe and cooking overnight always. Thank you!!

  3. I will never make a turkey any other way! It was so moist and juicy, even the white meat, which is usually dry. The best turkey I’ve ever eaten, my whole family agreed!

  4. Worked out great! I had a 16.5 lb turkey- I slow roasted at 190* overnight for 11 hours. Was great to wake up to the smell of thanksgiving and to carve and clean up the mess before guests arrived… rave reviews too!

  5. This was awesome. I had a 24lb turkey so i cooked it at 275°F for 8 hours then 350°F for one hour uncovered. I also did a 16lb turkey for my other dinner i had to attend and it was a hit! Following the recipe exactly is the way to go! Super tender and a hit for thanksgiving:)
    They came out deliciously! Only note I have, she probably even mentioned it in the recipe idk; be careful when taking it out of your oven, if your dish or tray isnt deep enough the broth and juices almost overflowed on me:) whoops but over all a very good recipe:)

  6. Used this recipe for a 19 lb. bird (used the herb/butter rub, put some herbs and onions and dark beer in cavity and chicken stock in the bottom of roasting pan). I decided to play it safe and set the oven to 220 and put turkey in at about 11pm, breast side down with foil tent. By 9am internal temp was 152, so I turned temp down to 170. At about 10am, I flipped it over and turned up heat to 450. After 15 minutes, it was nicely browned and took it out to rest (covered again with foil). Carved around 1130. Super moist and delicious. The aroma from the herbs was fabulous and the drippings made wonderful gravy. Thanks for the recipe. I will repeat next year, maybe try 200.

    1. I tried testing larger birds, it did not work out well. So sorry for delay in response, happy thanksgiving!

  7. My mom cooked our turkey overnight for years I finally decided to try it I did one last year for 20 lb turkey at 200 degrees when I got up the next morning I turned it up to 325 it came out moist juicy and brown and cooked all the way through without a problem definitely going to do it again this year

  8. Trying this for the first time with a 14.46 pound turkey. I had a terrible time rubbing the butter mixture on the turkey; it would not stick. The butter sat out for 6 hours to soften. The turkey was refrigerated. I dried and dried the turkey but could not get the butter to stick. Was the turkey too cold? I finally microwaved the butter mixture for a few seconds and poured it over the turkey. Kinda sorta worked. What am I doing wrong? I am planning to roast it overnight and then carve it and freeze until thanksgiving day.

  9. Hi there, how do you recommend I tent the turkey without the foil touching the turkey? I’m looking forward to using this method this year.

  10. If you are starting with a raw turkey does cooking at such a low temperature encourage bacteria growth before it reaches 165°F?

    1. When you wake up the next day, the whole house is going to smell like turkey. The last 15 or 20 minutes is when you remove the foil and raise the heat. I did this recipe last year and everyone in my family loved it. At 180 to 200 degrees at 10 hours, there will be some light browning. If you want darker, crispier skin then keep the turkey in the oven longer at 450. You also have to consider the weight of the bird too. A smaller bird is going to brown quicker than a 20 pounder.

    2. I forgot to mention. After the turkey is browned the internal temp will/ should be well over 165. It worked for me. I hope you guys try this recipe.

  11. I have a 21 lb Turkey
    What temp should I cook it at ?
    And for how long? Also if I don’t have a roasting rack what should I put At the bottom of the tray butter ? Wine? Broth?

    1. I realize this was probably for Easter, so I am so sorry for the delay in replying. The overnight turkey isn’t for a bird that large.

    2. Really, 180? I followed this recipe and after 10 hours it only register 133. I had to put it back in the oven to bake for 2 more hours at 375. Very dissatisfied.

      1. Lisa, the recipe is very specifically tested multiple times based on the weight of the turkey. If your turkey is any bigger at all it will impact the cooking times. We’ve tested it no less than a dozen times and it should not have had that issue for you unless: 1. the turkey is larger, 2. the oven is not calibrated 3. There’s some heat leak in your oven. I’m very sorry it didn’t turn out well for you.

        1. What time should you put the Turkey in the oven if you plan on eating at noon (12:00pm)? The recipe states overnight what does that mean? And I saw that it needs to sitting for 30 minutes and I have one oven and then I need to bake the sides!!! How long can the Turkey safely stay hot while you do this? No one ever tells us how to cook this stuff in order and how to time everything so it comes out perfect. Please help!!!

      2. My mother always cooked our Thanksgiving turkeys overnight at 225 degrees. I have done the same thing for many years and it always comes out great! I’m not at all surprised that your turkey wasn’t done after cooking it at only 180 degrees.

        1. Hello! I’ve done this once before so I know it works. Our Turkey is 18 lbs. Wondering how much I should adjust the time. Thanks!

          1. I haven’t tested overnight turkey at 18 pounds, I don’t know that it would cook through the middle.
            Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. THANK YOU for this recipe. I remember my mom cooked the Turkey overnight but she passed before I was old enough to understand time and temperature for the bird to cook properly. Now I can make it like mom used to make hers.

  13. Hi Sabrina, i have 10lb turkey and want to cook it overnight.
    You say 180 to 200 degrees, but is that farenheight or Celsius and would you know what gas number that would be please.
    Your way of cooking this looks the best i can find.
    I live in the UK.
    Please help. email me please
    Regards
    Alan

    1. It looks like, after consulting google, that it 180 degree oven would be the equivalent to a gas mark of 4. 200 would be a gas mark of 6. I hope this helps, Alan. Enjoy!

  14. Love the recipe and the fact you love BACON so I imagineered then enhanced your recipe by laying strips of bacon all over the bird. Yummie for our tummies.

  15. This is absolutely the best recipe for a turkey I have every come across!
    With spices on hand already, it was so easy to prepare – the prep work was minimal. The directions are for up to a 16lb turkey, but I had a 23lb turkey so I had to adjust a bit with the proportions and the cook time.
    My husband, whom says that Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday, raved about the flavor of the meat – he said it was the best tasting turkey, ever!
    In addition to the delicious taste of the bird, it looked beautiful when fully cooked…but not too good not to eat 🙂

    do yourself and your family a favor and use this recipe from now on when you are cooking a turkey!

    1. Had my bird at 225 for 9 hours. Was STILL RAW. I threw it out. Dinner ruined. This is NOT safe way to cook a turkey!!!

      1. It depends on the size of your turkey. Was it in the right size range? We’ve tested this over 10 time, it is never raw if it is the correct size.

    1. 14.5 pounds and it didn’t hit 160? Bump up temp to 350 it’ll be done in 15 minutes. I’m so sorry you’re still waiting.

      1. Thanks! Similar thing happened to my bird. But only at 140 after 9 hours….I bumped it up to the 450 to brown first, since I already took all the foil off.

        Please let me know if you’d do something different.

          1. Hi Jody, I’m happy to try to help, want to tell me what’s going on? Size of bird, cooked for how long, in oven? what temp?

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