Overnight Turkey Recipe

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Overnight Roasted Turkey is crispy and golden brown on the outside, while staying moist and juicy on the inside. 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!

I know most of you haven’t tried cooking a turkey overnight, but have you ever considered it?  I have roasted a lot of turkeys in my life and trust me, 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

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HOW TO ROAST AN OVERNIGHT TURKEY

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • Mix the Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and sage into the butter.
  • Rub the herb butter all over the outside of the turkey.
  • Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan breast side up and pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the pan.
  • Tent the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Place the turkey into the oven overnight to cook for approximately 10 hours.
  • 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.
  • Remove the aluminum foil and roast for another 15-20 minutes on high heat until the skin is browned and crispy.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

LOOKING FOR MORE IDEAS FOR YOUR HOLIDAY TURKEY?

WHAT ABOUT THE STUFFING?

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.

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. 

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.

WHAT ABOUT THE GRAVY?

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 I’ve used 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! 

SLOW COOKER HOLIDAY SIDE DISHES

 

VARIATIONS FOR OVERNIGHT TURKEY

  • Poultry Seasoning: 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.
  • Chicken Broth:  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.
  • Turkey Cavity: Some place a celery stalk, small onion and small peeled carrot in the cavity of the turkey while cooking to add flavor.

HOW LONG CAN I STORE AND FREEZE 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 Roasted Turkey with juicy turkey meat

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Overnight Turkey Recipe

5 from 1 vote
  • Yield: 25 servings
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 hours
  • Total Time: 10 hours 30 minutes
  • Course: Main
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

How to Cook a Roast Turkey Overnight with no basting needed!

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

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. 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.)

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

  3. Dry your 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 and make sure the thickest part of the turkey thigh is at 160 degrees.

  8. 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.

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

Nutrition Information

Yield: 25 servings, Amount per serving: 7173 calories, Calories: 7173g, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 977g, Fat: 345g, Saturated Fat: 123g, Cholesterol: 3487mg, Sodium: 10502mg, Potassium: 10100mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 5324g, Calcium: 542g, Iron: 40g

All images and text Ā© for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keywords: Cook Overnight Turkey, Cooking a Turkey Overnight, Overnight Turkey
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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.

See more posts by Sabrina

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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Christmas Holiday Recipes Main Course Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

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Comments

  1. I wish Iā€™d read the review that suggested 10-20 hours first. My turkey did not get done in 10 hours. After carving it and upping the heat to 375 to cook the pieces quickly, I cannot complain about flavor. But it did create a bit of stress before dinner.

  2. Every year, I hear how people stress over making a tender & juicy turkey. How to cook it, is brining necessary, whether to roast the bird on it’s breast, then turn it over on it’s back, to rub the bird with butter under the breast skin?…. etc. I roast my turkey exactly as my grandma & my mom do, and it’s always perfect. We use one of those covered black oval roasting pans w/the little white flakes on it. It has large inverted ‘dimples’ in the cover, so it bastes the bird while it’s cooking. We bake the bird (covered) at the suggested temp. setting until it reaches the safe temperature in the breast & the drumstick. The skin will be lightly browned and beautiful, but if you like it very crispy….take the cover off in the last few minutes of cooking, & turn on the broiler for a few min. This method is foolproof. so there are no pre-Thanksgiving jitters required. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. šŸ™‚

    1. I’ve not tested it using a frozen turkey before so I’m not sure it would have the same outcome due to the extra liquid. Sorry.

  3. Does it make a difference to roast the turkey with the breast side up vs the breast side down?
    I’ve always been told to cook with the breast side down to keep it juicy.

    1. It’s really a personal preference but the USDA recommends breast side up so that’s what I follow. It still comes out completely moist and tender.

  4. Sounds like something I would like to try but it’s just the two of us and we only get a 7-8 turkey breast. Can this smaller bird be cooked the same way??

  5. I was wanting to tru an injectable marinade. Can this be done with this recipe? Also my turkey is 13 lbs. Would I need to decrease the time?

    1. I’ve not tested it using an injectable marinade, sorry. If you’re using a smaller bird, you’ll need to decrease the time but just make sure to cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees f. Make sure to use a meat thermometer to check.

  6. I have been cooking turkeys & roasts almost like this recipe. Years ago, nutritionist, Adelle Davis suggested it. Just put plain turkey [or roast] in a baking pan. Cook at 300 degrees for 1 hour to kill any surface bacteria, turn oven to whatever your meat thermometer says for that meat[160 degrees for turkey] & cook 10-20hrs–don’t cover, can season if you want.
    Comes out great every time!