Overnight Turkey Recipe

25 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 30 minutes

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

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


  • 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


  • 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.



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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  1. Great recipe, super easy. I was dubious about such a low temp but followed instructions, removed the turkey after 9 hours and let it sit under foil and then put it back in the oven a few hours later with the fan on at 360 for 20 mins only. Didn’t want to overcook. Used a hawaiian spice mix with the butter. Came out perfect for Christmas lunch. Now everyone thinks I’m a genius.

  2. I’m a bit of a turkey roasting amateur. The blog instructions, recipe instructions and the video are all slightly different! One says Thyme and the other Rosemary. No biggie – preference will do, but can I put both in the butter mixture – do they go together well?
    Blog says tent the foil tightly, recipe says don’t let it touch the buttered bird and the video shows the foil just lightly resting on top.
    Blog says 200 degrees for 10 hours, recipe says 180 for 9 hours.
    Video doesn’t say anything about turning up to high heat and uncovering for the last 15-20 mins.
    I’m nervous after reading the comments about it not working for quite a few people. But I’ll try it! Since dinner is at 6pm I’m putting it in the oven around 7 or 8am to leave time for resting and carving. Here’s hoping for a great turkey! ?

      1. Hi Sabrina, it turned out fantastic! I bumped it up to 225° as I was late getting it in the oven. I had trouble slathering it with butter – no matter how much I dried the skin the butter would not stick, plus it kept hardening because of the coldness of the bird. When I moved the bird most of the hardened butter cracked and fell off. So I just melted all the butter, put the bird in the roaster and poured it on. I threw a few chunks of onion and a quartered lemon in the cavity and covered it with foil. Used heavy duty foil so it kept its shape better but it was hard not to let it touch the bird. Into the oven and it ended up being done early! Tented it for 30 minutes then put a thick towel over the foil until I was ready to carve – over an hour. Still very hot when I went to carve it. The bird fell apart beautifully! It was moist and tasted great! Thank you. It’s Now Christmas day and I’m about to do it again! Thank you!

  3. Wow! Perfection! Teeheehee ? both were just some of the comments my family gave me when I served them turkey using this method. I’m one of those people who has to do an 11AM & 7PM meal for Thanksgiving. Which can be very hectic. But now thanks to you, I have one less worry. I even took a tip from one of your other reviewers, and put a few strips of fatty bacon over the breasts to help add even more flavor and moisture. Needless to say, I will definitely be using this method for many years to come. Thank you so much from a busy mama in Ohio. ?

  4. I normally don’t leave a comment after my rating but I have to this time. My first turkey dinner, I cooked and it was a hit. The only change I made was 1 granny Smith and 1 fuji apple.

  5. I didn’t see a question about doing just a little over 6lb turkey breast in this method. I’m sure it would be a lesser cooking time, but was wondering if you thought it might work, or would it maybe dry the turkey out? Thanks! Like your recipes!

  6. Will this recipe work for a larger turkey of 22 to 24 pounds? If so, how much longer does it need to cook and how much mor chicken broth needs to be added? Love this recipe and the thought of getting it done early! I saw this recipe last year but was afraid to try it in case it didn’t come out good. I want to try a small bird 14 lbs in the next 2 weeks to see if I get the results that I want. I have tried so many of your recipes and have not been disappointed!

  7. Hi Sabrina.

    I cooked this last night. It did not meet temp at 5 am (after 9 hours).
    I turned it up to 275 and it is just hitting 149 degrees Fahrenheit at 9 a.m.

    I have just turned it up to the 425 to get it up to 165.

    Is this still safe to eat or is it garbage?


    The bird was 14.5 lb

  8. I cooked a turkey in this way overnight and it came out terribly! It was an 11 lb turkey that I cooked for about nine hours. I started the oven at 200 and then moved it up to 225, feeling that 200 was not enough. I also had a tough time spreading the butter/herb marinade. No matter how much I dried the skin, when I tried to put the butter mix on it it just clumped up and would not spread. When i took it out of the oven, it looked positively prehistoric! The spread did not melt all over the body as it looked in the pictures and the skin and meat were all wrinkly and dried out. It is a small oven and it sat on the lowest level so the foil tent did not touch the turkey or the heating element. Help! It is largely inedible and none of the flavor from the marinade came though. Dried out and kind of tough. All around disaster!!

  9. I’m in the middle of making this, so can’t actually comment on the results, but do you realize that most people will be eating Thanksgiving/Easter Dinner in the afternoon or later? I don’t know ANYONE who eats before 1 or 2 p.m. on either of these holidays which means you have to put it in the oven at about 3:30-4:30 a.m. Considering church on Easter, and you are either staying up till 3:30 a.m.+ or dragging yourself out of bed after an hour or two, going back (?) to sleep, getting up again at about 7:30 or 8:00 a.m…. and you have one tired cook/host/cleaner/decorator.

    1. Hi Tawna. This recipe was made because I got hundreds of requests specifically for a lunch turkey option. There are other turkey recipes for dinner that you may prefer!

  10. Best turkey we’ve ever had and was the most popular food on the table this Christmas. Great Recipe, I also rubbed some of the butter under the skin.
    It would be great to also have metric measurements on your recipes, for all of us non-American peeps.

  11. I’ve never cooked a bird before… 19lbs… Thank you for detailed instructions – it was a memorable Christmas feast!

  12. I roasted a 17.5 lb turkey at 180’ in a gas oven over night for 10 hours. Turkey temp was only 131. Roasted another hour at 200’ temp only 140.

  13. When cooking a turkey overnight, it will be ready to carve in the morning and set aside until dinner time. What method do you use to reheat meat prior to serving?

  14. 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!

  15. 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!!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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:)

  19. 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. Hey there! My 15.5 Turkey has been in for 9hours on 180. It’s at about 152. I just upped the temp to 200..do you know how long I should wait until check again? I don’t want to let heat out of oven unnecessarily ?

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

  20. 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

  21. 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.

    1. For those saying the butter mixture won’t rub on…
      I measured my 32 oz stock, poured it in my pan, then used my same measuring cup to add butter to and melt in micro for 40 seconds.
      Then I added my spices to my butter and use a small whisk to blend into a smooth slurry. Then I just pour over my turkey and smooth on with my hand, as needed. It works great.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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

    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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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?

  29. Great recipe Sabrina. Followed it precisely with a 14 lb turkey for 9 hours. (Added oranges and onions in cavity) New oven (actual temp was 184) Internal temp after 9 hours- 140. Raised oven temp to 375 and cooked turkey for another hour without foil. Then the internal temps were around 185. Used the drippings to make gravy as suggested. Very good gravy. I’d say this was the juiciest turkey I’ve ever cooked. Will use this method again next year – but will probably cook at 200 instead next time. Thank you Sabrina for sharing this excellent turkey recipe. Glad I found it.

    1. You are so kind! Thank you so much for coming back to leave a review! I am going to be testing the recipe for 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 pound turkeys before next Thanksgiving, so I’ll be ready to answer and help with more turkey questions. My original turkey was 16 pounds. Happy Thanksgiving!

  30. Mine isn’t finished yet. It’s been on 180 for 12 hours and the internal temp is only reaching 140. Hopefully it’s done soon. It’s smells amazing!

  31. I cannot comment on how the turkey tastes, but it smells amazing. It has been cooking for 10 1/2 hours and the thigh still doesn’t reach 160 degrees. Hopefully it will be done soon.

  32. Good god. Enough with the crap on the screen. There’s a video that loads on top. (Using my Data!) There’s a flashing banner at the bottom. A border slides in from all four sides for an ad. Search button. Like button. Ads every second paragraph.

    I feel like I’m getting shaken down at the fairgrounds over and over instead of someone sharing something helpful.

    Unlikely to be back

    1. Hi Terry, I’m sorry the ads were so overwhelming. An ad company controls for them me so I don’t pick them out but because the recipes are all free it is the only source of income we have. I’m sorry to have lost you as a reader. Have a happy thanksgiving.

  33. Beware when using a small turkey. We have 11.66 lb turkey so I put it in as late as I could before bed (1:00 am). Slept in a bit and checked it at 8:22 am and the thigh was already at 172 and the breast was already over 180. We plan on eating around 1:00 or 2:00 pm, so for a small bird this could easily have been started early in the morning (5 or 6 am) then go back to bed for a bit. One disclaimer…..we used one of those traditional roasting pans (like ma and grandma used…..black oval pan with its own lid). Any comments on whether it makes a difference using one of these vs tented aluminum foil would be appreciated.

    1. UPDATE….Even though the small turkey was over cooked and sat for so long before lunch, it still turned out better than conventional cooking. It was only slightly dry and just before we sat down we carved the meat and drizzled some of the pan drippings on the breast meat and popped the platter in the oven to reheat. No one complained about dryness, and the flavor was delicious. My only concern was how long it sat on the counter in the roasting pan before lunch. We actually ate around 2:00 pm so it sat on the counter for about 5 and a half hours. No one is sick yet…LOL. In the end however, I will start this process early in the morning if ever cooking a smaller turkey. My guess is that the 11.66 lb turkey reached 160 degrees in the thigh in about 7 hours or less. Leftovers at around 8:00 pm were just as good!

      1. Glad it still turned out well and thank you so much for coming and letting me know how it turned out! I am so glad you had a good Thanksgiving dinner!

  34. After 10 hours you still couldn’t tell you were cooking a turkey, usually the house smells like turkey.
    Wasn’t sure what to do since I needed this turkey done by now so I turned up the oven and I’m hoping for the best.

    1. You should have a browned and delicious turkey. Have you taken the temperature of it? I would test the temperature before turning up the oven? How does it look?

    1. Hi Ray, I’ve only tested this for a 14-16 pound turkey but in the comments more people have experience with larger birds. Hope that helps! Next year I’ll have more weights tested. Happy thanksgiving!

  35. I do the exact same thing as Diane. It is the best turkey. I cook a 20 pound turkey and put on at midnight and eat at noon.

  36. This seems like a great idea and is currently in the works, but I have a concern.

    The “danger zone” for foodborne illness is 130f for about 4 hours if I am correct. Would this not be an issue at such a low temperature. The turkey is currently in the oven at 250 for the first few minutes to attempt to mitigate this issue to get past 130 and then I will drop it down to about 180-200 for the long cook.


    I love that you are making replying to comments on this!

    1. That’s a similar concern for people who use slow cookers. How do we ensure food safety with how long it may take that roast to come to temperature. When I tested the recipe I did it with a thermometer probe in it to watch the temps over time. I found it left the danger zone before 2 hours and stayed at a safe temperature throughout the cooking process. This depends on the fact that we are using a specific turkey size, any larger is not tested to be safe (which I mentioned too) and of course no stuffing which would be a food safety issue. I think if you try it with the right sized bird you’ll see it passes the timing test. Happy thanksgiving!

    1. No, the overnight recipe really does depend on the smaller size. I wouldn’t know the right timing/instructions to give to you to ensure it was safe to eat. I wish I could help more! Happy Thanksgiving!

      1. Hi,
        I have roasted a 20-22 pound Turkey overnight for the last 30 years. You take the normal cooking time for the size bird you are cooking and multiply it by 3. this will give you the correct time. Preheat oven to 350 and cook bird at that temperature for 1 hr then lower the temp to 180-200 degrees. Your bird will self base. If you stuff it the stuffing can be soggy. I also place the bird breast side down . I know this is not the conventional way to roast the Turkey. But it is the best way if you are roasting your bird all night. When the Turkey reaches the correct Temp you may leave it in the oven until you are ready to take it out to rest before carving. Good Morning Ce ?

        1. Thank you for this Diane! I will test out the theory next week with a few different sized birds so I can add that data (tested) to the post. I appreciate you! Happy Thanksgiving!

  37. I’m going to try this for my Thanksgiving this year. First time I tried a turkey it wasn’t done when it was supposed to be according to the directions! Hoping this one turns out great!

    1. As long as your turkey weighs in the right range you’ll be good to go! Do not use the method for larger turkeys though, it will be underdone. Happy thanksgiving! Hope your turkey is a hit!

      1. My bird weighs 12.22 pounds. Was thinking it would be done a little sooner so I’ll check internal temp after 8 hours. Sound right?

        1. I haven’t tested it at a smaller weight, but there are other commenters here who’ve been doing alternate weights for years who have a formula going. I think at 7-8 hours you’re good to go but I can’t say that with certainty as I haven’t tried it. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Regular oven temperature, no convection it will raise the effective temperature by 25 degrees. Happy Thanksgiving!

      1. As long as it’s large enough, sturdy enough and doesn’t leak I think you’ll be fine! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Maryann! No, this recipe wouldn’t be the right one for you, it is only calibrated by the much smaller turkey and does not include stuffing in it (I have been certified as a food safety manager and the science on stuffing is not sound enough for me to create recipes on here with stuffing inside of turkey. I wish I had a timetable for an overnight cooking for you, but I don’t. Have you considered a standard cooking time on the turkey and pushing the stuffing to a slow cooker? I have quite a few stovetop/slow cooker options for sides on the site on the Thanksgiving Page. Without the stuffing you could cut down your cooking time on your bird significantly to 5 hours which means in at 10 out at 3? Happy Thanksgiving!

  38. I’m going to try this for Thanksgiving tomorrow but I’m confused. Someone below said it needs to cook between 10-20 hours. I’m cooking a 16 lb bird and plan to eat around 6:00 so I was going to put it in the oven at 6:00 a.m. Is that correct or will it take longer? Thank you!

    1. The whole turkey? What slow cooker do you use? Would love to try it. Or do you mean add stuffing to a turkey in the oven?

  39. So I figured with a 24 pound bird, cooking approximately 10-10 ½ hours would be sufficient with reading the comments the recipe then calls for 15-20 to crisp skin and half an hour to rest. So 11 ½-12 hours in entirety. At a noon dinner that’s still midnight.. I’m not sure how over night would be utilized. As 12 hours from 10pm is 10am and I’m not eating Thanksgiving breakfast ? so I gotta figure out the best line of attack.

  40. Sabrina,

    I’d like to say that I used some variation of your cooking last year. My turkey turned out awesome! I did not do an overnight bird, but I put it in early and low for a 5:00 dinner. My family was like, “You’ll never have dinner ready that early!” but I did. The turkey was awesome and flavorful. Great bird. Even though it was cooked low and slow, the rest time is still super important. I recommend 30 minutes just based on my 20-pound bird last year.

    I’ve got a 20-pound bird again for this year and will start the bird early in the day, planning for a 4:00 dinner (well, I’ll give my company a drink or two while the bird rests because 4:00 is way too early for me to eat lol).

    I do plan to add a rosemary/garlic butter under the skin because…why not? It’s Thanksgiving!

    One more thing! I LOVE the way that you still reply to the people who follow you or are reading your recipes. You are engaged, and that is so awesome in this day of being online and disconnected with face-to-face contact. So kudos to you for your passion and commitment!

      1. I haven’t tested a larger bird for overnight cooking so I couldn’t direct you and feel good about 1. not poisoning you and 2. not ruining. your holiday meal. I am so sorry I can’t help more. Happy Thanksgiving, I hope the recipe you decide on will be delicious!

  41. I will try this cooking method for the first time this thanksgiving.

    Since the turkey will take up most of my oven, and I still need to make sides. How do I reheat the turkey when it’s time to serve…without overcooking?

  42. So the turkey will be done a couple hours before time to eat. Which leaves time for dressing etc to be cooked. How do I reheat the turkey when it’s time to eat without it becoming dry?

    1. You can wrap the turkey in foil and place a kitchen towel over it to keep the meat warm and moist until it’s time to be carved and served. For another option, cover the bird with foil and return it to a low-temperature, 200F oven. Place a pan of water under the turkey to create steam, which contributes to moistness. Hope this helps!

    1. This recipe was written for a 14-16 pound turkey so you’ll be able to following the recipe card exactly (around 9 hours). Enjoy!

      1. You state 9 hours cooking time for 14 – 16 lbs. Is that the cooking time before uncovering for the additional browning, or the total time until final doneness ?

        1. Yes, that’s the cook time before raising the oven temp and removing the foil. Hope this helps clear up any confusion.

    1. You might need around 10 and a half hours for that big of a bird. Just make sure to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Enjoy!

    2. How can this turkey be reheated without over drying? If I cook it overnight, and then take out so I can cook the rest of my meal…please advise how to re-warm

      1. To reheat the turkey, put the meat back in a roasting pan, pour a bit of chicken stock over the turkey to keep it moist, and cover. Bake in a 325ºF oven alongside side dishes for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the bird.

        1. To reheat the turkey so that it doesn’t dry out heat up the broth that you are going to pour over the turkey make it real hot and let it set in the hot juice no need to put in the oven,,,just keep your gravy good and hot…and your ready to serve hot turkey

  43. Hello – If my Turkey is 20 pounds, and I slow cook it like you mentioned how much longer beyond the 10 hours would I need to cook it? The recipe you posted is only for a 15 pound Turkey. Please Help!


    Thank You

  44. This sounds delicious, I’m going to try this year! Do you rub the butter just outside or under the skin too? Is 10
    Hours pretty accurate? I have a 15lb bird.

    1. I only rub the butter mixture on the outside of the turkey. I’d check it with a meat thermometer around the 9 hour mark and go from there. Good luck!

  45. I love the simplicity of this recipe! I am cooking a mini thanksgiving this weekend for my daughter and our immediate family as she will be leaving for bootcamp and not be able to attend big Thanksgiving this year. I’m wondering what kind of timing you would use for a slightly smaller Turkey? Mine is 10.5 lbs. Thanks so much in advance!

    1. That’s so wonderful for you to get the chance to celebrate early! I haven’t tested it using that small of a bird before and usually don’t recommend this method due to the fact that they can tend to dry out because they don’t need as long to roast as a bigger bird. If you decide to try, it will take less time and you need to make sure to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature as to not overcook it. Good luck!

  46. I’ve cooked turkey overnite for years. Adelle Davis, a nutritionist said just rinse it & put it in a roasting pan at 300 degrees for 1 hour to kill any bacteria & then turn to oven to temperature indicated on a meat thermometer[180-195]. Season if desired, do not cover. Can leave overnite or up to 20-25 hours. Crispy on outside, moist inside

  47. P.s. the in-laws were able to taste from a distance as my husband delivered them each a meal!

  48. WOW!! I seriously cannot express this enough!!! I NEVER cooked a turkey in my life and she isn’t lying when she said that you really don’t have to look through millions of recipes and try several times to get your turkey right——because you can just use this one!!! I am a mom of two and recently had to teach myself to cook and when we had to spend easter without everyone else i had to think quickly for a fulfilling meal for my little family. I made my turkey with this recipe, only i used bouillon cubes to make my broth and Italian seasoning for the seasonings, and it was such a HIT!!! All of my in-laws scarfed it up and even came asking me where i got the recipe! So, the searching stops here, TRUST! It’s a MUST!!

    BTW, with all the extra juices, making mashed potatoes is a must! I did not make any because i already made all my sides, but i SOOOOO regret it! The juices were so good over the shredded turkey as well as stuffing!!

    1. Oh my goodness, thank you for the kind words! I’m so glad you decided to give this recipe a try and love it so much. I appreciate the 5 stars.

        1. Do not use this method unless you are planning on having Thanksgiving Breakfast. I just put an 11.66 pound turkey in at 1:00am. I slept in, so I got up at 8:22am, and the temperature in the thigh was already at 172. The breast was already over 180. We are planning on eating around 1:00 pm, so we will see if it turns out too dry. Next time I use a small bird, I will get up at 5 or 6 am to put in the oven.

          1. Hi George, I’m so sorry that turned out overdone for you, the size of the turkey is what made the difference here. It needs to be 14-16 pounds for the timing. I hope the turkey is still delicious and that you have a wonderful thanksgiving.

    1. So sorry I’m just now seeing this. You can use water with a bit of butter or oil to mimic the fat in chicken broth.

  49. You’ve made a very convincing case for using the oven as a crockpot! Love this idea, and appreciate the effort you took to write such a comprehensive post. 🙂

  50. Your flavorful turkey recipe sounds amazing! Yes, it takes time to make it, but it is worth efforts to make this deliciousness. More, it will serve dinners for a few days afterwords:)

  51. So many people prefer an early holiday dinner, especially if little kids and seniors are joining the feast! This is genius! Thanks for sharing this method!

  52. I have made this slow cooking turkey for over 30 years, you need to cook first hour on 350 and than drop it to 185-200..remember many ovens stop after 12 hours so you have to stop it and set it again for the rest of the time..it is juicy without adding chicken broth to it, So darn good.

  53. I wish I’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.

    1. yes needs more than ten hours for certain….if the package says 5 hours it is three times that amount 15 hour..the bigger the bird the more you need to keep it in.. Cannot over cook after 19 1/2 hours.

    1. I’ve not tested it so I’m not sure of the exact time. I would recommend using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature for doneness.

    1. I haven’t tested it using that small of a bird. I would make sure to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature as to not overcook it.

  54. 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. 🙂

    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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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??

  57. 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.

  58. 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!