My First Roast Turkey!

I have been blessed with so very many things to be thankful for, this past year has been full of love and new beginnings-both of the four legged (adopting Sully) and the two legged (John) variety, moving to a new city, and adapting to new challenges as they’re presented. Unfortunately this year we would not get to spend Thanksgiving with family, and we missed them all a bunch.  That being said, I welcomed the opportunity of creating new traditions with my new family unit and the challenge of my first turkey.  This year was my first Thanksgiving preparing and cooking the big meal all by myself, with the added curveball of the requirement of being gluten and dairy free.  Sounds like a deal breaker, right? WRONG! Believe me it definitely wasn’t. I did have a majority of the meal prepped and ready to go prior to Thursday though, but that was for my own sanity (and John’s).  We had quite the smorgasbord of delectable dishes (including bacon broccoli bake, candied sweet potato casserole, gf/df stuffing, gf/df homemade roasted garlic rosemary craisin dinner rolls) and a bird that was to DIE for.  None of which you would have known were gluten & dairy free unless I revealed the secret.

After contemplating shoving Mr. Turkey in my slow cooker, I decided to go all out and toss him in a haphazardly ‘home-made’ roasting pan and warm the apartment up with the warmth (and yummy smells) of the oven & turkey love for those 3+ hours.

Now to the good stuff, the recipe for the juicy, flavorful, beautiful, turkey (complete with dairy free compound butter recipe):


Compound Butter:

1-2 sticks butter (I used smart balance flax seed oil butter with NO diary ingredients)

1 TBS rosemary, finely chopped

1 TBS thyme, finely chopped

1 TBS sage, finely chopped

5 garlic cloves, finely minced (omit for low-FODMAP friendly)


Whole turkey

2 medium onions (not low-FODMAP, but will be discarded after roasting turkey)

3 celery stalks (not low-FODMAP, but will be discarded after roasting turkey)

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

compound butter

8-10 baby bell peppers (optional)

1-2 cups chicken stock (home-made chicken/turkey bone broth preferred)

  1. About an hour before you’re ready to season Mr. Turkey, let him come to room temperature. (I let mine sit in the bag on the counter for an hour). While he’s getting to room temperature, go ahead and make your compound butter.
    1. To make compound butter, take 1-2 sticks of butter, 1 TBS rosemary (finely chopped), 1TBS thyme (finely chopped), 1 TBS sage (finely chopped), and 5 cloves garlic finely minced. COMBINE all ingredients in a bowl, then SCOOP the mixture onto some saran wrap then roll into a log and twist the ends shut. Refrigerate your compound butter for about 1 hour.
  2. Take the turkey out of the bag, and dry it off really well. Make sure to dry inside the cavity really well. (I used a bunch of paper towels for this. Making sure the bird is nice and dry will help crisp the skin while roasting)
  3. Salt inside the cavity. Just a nice light dusting.
  4. Go ahead and plop Mr. Turkey in the roasting pan. (if you don’t have a roasting pan, take a bunch of aluminum foil and make an oval shape big enough for the turkey to sit on, then make a line to put in the middle of the oval shape—this will help keep the turkey out of it’s juices as it cooks)
  5. Carefully separate the skin from the meat of the turkey, start from the breast then work your way around the thighs and up into the wings as much as you can. Try to not puncture the skin, but just separate it from the meat so that you can slip some compound butter up under there.
  6. Smother the meat (under the skin) with compound butter! (Doing this helps disperse the seasonings and flavors INTO the meat as well as helping the skin get nice and crisp and beautiful. I put a little on top of the skin between the breasts as well as on each leg for some added yumminess. I also added 2 sprigs of rosemary under the skin –one on each breast, and then one sprig of rosemary in the bird as well.
  7. Peel the skin off of one medium onion of your choice (Vidalia, yellow, white, etc) and pop the whole onion (not sliced) into the cavity of your bird along with 2 sticks of celery with the leaves on.
    1. turkey pre oven
  8. In the roasting pan around the turkey I put some chopped up celery, onion, some baby sweet peppers, and halfway covered the veggies with some chicken stock to keep them from getting scorched.
  9. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F, roast turkey at this high temperature for the first 30 minutes. (This helps crisp the skin by rendering the fat out quickly.) After the first 30 minutes of roasting, add a little more compound butter back to the top and legs of the turkey then lower your oven temperature to 325 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. (For our 9.7 lb turkey it took 2.5 hours to cook at 325 degrees F.) If your turkey starts to get too browned, cover him with a tent of aluminum foil.
  10. DO NOT BASTE. I mean, you can if you’d like, but basting the turkey will not allow the skin to get nice and crispy. If you’re worried about the turkey drying out, don’t. The onion you put inside the cavity will help keep the meat moist since as the onion roasts it will disperse its juices within the cavity.
  11. Lastly and most importantly: let the turkey REST for 15 minutes prior to carving. Allowing the turkey to rest allows the juices to settle and will help your bird be super juicy!

Here’s what ours looked like in all its glory after it was done.

turkey post oven

Good Luck and enjoy the proof that sticking to a strict diet isn’t so difficult!

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