Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey Recipe
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This Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey Recipe may sound a little different, but I think you will be surprised at the delicious results. Time and time again this turkey recipe and method has proved to be a real winner and has become the easiest part of a meal during the holiday season.
Over the years, we’ve cooked turkey every which of way: roasted and basted, and basted, and basted with all kinds of combinations of ingredients, roasted in a bag, fried (of course, we’re Southerners), we’ve brined and have gone brine-less. Honestly, I think less is best in my book. Less messing. Less stuff. Less fretting. Less time waiting.
When it comes to cooking turkey, this recipe for a Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey definitely calls for less. Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey is pretty straightforward. And no, it doesn’t taste like mayonnaise. I promise. This is just one of the methods we use to cook turkey, but after great results each time, moist turkey, that tastes like turkey, hands-down, it’s our preferred way so far.
Before I get to the mayo method, let’s talk turkey.
Tips for Cooking Turkey:
- Bigger isn’t always better. A large turkey doesn’t equal large taste. So if you have a big group to feed, I’d recommend getting two smaller turkeys. Smaller turkeys (I’d say 12-13 lbs) are harder to come by, but look for them. Hunt them down.
- No additional “stuff.” You may need to call around to find a turkey without all the junkity-junk, but it’s worth it. You may pay more per pound, but you won’t be paying for all that extra plumping or whatever it is. A good rule of thumb someone once told me is no more than 4 ingredients on the packaging. Remember, less is best.
- Use a meat thermometer and cook for proper time. Turkey doesn’t need to take 4 hours to cook. I promise. Make sure you have a good meat thermometer that stays in the turkey and can be monitored from outside the oven. We like to insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (without touching bone) for monitoring while cooking, but you’ll also want to check the thickest part of the breast before removing from oven, so an externally monitored internal meat thermometer is handy. Whatever meat thermometer(s) you use, just be sure to test them ahead of the big day for accuracy.
- Cook temperature and time for roasting a turkey is basic and simple. Roast high for a short time, then turn down until the internal temperature reaches 165-degrees F. See recipe below for temperatures, etcetera. You’ll be surprised how quickly it reaches the proper internal temperature, depending on size, 2 hours or less!
- Let it rest. That turkey has been working and it’s hot, man. Let it rest, covered, for at least 20-30 minutes (depending on size) before carving. It will help retain the juices and all the goodness. The internal temperature will continue to rise as it rests as well.
- To brine or not to brine? If you like to brine and you’ve got the time, brine away… brine until you dine, in the sunshine, it’ll be fine. We’ve brined and we’ve gone brine-less. Honestly, I tend to be bad at planning, so I usually forget until it’s past the prime time to brine. Plus, I think when you invest in a good turkey, as mentioned before, with no additives or plumped up with extras, not too large, and roasted correctly, you might find that brining may not be all that necessary.
- And finally, practice. Cook turkey more than just during the holidays. Try out different techniques. Brine, don’t brine. Test different basting combos. Feeling confident about cooking your turkey will help make the day of celebrating more enjoyable for you. And tasty too!
How to Cook Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey
Okay, now for the Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey. I know, it sounds weird, but like I said before, it does deliver a moist and tasty bird. And, it’s simple. Let me show you. Mix herbs (fresh or dried) with mayonnaise. We used herbs we had on hand from the garden. Feel free to experiment with different herb and seasoning combinations. And of course, dried herbs may be substituted. Use the 1/3 dried versus fresh rule. Dried herbs are more potent.
Chopped celery, and onion, salt, pepper, and a stick of butter for good measure, round out the ingredients needed, other than the bird.
Prep the turkey in a roasting pan. Make sure it’s thawed y’all, I’ve made that mistake before. Rub the mayo/herb mixture all over and inside of the turkey. Season with salt and pepper, add the celery, onion, inside and out, and tuck the butter in the cavity.
Roast in a 450-degree F oven for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350-degrees F, and insert the meat thermometer at this point in the thickest part of the thigh. Be careful to not touch bone. Some say insert it into the thickest part of the breast, we’ve done that too, but now use the thigh as the measure and then check the breast to make sure it reads the proper temperature as well before removing from oven.
Continue roasting, uncovered, until internal thermometer reaches 165-degrees F. If you’re concerned with the legs getting dried out, cover them partway through cooking with foil. Sometimes I do, this time I didn’t. Keep an eye on it during cooking to see if it’s needed.
Let it rest and carve.
Now enjoy with your favorite side dishes and of course gravy!
Speaking of gravy, save those drippings in the roasting pan. You’ll need those for the gravy. Turkey needs a friend. This Turkey Gravy Recipe will show you how easy it is to make your own gravy.
More delicious recipes to serve with your Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey:
- Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe
- Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe with Pecan Topping
Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey Recipe
Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey
This recipe for a Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey definitely calls for less. It's pretty straightforward. And no, it doesn't taste like mayonnaise. This is just one of the methods we use, but after great results each time, moist turkey, that tastes like turkey, hand-down. It's our preferred method year after year.
- 12-14 lb. whole turkey, (totally thawed, tee-totally thawed)
- 6-7 fresh sage leaves,* rough chopped
- 5-6 fresh thyme stems
- 2-3 springs of rosemary
- 2-3 springs of oregano
- 1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise
- 1-2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1-2 tablespoons pepper
- 3 stalks celery, rough chopped
- 1 large onion, rough chopped
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, salted
- (adjust all seasonings & mayonnaise as needed for size of bird)
- Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.
- Lay turkey in a roasting pan.
- Remove leaves from herbs stems. Add sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano to mayonnaise; combine well. Rub mayonnaise/herb mixture all over outside and interior of bird.
- Liberally salt, and pepper turkey. Add the celery, and onion, inside and out, and tuck the butter in the cavity.
- Roast turkey in 450-degrees F oven for 30 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350-degrees F, and insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, being careful not to touch bone. Continue roasting, uncovered, until internal thermometer reaches 165-degrees F. Cover legs with foil partway through roasting if desired. Depending on size of turkey, total cook time will be around 1 1/2-2 hours. Once the thermometer reaches 165-degrees F in the thigh, check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast to make sure it reads at least 165-degrees F as well.
- Remove from oven. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for at least 20-30 minutes (depending on size) before carving.
- Remember to reserve turkey drippings and juices for gravy.
*Dried herbs may be substituted. A rule of thumb is to use 1/3 dried versus fresh. See more notes in original post.
Anyone ever try low fat or fat free mayo? Same result, or vastly different? Counting calories and trying not to go crazy on Thanksgiving, so any substitutions I can make would be great. Thanks!
I’ve used the mayo recipe for years … my concern is you cooking time recommended. .. if I have a 15 to 20 lbs bird I’m thinking the time should be closer to 4 hrs….can’t handle an under cooked turkey and usually cover for the half of that time … any thoughts?
The cook time shown is for a 12-14 pound turkey, so yes, the cook time should be adjusted accordingly for size of bird.
When you put the bird in the oven initially at 450 degrees before reducing temperature, is the bird covered or uncovered at this point? Thanks!
It is uncovered. Happy turkey cooking!
Hopefully someone will see and answer my ??, every time I try to use one of these roasters, my veggies burn on the bottom cuz not enough juice? SUggestions?? I’m going to try this recipe too:)
The mayonnaise and butter along with the turkey drippings create enough liquid so a small amount of veggies should not burn when using a standard sized roasting pan. I hope it works for you!
I am hosting Thanksgiving Dinner for the first time ever next week and I really want to make this recipe! Unfortunately, my grandpa is severely allergic to eggs. Do you think I could use Vegenaise and still have the same result?
I just checked the ingredients of Vegenaise. It should work in theory, but just to be sure, I would test it first. Maybe try roasting a chicken or just a chicken breast coated with it and see what happens before trying it on a whole turkey on the big day. Another option is to buy a few separate turkey pieces for your grandfather, and cook them in a smaller separate pan or an area sectioned off with heavy duty aluminum foil of the main roasting pan just for him. Please let me know what you end up doing. I’m sure there are others who would like to know if the Vegenaise works.
Hello! Just wanted to let you all know I’ve been using your recipe the last few years with “just mayo” which is a vegan mayo, and it turns out great. Thanks for the recipe!
Great to know, Brooke. Thank you!
I made this and it was incredible! So surprised at how moist it was.
Isn’t it amazing what some mayo can do? 😉
I’ve cooked turkey like this (with Mayo) for years, only my wife won’t let me use anything but salt and pepper. She hates herbs. Go figure. Anyway, I usually tent it in foil for most of the cooking time, then unwrap it and turn up the heat for the last 30-60 minutes so it will brown. Have I been doing it wrong all this time? Please help. Also, please find me a new wife who likes herbs (smile).
If that method has produced a tasty turkey for you, then I think you’re probably good. If you’re curious, it wouldn’t hurt to try it the other way.
P.S. I think it’s more important that your wife likes you than the herbs. 😉
Dear Amy, or should I say Dear Abby? FYI, when a person puts a (smile) after a comment, it means he or she is kidding. My wife has liked me for almost 50 years so I don’t think I need your advise in that area.
Dear Bill, When a person puts a wink after a comment (as I did) that means he/she is kidding also. I knew you were kidding and in the spirit of all things kidding I replied in kind. I apologize if it came across otherwise. Unfortunately a lot can get lost in translation online. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your wife!
My apologies. If that emoticon was on your original post, I didn’t see it. I use my iPhone for such things and emoticons are so small, they just look like a yellow dot. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours too.
I am planning a 20lb turkey (already purchased). Might you have a suggestion on the adjustment I will need for roasting time? I am thinking I will have to double your 2 hours and plan on 4, but I thought I might ask. Thanks!
I would trust the meat thermometer, and plan on 4 hours, but monitor it closely after 3 hours. With that said, when timing the meal around the bird being ready, remember to pad the turkey rest time in there too. Of course if the turkey cooks quicker than the allotted 4 hours, it can certainly rest longer, wrapped tightly to keep warm, while the other dishes (like the gravy!) are finished up.
I’ll be curious to see how long it does take you. If you have time, do you mind leaving another comment here with what the total cook time was for you? I’m sure others would like to know too.
My turkey has always come out awful. I wish I could attribute it to being a vegetarian, but it was awful long before that. I made this last year, and everyone loved it! It was the first Thanksgiving I didn’t feel like a failure. People loved it so much, they went home and tried to duplicate it the next day. I’m making it again tomorrow. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve also posted it to my facebook for my friends and family to use.
That makes my day! I hope y’all have a very lovely Thanksgiving!
I would love to make this tomorrow but I don’t have any fresh herbs readily available… I saw that you said 1/3 the amount of dried vs fresh but how many tsps/tbsps does a spring/leave/stem equate to?! Please help 🙂
I would say for this recipe use a TOTAL of 3 tablespoons of dried herbs in whatever combination you prefer.
Do you think the results would be the same in the type of roaster that is plugged in on the counter?
I’m not positive as I’ve never used one of those, but I would think it would be the same if not very similar.
Been using Mayo for years, but never with herbs mixed in the mayo. Doing as suggested for 2 large 21 lbs birds and I KNOW they will turn out awesome! It’s about time to insert the temp probes–the smells and sounds are already building at an equal rate of my anticipation of it’s taste. I look forward to the reactions of my young military guests. Wishing all a Great Thanksgiving.
I hope y’all enjoy them! Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you! Just made this and if it tastes as good as it looks and smells, then we have a winner! Happy Turkey Day!
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope it was a success.
Made this yesterday and everyone loved it! I am doing a second Thanksgiving on Sunday with other family members and I’ll be making it again! Couldn’t be any easier! Thanks for the recipe!
Fantastic! And yay for a second Thanksgiving!
I tried this for Thanksgiving and it was amazing! Everyone kept asking me what I coated the turkey with because it came out perfectly browned and crisp, not to mention moist!!! Thank you so much for sharing.
So happy to hear that! I hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Didn’t make this exact recipe, but did use the mayonnaise trick with some salt and pepper and herbs and stuffed an apple and an onion inside the cavity. Turned out great. The turkey couldn’t have been any juicier!
Sounds perfect! I need to try some apples next time. And maybe some oranges too!
I made my first turkey using this recipe and it came out amazing! It was the best tasting turkey I’ve ever had. I used roasted garlic salt instead of regular salt and it really brought out the herbs. Such a great recipe, thanks!
Yay! I’m totally going to substitute the garlic salt out for regular next time. I bet that was good!
This looks amazing and I’m planning on making it this year. But some of my guest this year are Jewish and can’t have the butter in the cavity. Do you suggest that I just use a non dairy butter substitute or do you recommend something else?
I would rub the cavity with oil and more mayonnaise and skip the butter.
I made this turkey for my first thanksgiving! My over turned off mid cooking, and it still came out AMAZING!!!! This is my go to recipe going forward. Seriously the best.