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.
Can I ask what brand of mayonnaise you use? Thank you.
We usually use Duke’s mayonnaise, as well as Kraft Real Mayo from time to time.
The turkey looks divine. But how do I add stuffing to it with all the butter in the cavity. Won’t that be too much butter taste with the dressing that also has butter added to it?
I don’t add stuffing inside of the bird. Is that what you are asking? I cook the stuffing separately.
I found this on Pinterest the other day, and I must say, that is the most amazing looking turnkey I have seen! I can not wait to try this recipe. Two questions, what type of salt did you use and did you put the mayo mixture under the skin of the turnkey?
Hello Kathy! I used kosher salt. I did not put mayo under the skin of the turkey in the photo, but I have done that before. Whatever you would like to do.
I am planning on cooking a 20lb turkey this year and can’t wait to use this method. Do you think cooking it at 325 for 4 hours will still result in a nice browned, crispy skin?
If you follow the recommended cook temperatures (higher heat at first for 30 minutes) then it should still be nice and browned. Most of the browning happens at the start with the higher heat. As far as cooking it for 4 hours at 325-degrees F, I’m not sure what results you will have. My recommendation is to lower the temperature after the initial 30 minutes at 450-degrees F and cook it at 350-degrees until internal thermometer reaches 165-degrees in thickest part of thigh, covering turkey legs (or whole turkey, if needed) to prevent overly browning. I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Do you put the turkey o a rack? Do I put the mayo under the skin? Id not, where?
My roasting pan does have a rack in it, so yes. It’s not totally necessary to have a rack. You can also set the turkey up on thick onion pieces, celery or apples.
Hi, I was wondering if you could use this method with a stuffed turkey?
I have never cooked this method with a stuffed turkey so I do not know.
Do you still baste the bird while cooking?
No need to baste the bird.
Can I prep the bird with they mayo the night before?
A little late reply to your email, but in the future, yes you can and keep it refrigerated.
I made this turkey for Thanksgiving today and it was superb! Very moist and was done in two hours. I just had to leave a review. Best turkey I have made hands down. I hope you had a great holiday!
This was amazing! My family loved it and it was so easy to do, especially for my first time cooking a turkey. The only modification I made was that I cooked it at 325 degrees until it reached an internal temperature of 170 (four hours for a 20 lb turkey). It was so flavorful and juicy. I used the remaining juices to make gravy and it was fabulous!
I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it for our 1st Annual Friendsgiving! My husband said it was his favorite turkey he has ever had! It was soooo moist even a couple of days after and the flavor was on point! Thank you so much for sharing!
Thank you, Summer! I’m so happy it was a success for y’all. I’m already feeling the need to make another to be able to use for other recipes.
Those fresh herbs look amazing. Can’t wait to start growing them this year and make this turkey with fresh herbs right out of our little garden. Your photos are beautiful and this turkey looks delish.
Thank you! Fresh herbs on hand always make things taste better, don’t ya think?
This looks terrific. I’m actually going to try iy with chicken. I love a good oven cooked chicken. I’ll of course have to adjust baking time and perhaps temp. Anyone have any tips for ne doing this with chicken?
This looks so good!
Now you said two smaller birds would be preferred over one large bird. I have a single oven, so could I cook them at the same time or would that affect the cooking time, etc.?
Cook time may need to be adjusted. Be sure to check doneness with internal thermometer.
I dry brined my turkey last year and used this recipe with herbes de provence. Amazing!!! I’m making it again this year but wondered if you ever rubbed the mayo under the skin or just rubbed it all over the outside of the skin and inside the cavity?
I have done it both ways and it works well.
Can you cook it in a roasting bag and get the same result?
I don’t think it would get the same results as the point of coating the bird with mayonnaise is to get a nice crispy golden crust and keep the bird moist at the same time. A roasting bag will hold in moisture so the crust will not get as golden and crispy.
This recipe did not work out for me. The mayonnaise literally started melting off onto the bottom of pan. Within a short time I had no mayonnaise on the bird at. Even with basting from the melted mayonnaise I never could achieve a beautiful crispy skin. . Don’t think I tried this ever again I’m sorry to say.. Cultural wave for the little
The mayonnaise will eventually start melting off. Basting is not necessary for this recipe and will prevent a crust from forming.
What kind of mayo miricale whip or helmanns
Any brand of real Mayonnaise, NOT Miracle Whip.
I am going to give this a trial run this weekend on some turkey legs. I highly recommend cooking the turkey spatchcock style (butterflied). It cuts the cooking time almost in half and all of that beautiful skin is crisped, this time with that yummy mayonnaise.
This looks amazing! How long should I expect to cook a 17lb turkey? Your recipe says 12-14 lb 1.5-2hrs…
I’m thinking maybe 3hrs…. let me know, thanks!!
It should be about 2.5-3 hours. Check internal temperature for doneness.
One of the few guys that have tried this it seems……THIS WORKS. Have added some dark olive oil to the mayo with herbs along with adding pineapple, grapes and apple chunks to cavity (still including the celery, onions and butter of course. Option to marinate the night before, breast side down. Bottom line: THANKS for this excellent recipe!
Wonderful additions, Baymond!