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.
I tried this yesterday for our Thanksgiving dinner, and this recipe is awesome! It was moist and seasoned perfectly and the crust is to die for….the best part what putting it in the oven and forgetting about it until the timer went off, no basting, no worry!!
So glad you enjoyed it! I do appreciate how easy this recipe is.
Juat wanted to say I tried this Thanksgiving after dry salt brining the turkey for about 3 days in the fridge. It was the best turkey I’ve made since I started doing Thanksgiving on my own, so out of 10! Last year was the first time I salt brined, and that helped a lot with keeping the breasts juicy. With this recipe it was even better and the dark meat was absolutely delicious! This was also the first time I did not stuff the turkey, and even though I said “Yeah right” when Amy wrote that it does NOT take 4 hours to cook a turkey, lo and behold I was shocked when it was done in about 2 hours.
I want to reiterate that it doesn’t taste like mayonnaise, either! I don’t know much about fresh herbs (or most herbs, really) so I followed the recipe to a T, but with some more research I’d like to experiment on that end, possibly with something lemony. The ONLY tiny complaint I had was that I really, really love crispy turkey skin, but I didn’t get that over the holiday. It was good, just not the well-done bacon-like texture I crave. Anyway, as I said, I’ll be using this recipe again next year and want to thank Amy for posting it! 🙂
I’m so very happy to hear that you enjoyed it, Ljo! I think a lemony addition would be wonderful. I may try that soon myself.
This is my 3rd yr doin this turkey mayo. So tender n moist everyone should at least try it once Thy won’t stop making it this way love love love it
I just made this today for Christmas – the turkey was DELICIOUS! I have baked chicken many times with a mayo coating, but this is the first turkey. The meat was super moist and the skin was crispy. Everyone loved it and the vegetables make a wonderful gravy added to the packet of gravy mix from the turkey. This is now my go to recipe for Thanksgiving /Christmas dinners!
Thank you for sharing, Janine! I’m happy it was a success for you!
Seeing that you tried this, when she says liberally salt and pepper turkey, how much are we talking about? Rough guestimate?
What’s the purpose of putting a whole stick of butter in the cavity of the turkey. Also, do you remember what brand of turkey you used in this recipe.
The butter is for making gravy with the drippings. I don’t use a particular brand of turkey. We always look for a turkey with no added junk.
I can’t wait to try this on my turkey breast. Mayonnaise is a miracle ingredient. I use it in my cornbread and some other baked goods. Your turkey looks so delicious. Thank you so much for the wonderful idea. Have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving.
My wife and I are new (about 6 months) Smokers, I purchased a pellet smoker from Amazon. Wow what an experience! Went to gether easily, and did my 1st ribs that day. Since we have done pork shoulder, chicken, bb ribs, tri-tips and a couple of briskets. So fart everything has been very cool. Our chickens have come out great except that the skin was a little tough. We have shopped everywhere for a method of smoking where the skin would be eatable, as compared to shoe leather. Today my wife (the chef in the family) found the mention of mayo as a coating?!@#?? I like mayo my wife is no great lover, but we decided to try. Just finished dinner “GREAT” bird!! The skin was very nice the bird was moist. Thanks a lot.
I’m happy to hear that y’all enjoyed it! Happy cooking, Bruce!
Can you use a turkey bag with this recipe?
No need to use a turkey bag with this recipe.
Will this work with light mayo?
I would not recommend light mayo.
Are you trussing your turkey in this recipe? Is it necessary? I plan on making today but have no twine!
Sorry, I’m a day late! I trussed the legs by using extra skin from the main cavity. Sometimes I don’t truss at all.
I am one not to ever leave comments or ask questions.. I simply use Google search what I n am looking for.. but this year I needed something different.. for Thanksgiving I felt it was just the same every year… Well this year I wanted to fry my Bird.. but I came across the mayonnaise recipe.. gotta say I never in my life had turkey as moist and full of flavor… The turkey was so tender and juicy it felt like I was pulling the meat off a boiled chicken… I give you 5 stars for sure ???? thank you for sharing…happy holidays to you and your family…
This recipe is the BEST EVER. I cooked a 24 pound turkey. Everyone loved! After the turkey rested for 20 minutes, it was ready. The moment the carving knife went into the turkey I could tell it was moist. It was SO flavorful. I made the BEST gravy from the drippings. The next day I made soup from the leftover drippings, turkey meat and bones. The best part, I didn’t have to add any more seasoning to the gravy or soup. This will be my go to recipe for the holiday.
Thank you so much. :o)
So very happy to hear it, Pendora!
We do not like tyme, can sage be subed and how much using the amounts in your recipe
You can use any combination of herbs that you like. Use same amounts or more if you’d like.
I love this recipe and have made it numerous times. Today I am tasked with cooking a 29 lb farm fresh turkey for a party full of co-workers. Should I use more of….well…..everything? This guy is huge!!!
That is huge! Yes, I would use more of everything.
If I need a total of 20 lbs for my large party, and I do 2 smaller turkeys instead – can I cook them both in the oven at the same time? Does the cook time change at all?
If you can fit them in the oven at the same time and follow the same cook time suggestions, checking with internal thermometer for doneness, that should work just fine.
This looks amazing! Quick question – if I dry brine the turkey, will the instructions change any? I imagine I wouldn’t re-salt, but just wondering if it would work the same. Thanks!
I would probably cut the salt a bit it you are dry brining with salt.
I was looking for a new recipe last year and came across this one, so I decided to try it. It was so easy and it was the best turkey I’ve ever had! It was amazing! I’m definitely using it again this year! Thank you! I don’t know now where I’d be without all you talented people generously sharing your awesomeness!
I would like to say thank you for this recipe. I have been using this recipe for now SIX YEARS faithfully every thanksgiving. I hosted my first thanksgiving in 2011 turkey was very dry but following year I found this and have been using it to a T every year. Never a disappointment. I’m really grateful for this recipe as it is so dear to my heart because my children and I the small family we are always have huge smiles on our face around this time looking forward to this traditional recipe.
I am soooo very happy to hear that, Mersaidies! We look forward to it each year too. Anything that makes the big day a bit easier AND tastier is always a good thing around here.
Hello. I’m dying to try this recipe this year. I was planning to use my electric roaster oven so that my conventional oven space is free for other things. I’ve read to do the high temp then lower in the roaster oven to attain that crisp skin, but I’m worried I’ll mess up this beautiful recipe by cooking it in the roaster oven which has a lid. Any thoughts? Suggestions? Thank you!
Hi!!! I am going to be making this wonderful looking turkey this year!
I was just wondering if you would suggest to put the mayonnaise mixture on top of turkey skin as well as under the turkey skin?
Yes, do both!