Chef John’s Roast Turkey And Gravy Recipe

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No Thanksgiving feast is complete without a big roasted turkey. To make the best turkey this season, follow Chef John’s roast turkey and gravy recipe. It’s super flavorful and easy to make.

Chef John's Roast Turkey And Gravy Recipe

Chef John’s roast turkey and gravy recipe take one hour to prepare. Then you can leave the turkey to cook for almost four hours. This dish is good enough for sixteen servings. To make this combo, we will first begin preparing our turkey. We will then move on to make flavorful turkey gravy.

I’m sure most of you know what turkey gravy is. But for those who are making it for the first time, it is a gravy made with turkey fat, drippings, herbs, and seasonings. 

Follow the step-by-step instructions to make the most delightful turkey this season. In the sections below, you will find different ways to serve the turkey and gravy.

Other Thanksgiving Recipes That You Can Try

What Equipment Will You Need To Make Chef John’s Roast Turkey And Gravy? 

  • Bowl A bowl will be required to mix the seasoning.
  • Kitchen String – A kitchen string will be required to tie the turkey.
  • Aluminum Foil – An aluminum foil will be needed to wrap the turkey for cooking.
  • Turkey Thermometer – A thermometer will be required to measure the turkey’s temperature to check its doneness.
  • Saucepan – A saucepan will be used to make the stock for turkey gravy.
  • Skillet – You need a skillet to make your turkey gravy.
  • Knife – A knife will be used to slice the turkey.
  • Cutting Board – A cutting board will help chop vegetables.

How Much Time Will You Need To Make Chef John’s Roast Turkey And Gravy? 

Preparation TimeCooking TimeTotal Time
1 Hour3 Hours 45 Minutes4 Hours 55 Minutes  

What Ingredients Will You Need To Make Chef John’s Roast Turkey And Gravy? 

For Roasting Turkey

  • Whole Turkey – To make roasted turkey, you will need one (12 pounds) whole turkey, with neck and giblets reserved.
  • Onions – To flavor the turkey, you will need two coarsely chopped onions.
  • Celery – Celery adds a fresh and earthy flavor. We will need three ribs of coarsely chopped celery to add these flavors to the turkey.
  • Carrots – With onions and celery, we also need two coarsely chopped carrots to add their juicy and sweet flavors.
  • Rosemary – To add evergreen, citrus, and minty flavor notes, we will add three sprigs of fresh rosemary to stuff the turkey cavity.
  • Sage – To add an earthy flavor, we will also need half a bunch of fresh sage in the turkey cavity.
  • Butter – One of the secrets to preparing a moist, delicious turkey is spreading butter under the skin. Therefore, we will need half a cup of butter to apply under the turkey skin.
  • Salt – To add and balance savory flavors, we will need two tablespoons of kosher salt.
  • Back Pepper – To add a punch of heat and peppery flavor, you will need one tablespoon of ground black pepper.
  • Poultry Seasoning – Poultry seasoning provides all the essential flavors we look to have in a turkey. So, we will need one tablespoon of poultry seasoning.

For Turkey Gravy

  • Bay Leaf – You will need one bay leaf to make turkey gravy. Bay leaf provides depth to food with its subtle flavor.
  • Water – To prepare the gravy base (i.e., stock), you will need six cups of water.
  • Turkey Fat – To add all the delicious flavors of turkey, we will use two tablespoons of turkey fat.
  • Butter – To cook the vegetables for making the turkey gravy, you will need one tablespoon of butter.
  • All-Purpose Flour – One-fourth cup of all-purpose flour will help to thicken the gravy.
  • Turkey Pan Drippings – Three cups of turkey pan drippings will make the turkey gravy more flavorful.  
  • Balsamic Vinegar (Optional) – Balsamic vinegar has a tart and tangy flavor. To add these flavors to the gravy, you will need one-fourth teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. 
  • Sage – To make the turkey flavorful, we will also add one tablespoon of chopped fresh sage. 
  • Salt and Ground Black Pepper – Once you have prepared the turkey gravy, you can taste and adjust the salt and ground black pepper according to your taste.
Chef John's Roast Turkey And Gravy Recipe

Steps To Make Chef John’s Roast Turkey And Gravy

1. Prepare The Whole Turkey

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Tuck the wings under the bird, and season the cavity with about one tablespoon of the poultry seasoning mixture. Reserve remaining poultry seasoning mix.

 In a bowl, mix onion, celery, and carrots together. Stuff about half a cup of the vegetable mixture and half a bunch of sage and rosemary sprigs into the turkey cavity. Tie the turkey legs together using a kitchen string. 

Loosen the skin of the turkey breast using a small spatula or with your fingers. Spread about two tablespoons of butter evenly under the skin. Spread the remaining butter on the turkey skin outside. Sprinkle the remaining poultry seasoning mix on the outside of the turkey.

Take a large roasting pan and spread the remaining celery, onion, and carrots. Place the seasoned turkey on top of the vegetables. Fill the pan with water (about 1/2 inch). Cover the turkey breast with aluminum foil.

Roast the turkey in the preheated oven for about 3 1/2 hours and let the juices run clear. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone. Remove the foil during the last hour of cooking once the temperature reads 165 degrees F. Baste the turkey with the pan juices.

2. Make The Gravy

While the turkey is roasting, begin preparing the stock. Place the turkey giblets (neck, heart, and gizzards) in a saucepan with water and bay leaf. Simmer it over medium heat for 2 hours. Strain the stock and discard the giblets. You should have at least four cups of stock. 

Remove the turkey from the oven. Cover it with a double sheet of aluminum foil. Allow the turkey to rest before slicing for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour about three cups of juices from the turkey pan into a saucepan and set aside. Skim off the turkey fat, if any, and reserve about two tablespoons of the juices.

Heat two tablespoons of the turkey fat and one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Transfer the onion from the roasting pan into the skillet. Cook and stir until the onion is browned, and stir in the flour. Continue to cook the onions and stir the mixture for about 5 minutes. 

Whisk in the reserved pan of turkey juices and four cups of the skimmed turkey stock in the saucepan until smooth. Skim off any foam. Stir in balsamic vinegar at this stage if you wish to. Simmer the gravy until thickened. Keep whisking the gravy constantly for about 10 minutes to prevent it from burning. Stir in one tablespoon of chopped sage, and season the gravy with salt and black pepper to taste.

How To Serve Chef John’s Roast Turkey And Gravy? 

Once your roast turkey and gravy are ready, it’s time to dig into your mouth-watering preparation. To serve the turkey, slice your roast turkey by slicing it. Pour the gravy on top of the turkey slices. If your gravy has turned thick, you can correct the consistency by adding stock.

You can also use this turkey gravy to prepare hot turkey sandwiches or for drizzling over French fries, noodles, mashed potatoes, and whatever you like.

How To Store Leftover Chef John’s Roast Turkey And Gravy? 

So, once you are done with your Thanksgiving feast, you may be left with some leftovers. To enjoy the leftovers the next day, you must store them correctly. You can use leftover gravy within three or four days. To do so, you can refrigerate the gravy in an airtight container.

You can also freeze the turkey gravy by transferring the gravy one cooled to freezer bags. You can freeze leftover turkey gravy for four months. To consume the gravy, defrost it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it in a saucepan.

To store the leftover roast turkey, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can reheat the roast turkey in an oven for 10- 15 minutes.

Nutritional Information

Calories942 kcal
Fat70 grams
Saturated Fat23 grams
Protein69 grams
Cholesterol256 milligrams
Fiber 1 gram
Sodium950 milligrams
Carbohydrates5 grams
Potassium774 milligrams
Sugar 1 gram
Calcium89 milligrams
Iron5 milligrams
Vitamin A29IU
Vitamin C2milligrams

What Will Chef John’s Roast Turkey And Gravy Look And Taste Like? 

Chef John’s roast turkey and gravy is a sumptuous dish that is sure to make your Thanksgiving feast really special. The roast turkey tastes delicious from all the flavors infused in it by fresh herbs and vegetables. The turkey turns out to be crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

As for the turkey gravy, it adds a whole lot of flavors to the turkey derived from turkey fat, drippings, and giblets. This gravy is smooth and creamy in texture. Apart from drizzling it over sliced turkey, you can use it over many dishes.  

Recipe Card

Chef John's Roast Turkey And Gravy Recipe

Chef John’s Roast Turkey and Gravy Recipe

Try out Chef John's Roast Turkey and Gravy recipe for the ultimate Thanksgiving dish. It’s all that you want this holiday season!
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Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 3 hrs 45 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Calories 942 kcal

Equipment

Bowl
Kitchen String
Aluminum Foil
Turkey Thermometer
Saucepan
Skillet
Knife
Cutting Board

Ingredients
  

For Roast Turkey

  • 1 (12 pounds) whole turkey, neck, and giblets reserved
  • 2 Onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Ribs Celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Carrots, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup Butter
  • 3 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • ½ Bunch Fresh Sage
  • 1 tablespoon Poultry Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Black Pepper

For Gravy

  • ¼ cup  All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped Fresh Sage
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 tablespoon Turkey Fat
  • 3 cups Turkey Pan Drippings
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 6 cups Water
  • ¼ teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar (Optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

For Turkey

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, mix poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Tuck the wings under the bird, and season the cavity with about one tablespoon of the poultry seasoning mixture. Reserve remaining poultry seasoning mix.
  • In a bowl, mix onion, celery, and carrots together.
  • Stuff the turkey cavity with half a cup of the vegetable mixture and half a bunch of sage and rosemary sprigs. Tie the turkey legs together using a kitchen string.
  • Loosen the skin of the turkey breast using a small spatula or with your fingers. Spread about two tablespoons of butter evenly under the skin. Spread the remaining butter on the turkey skin outside.
  • Sprinkle the remaining poultry seasoning mix on the outside of the turkey.
  • Take a large roasting pan and spread the remaining celery, onion, and carrots. Place the seasoned turkey on top of the vegetables.
  •  Fill the pan with water (about 1/2 inch). Cover the turkey breast with aluminum foil.
  • Roast the turkey in the preheated oven for about 3 1/2 hours and let the juices run clear.
  • Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone.
  • Remove the foil during the last hour of cooking once the temperature reads 165 degrees F. Baste the turkey with the pan juices.

For Gravy

  •  Prepare the stock by placing the turkey giblets (neck, heart, and gizzards) in a saucepan with water and bay leaf. Simmer it over medium heat for 2 hours.
  • Strain the stock and discard the giblets. You should have at least four cups of stock.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven. Cover it with a double sheet of aluminum foil. Allow the turkey to rest before slicing for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Pour about three cups of juices from the turkey pan into a saucepan and set aside. Skim off the turkey fat, if any, and reserve about two tablespoons of the juices.
  • Heat two tablespoons of the turkey fat and one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Transfer the onion from the roasting pan into the skillet. Cook and stir until the onion is browned, and stir in the flour. Continue to cook the onions and stir the mixture for about 5 minutes.
  • Whisk in the reserved pan of turkey juices and four cups of the skimmed turkey stock in the saucepan until smooth. Skim off any foam.
  • Stir in balsamic vinegar at this stage if you wish to. Simmer the gravy until thickened. Keep whisking the gravy constantly for about 10 minutes to prevent it from burning.
  • Stir in one tablespoon of chopped sage, and season the gravy with salt and black pepper to taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 942kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 69g | Fat: 70g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 256mg | Sodium: 950mg | Potassium: 774mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 5mg
Keyword Chef John’s Roast Turkey and Gravy Recipe, Main Course
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long should you roast turkey?

A 12- to 14-lb. Turkey should be roasted for 3 hours and 45 minutes

At what temperature should we cook the turkey?

Turkey should be cooked in a preheated 325 degrees F oven.

Should you roast a turkey covered or uncovered?

Turkey should be cooked both covered and uncovered.

Why should we butter the turkey?

Buttering the turkey helps to make it moist and delicious.

What parts of giblets should you not use while making turkey gravy?

The liver should be avoided while making turkey gravy as it tastes bitter.

Can we store turkey gravy?

Turkey gravy can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the gravy in the freezer for three to four months.

Conclusion

Try out Chef John’s roast turkey and gravy recipe for a sumptuous Thanksgiving meal. For more such recipes, check out the recipes section on our website.

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