This turkey with roasted garlic gravy is simple and sublime

Turkey With Roasted Garlic Gravy

Active time:40 mins

Total time:3 hours 15 mins

Servings:12 to 15

Active time:40 mins

Total time:3 hours 15 mins

Servings:12 to 15


Though I’m an advocate of dry-brining and spatchcocking your turkey if you have the time and refrigerator space, it is by no means necessary. This recipe for garlic-and-herb roasted turkey proves that you don’t need to be too fussy and that all you need is a handful of pantry items to end up with a tasty bird on your Thanksgiving table.

But what really makes this simple turkey stand out is the roasted garlic gravy served alongside it. Roasting mellows the garlic’s bite, brings out some sweetness (similar to what happens when you caramelize onions) and, perhaps most importantly here, adds depth of flavor to the otherwise straightforward gravy.

The basic method is simple: Trim the top of the head of garlic, through the tops of the cloves, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast on a rimmed baking sheet in a moderate oven until very soft.

It only takes about 45 minutes, but in this recipe I let the garlic roast the entire time the turkey is in the oven for simplicity’s sake and to coax out as much flavor as possible. Then squeeze the cloves into a simple gravy — don’t forget to use the pan drippings from the turkey — and transform it from good to great.

Turkey With Roasted Garlic Gravy

Storage: Refrigerate leftover gravy and turkey separately for up to 3 days. Bring leftover gravy to a rolling boil before serving.

See the rest of the 20-ingredient Thanksgiving menu:

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For the turkey and garlic

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • One (15-pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed and reserved for another use
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 cup of water, plus more as needed
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup strained, defatted turkey drippings (may substitute 1 cup of stock)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups no-salt-added or reduced-sodium chicken or turkey stock, plus more as needed (see above)

Make the turkey and roast the garlic: In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the oil, the salt, garlic powder, thyme, sage and pepper until combined. Place a rack on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Pat the turkey dry with towels, transfer it to the prepared baking sheet and tuck in the wing tips, if desired.

Rub the turkey all over with the oil-and-spice mixture, making sure to get some in the cavity of the bird. Position the turkey breast side up on the baking sheet and let the turkey sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of the oven (remove the upper racks) and preheat to 350 degrees.

Trim the top of the head of garlic, through the tops of the cloves. Place in a square of foil, drizzle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil and wrap the garlic in the foil. Place the garlic in a corner of the baking sheet with the turkey.

Transfer the turkey to the oven, pour the water in the baking sheet, being careful not to pour it directly on the turkey or spill it, and roast the turkey for about 2 hours 30 minutes, adding more water to the pan if it ever gets dry, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh away from the bone registers 165 degrees and the skin is crisp and nicely browned. (If it begins to look too dark, you can partially tent the bird with foil.) Let the turkey rest for about 30 minutes before carving. Set aside the roasted garlic; strain the juices from the baking sheet through a fine-mesh strainer and reserve for the gravy.

make the gravy: While the turkey is resting, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until it starts to foam. Whisk in the flour to form a smooth paste and cook, whisking occasionally, until it turns the color of toffee, 17 to 20 minutes. Squeeze in the roasted garlic cloves and add the turkey drippings, sage, salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add the chicken or turkey stock, increase the heat to medium-high, bring it to a simmer and cook, stirring regularly until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste, and season with more salt and pepper, as desired.

Carve the turkey and serve with the warm gravy on the side.

Per serving (about 8 ounces turkey and a scant 1/4 cup of gravy), based on 15

Calories: 548; Total Fat: 32g; Saturated Fat: 11g; Cholesterol: 201mg; Sodium: 859mg; Carbohydrates: 5 g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; sugar: 0 g; Protein: 57 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Recipe from staff writer Aaron Hutcherson.

Tested by Aaron Hutcherson; email questions to [email protected].

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