Roasted Turkey in under 12 hours

Be ready to be awake for a portion of those 12 hours.  No… this is not my usual recipe and while I would love to say that yes! you can roast a frozen turkey in 30 minutes… but honestly, you can’t.  And I’m going to preface this that you MUST check the temperature of your turkey and you have to make sure your roasted turkey never drops in temperature.  This is the process that worked for me.* AND it is possible to buy a frozen turkey the night before Thanksgiving and for it to be beautiful for your guests.

So this is what I did.

First two hours, let the outer meat thaw in a cold water bath. Meat should be thawed. Check the water though in those two hours. If the water gets too cold because of your frozen turkey, make sure to remove the Turkey and refill the cold water in your bucket or tub (your bath tub works really good for a large turkey). It is important to use room temp water – not hot water. You don’t want to cook the turkey by using hot water.

After the outside is thawed, I put my turkey in the over on 150 F for 3 hours. Make sure to rub the thawed skin with butter and cover the entire turkey with foil so the skin doesn’t cook – you’ll want to properly season the skin of the turkey before cooking it at the end.

After those 3 hours… the inside of the carcass of the turkey should be thawed…. a bit.

What I did next was crazy.  When I tell you it was crazy.. It was CRAZY!!!

I put the turkey in my sink and ran hot hot water into the neck of the turkey to melt the ice that had formed in the middle of the carcass.  When it would fill up, I would flip the turkey and dump the water and what ice had melted. I did this process for about 30 minutes until all of the ice in the middle of the turkey at thawed and been removed.  note: I did use an ice pic 🙂

Season the roasted turkey with butter, Rosemary Salt, Fresh Rosemary, and Garlic.  I stuffed celery, rosemary and lemon into the next/body of the Turkey and cooked it on 250 for 2 hours with a foil cover until it got to 145 F and then for the final 2 hours I cooked it on 350 F with no foil.

Baste it until you get tired of basting, and then baste some more.  For the last hour – I was basting the turkey every 10 minutes.  What exactly does basting mean?  It means that you take the goodness that has dropped in your pan and rub it back over the turkey body.  Basically, you take a basting brush (paint brush) and dip it into the pan to absorb the butter and good flavors that have dropped from the turkey and you paint the turkey with them.


First off, let me tell you this was the most juicy and flavorful turkey I have EVER had.  It was amazing.  I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again. But now I know I’m capable!

Don’t forget to leave your comments below!


*This is not a proven process and could result in salmonella poisoning.  Please consult the FDA or Poison Control Center with any questions.

More yumminess in my cookbook here!

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welcome to my table

I’m Abby, and I’m all about setting the table every day and making a simple dinner with easy recipes to enjoy with friends. The inspiration you’ll find here are simple and meant to encourage you to declutter your table and invite friends over! I spend my days working as a marketer for a retail company and dreaming of dinner time. I really hope that through A Table Top Affair you will find a newfound love for your kitchen and that relationships would be formed around your table.

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