Holiday Turkey with Cranberry & Rosemary Stuffing

Roasted Turkey with Oranges & Apples

Benjamin Franklin thought that the Turkey should be the country’s state bird and in many ways he got his wish. World wide, the most recognized symbol associated with the American holiday to celebrate Thanksgiving is the beloved bird. The holiday meal in that of itself, symbolizes a portion of the history: death and abundance, family gatherings and compromises. While the beauty of the celebration is that we set a moment aside to be thankful.

PLANNING DINNER  Adults with a healthy appetite generally eat more and kids generally eat less. To plan for purchasing a turkey allow approximately 1 lb. (500 grams) of turkey per person.

ROASTING TIME  Take into consideration the amount of time needed before a sit down dinner. Recommended Roasting  at 350 F  (177 C) will allow the turkey to cook at 20 minutes per pound.  A lower temperature of 325 F (163 C), allows the turkey to bake at 30 minutes per pound.  In other words, a 15 pound turkey would bake for 5 hours at 350 F, or 7  1/2 hours at 325 F.

This recipe layers in various ways to keep the moisture in the turkey so that it will not dry out. Begin by using a V-rack in your roasting pan OR create your own V-rack by layering the pan with fruit and set the turkey on a bed of orange and apple slices. Once the fat from the turkey melts, it falls to the bottom of the roasting pan. When that happens, the bottom quarter of the bird does not roast–it braises in its own juices.

The recipe has been written for a mid-size bird. Increase or decrease ingredients according to the size of the bird that you have chosen, carefully paying attention to the cook time chart below.

Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey. Bake Temp. 350 F (177 C)
Turkey Weight Hours
6 to 8 pounds 2 hrs to 2 hrs 40 mins
8 to 12 pounds 2 hrs 40 mins to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 to 5 hrs 20 mins
16 to 20 pounds 5 hrs 20 mins to 6 hrs 40 mins
20 to 24 pounds 6 hrs 40 mins to 8 hours
Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey (hours=hrs  & minutes=mins)
Turkey Weight Hours
6 to 8 pounds 2 to 2 hours 40 minutes
8 to 12 pounds 2 hrs. 40 mins to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 to 5 hours 20 minutes
16 to 20 pounds 5 hrs 20 mins to 6 hrs 40 mins
20 to 24 pounds 6 hrs 40 mins to 8 hours

For more information on Everything Turkey click here

  • 12 lb. turkey (allow 4 hours for cooking)
  • 2 apples and 2 oranges (helps to promote moisture while baking in oven)
  • 2 Tbsp butter OR 12 bacon strips
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 1 1/2  to 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 cups water

Prepare Cranberry and Rosemary Stuffing, set aside. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Remove the giblets and neck if they are encased in a plastic bay within the back side of the turkey. Rinse and pat the turkey dry. Cut the oranges and apples into 1/4’s. Place 1 orange quarter and 1 apple quarter into the bird and then fill with a portion of the stuffing. Lay the remainder fruits under the bird. The water from the fruit provides moisture to the bird while cooking.  In a small bowl, combine rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and oil. Rub the seasonings under the skin on top of of the turkey and over the entire turkey. Layer bacon slices side by side all over the turkey this is so the meat stays hydrated: OR use only butter in place of bacon rubbing it over the bird. If the legs are not secured with a wire, tie them together with kitchen string. Place the turkey on a V-rack in a roasting pan with the meatier side (breast side up) and the less meatier side down setting on top of presliced fruits. Cover with aluminum foil creating a tent on top so that moisture circulates with in the pan and around the turkey.

For 12 pound turkey allow 4 hours baking time. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. After one hour, baste the turkey with it’s own juices, using a baster or gravy ladle. Repeat at the second and third hour. After third basting, remove aluminum foil. Baste after 30 minutes.  Continue cooking the turkey until an internal temperature of stuffing  is 163 F  degrees, or insert the thermometer into the thick thigh  with out touching the bone, temperature should be 177 F.  Also look for other indications of doneness: loose joints and juices running clear. If turkey skin begins to turn dark brown before the internal temperature is met,baste once more and cover the turkey with foil and continue to roast.
Makes 15 (4 ounce) servings; various amounts of light and dark meat

Cranberry Stuffing  

Cranberry Rosemary Stuffing

  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1  onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 3 Tbsp butter, or Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 4 cups cubed toasted bread, (OR 2 cups cubed toasted bread  and 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs)
  • 1-1 1/2 cups Dried Cranberries 
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water with a bullion cube dissolved (or pre-made broth)

Over medium heat, saute` in 3 Tbsp olive oil onion, garlic and celery for 5 minutes. In a separate pan, over medium heat add water, bullion cube and milk, bring to a slow boil, about 7 minutes.  In a bowl, assemble herbs, bread crumbs, cranberries, walnuts, salt and pepper. Take saute mixture and add to bread crumbs, stir with spoon. Slowly add the broth to the stuffing ingredients with wooden spoon until bread crumbs are moistened, but don’t become soggy. Place into an oven proof dish and bake in oven on 350 F for 20 minutes. May place a portion of stuffing in cavity of turkey, stuffing should reach 163 F inside turkey to be done.

Number of Servings: 15