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Make-Ahead Turkey and Gravy Recipe

Make-Ahead Turkey and Gravy Recipe

This do-ahead turkey is cooked, sliced and ready to serve when you are—and a great way to bring turkey to a potluck. — Mrs. Marie Parker, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 4-1/4 hours + freezing Bake: 50 min. YIELD:16 servings

Ingredients

  • TURKEY:
  • 1 turkey (14 to 16 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • FOR SERVING:
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Directions

  • 1. Preheat oven to 325°. Sprinkle turkey with poultry seasoning and pepper. Tuck wings under turkey; tie drumsticks together. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, breast side up.
  • 2. Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes. In a 4-cup measuring cup, mix remaining turkey ingredients; carefully pour over turkey. Roast, uncovered, 3 to 3-1/2 hours longer or until a thermometer inserted in thigh reads 180°, basting occasionally with broth mixture. Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly.
  • 3. Remove turkey from pan; let stand at least 20 minutes before carving. Skim fat from cooking juices.
  • 4. Carve turkey; place in shallow freezer containers. Pour strained juices over turkey; cool completely. Freeze, covered, up to 3 months.
  • 5. To serve: Partially thaw turkey in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 350°. Transfer turkey and cooking juices to a baking dish; pour broth over turkey. Bake, covered, 50-60 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165°.
  • 6. Remove turkey from baking dish, reserving cooking liquid; keep warm. In a small saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with turkey. Yield: 16 servings (2-1/2 cups gravy).

Nutritional Facts

8 ounces cooked turkey with about 2-1/2 tablespoons gravy: 479 calories, 22g fat (7g saturated fat), 216mg cholesterol, 318mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0g fiber), 64g protein .

Reviews for Make-Ahead Turkey and Gravy

Sort By :
MY REVIEW
RobinRL
Reviewed Nov. 28, 2015

"I used this recipe to make my Thanksgiving Day turkey this year, without the make-ahead option. Without a doubt, it was the juiciest, tenderest, tastiest turkey I have ever pulled out of my own oven! We had just a small family gathering, so I used a turkey breast and basted it every thirty minutes--totally delicious! I liked it so much, I decided to use it in the future to buy turkeys on sale and freeze them so we can have delicious turkey and gravy during other times of the year as well."

MY REVIEW
Tristym68
Reviewed Dec. 1, 2014

"I tried this for the first time . It was delicious . Saved time and mess in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day . I would definitely use this recipe again !"

MY REVIEW
flojim
Reviewed Nov. 9, 2014

"I also have made my turkey ahead for the past 2 years. I make it one day ahead, slice it and put it in a foil roaster pan. Thanksgiving Day there is no carcus or mess of carving that day. I also make my mashed potatoes (5#) a week ahead and freeze in a Tupperware container. I mash them with the milk and butter as usual. Take them out in the morning to thaw. They will seem watery as they are being warmed up but that soon evaporates and they are as good as the day I made them. You may need to add a little more milk. Everything is delicious and no one believes it. After 50 years of cooking I finally got smart."

MY REVIEW
Joene1
Reviewed Nov. 9, 2014

"I have done this for YEARS! I cook turkey day before Thanksgiving and layer meat with slices of butter and refrig. Thanksgiving I put in oven 300 degrees and heat through. Very moist and oven is free for other foods."

MY REVIEW
GlennaG
Reviewed Jan. 15, 2014

"My family and guests loved the moistness and flavor. Time was used enjoying my dinner and guests. 5 stars!!"

MY REVIEW
Angel182009
Reviewed Jan. 8, 2014

"My family absolutely loved this!! I was afraid by freezing it it wouldn't stay tender and would be dry but it was so moist and had such great flavor! I didn't have poultry seasoning so I just seasoned it with a little bit of salt and pepper then with the rest of the ingredients listed. I will definitely be doing this again!!! Such a great way to make Thanksgiving fast and stress free."

MY REVIEW
havingfunwithmyfamily
Reviewed Nov. 30, 2013

"This was an absolutely delicious recipe! The only problem I had was a somewhat dry roasting pan from basting so often. I added 2 cups of water to the bottom of the pan, and stirred to deglaze the brown bits of cooked juices, and meat. I made that mixture into a gravy. I transferred the liquid to a saucepan, and added a mixture of flour, and water to make a gravy! Thank you for sharing!"

MY REVIEW
MrsPie
Reviewed Nov. 24, 2013

"I tested this recipe a few weeks ago in preparation for Thanksgiving. It turned out great! Moist and flavorful - maybe too flavorful, my husband asked me to tone it down next time. I'll go lighter on the thyme, rosemary and parsley when I bake it again today.

I covered the turkey with plastic wrap before freezing, pressing the plastic wrap against the turkey and broth and up the sides to prevent any drying out. After defrosting, I was able to scoop some broth out of the pan before baking to make the gravy (and there was still plenty of broth around the turkey).
The biggest advantage on Thanksgiving day will be not having my husband in the kitchen carving the turkey and making a mess while we're trying to finish everything else. And the turkey carving mess will be cleaned up days ahead of time.
For small families (or empty nesters like us), this would be a great freezer meal - freeze the turkey and broth in 3-4 smaller pans and use it over time."

MY REVIEW
stephcook
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2013

"Nanclode

please reread the recipe in step 4 it states to pour OVER turkey and freeze."

MY REVIEW
nancelode
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2013

"I don't have a review, I have a question about the recipe! After I Carve the turkey and place it in shallow freezer container, I pour the juices over the turkey and freeze? or do I store them both separately and freeze?"

MY REVIEW
cz8k041a
Reviewed Nov. 5, 2013

"This was very moist and tender. My family loved it."

MY REVIEW
Grammajo7
Reviewed Oct. 19, 2013

"I do the same a benmom....day before, I roast the turkey, and bake dressing in a separate pan. I slice the cooled turkey and place on top of the dressing. I thin drizzle some of the juice over the stacked turkey. Then cover very tightly with heavy foil...refrigerate overnight...bake about an hour or so before dinner, till it is hot. EASY BREEZY!!! So much easier that getting up so early to cook that bird on Thanksgiving morning!!!"

MY REVIEW
benmom
Reviewed Oct. 15, 2013

"I have done this for years with one exception: I cook the day before Thanksgiving and refrigerate until about 30 minutes prior to serving. Heat and enjoy!"

MY REVIEW
organlady2
Reviewed Nov. 13, 2012

"Ladies, please reread the recipe. You are reheating frozen, sliced turkey that has already been roasted 3 - 3-1/2hrs. or longer. A marvelous time saver on Thanksgiving Day!"

MY REVIEW
rosalieb1
Reviewed Nov. 12, 2012

"It takes 1 day for every four pounds of frozen turkey to thaw. Overnight? and cook for an hour?? Don't know what they're talking about!!"

MY REVIEW
mailladyrr7
Reviewed Nov. 12, 2012

"This is a great way to cook the turkey. Moist and delicious and you are able to enjoy your company with no fuss on Thanksgiving. I will always use it from now on. But, now that I am here, I would like to address two issues. If you have not TRIED the recipe, do not sign on and rate it! We don't care if you PLAN to try it, we want to know the results AFTER you tried it.

Next, for the woman who stated that the recipe was bad and would KILL her family, duh! Use common sense and re-read the recipe several times if it takes that long to get it! No one submits recipes that would kill anyones family! Plain and simply stupid!"

MY REVIEW
frostfire
Reviewed Nov. 12, 2012

"This isn't a review; it's a query. Short of paying big bucks for an "organic" turkey, how do I find one that doesn't have the pernicious injected pre-basting junk?"

MY REVIEW
ctmom05
Reviewed Nov. 12, 2012

"I cant honestly rate this recipe - havent made it .. .. .. but it looks deelish.

Im curious to know what the crumb covered round shaped side dish is?"

MY REVIEW
ctmom05
Reviewed Nov. 12, 2012

"I cant honestly rate this recipe - havent made it. Im curious to know what the crumb covered round shaped side dish is?"

MY REVIEW
jr1849
Reviewed Nov. 2, 2012

"B Fischer, you clearly misunderstood the directions! The frozen turkey referred to in the recipe is the turkey you cooked ahead and froze in bags. You are only reheating the pre-cooked turkey for 50-60 minutes which I assure you will not kill your guests."

MY REVIEW
Rockamama
Reviewed Nov. 2, 2012

"When I was a little girl over fifty years ago, my mother would always use cornstarch to thicken her gravy. Nowadays I use flour, but I remember how her clear, delicious gravy speckled with black pepper was the definition of holiday time!"

MY REVIEW
B Fisher
Reviewed Nov. 2, 2012

"To use frozen turkey: 14-16 lbs. bake for 50-60 minutes - hope no "new" cook uses this method. It could kill all your guests!"

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Wine Pairings

Medium-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied white wine such as Riesling or Gewürtztraminer