Make-Ahead Turkey and Gravy Recipe
Make-Ahead Turkey and Gravy Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Make-Ahead Turkey and Gravy Recipe

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4.5 22 19
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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.
MAKES:16 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 4-1/4 hours + freezing Bake: 50 min.
MAKES: 16 servings


  • 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
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Nutritional Facts

8 ounces cooked turkey with 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons gravy equals 479 calories, 22 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 216 mg cholesterol, 318 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 64 g protein.


  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).
Editor’s Note: It is best not to use a prebasted turkey for this recipe.
Originally published as Make-Ahead Turkey and Gravy in Taste of Home Christmas Annual Annual 2011, p22

Medium-Bodied White Wine

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

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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."

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 !"

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."

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."

Reviewed Jan. 15, 2014

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

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