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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This do-ahead turkey is cooked, sliced and ready to serve when you are—and a great way to bring turkey to a potluck. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 4-1/4 hours + freezing Bake: 50 min.
MAKES:16 servings
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 reduced-sodium 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 reduced-sodium 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

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.

Medium-Bodied White Wine

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

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Reviewed Jan. 15, 2014

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

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."

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!"

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."

Reviewed Nov. 6, 2013

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

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