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Dry-Rubbed Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy

Servings: 12

Thanksgiving turkey doesn’t get more classic (or simple) than this. This bird is seasoned with a generous salt rub, then sits in the fridge overnight.


  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
  • 1 oz. kosher salt (1/4 cup Diamond Crystal or 2 Tbs. Morton); more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • One 12-lb. all-natural turkey
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
  • 2 medium celery stalks, cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1-1/8 oz. (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 570
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 240
  • Fat (g): 27
  • Saturated Fat (g): 8
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9
  • Cholesterol (mg): 210
  • Sodium (mg): 1130
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 73


Season the turkey

  • In a medium bowl, mix the sage, zest, 1 oz. salt, and 1 Tbs. pepper.
  • Remove the tail, neck, heart, and gizzard from the turkey and reserve for making turkey broth. Discard the liver. Remove and discard the plastic timer and any metal or plastic leg holders. Rinse and pat the turkey dry.
  • Rub the spice mixture under the turkey’s skin over the entire breast, legs, and thighs, as well as in the cavity and over the wings. Set on a platter or pan large enough to hold the turkey and refrigerate uncovered overnight.

Roast the turkey

  • Position a rack in the bottom of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss the carrots, celery, and onion with the oil. Put half of the vegetables in the center of a large flameproof roasting pan and put the rest in the turkey cavity. Tuck the wings behind the turkey’s neck and tie the legs together with twine. Set a V-rack in the roasting pan over the vegetables. Put the turkey breast side down on the V-rack. Roast for 1 hour.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and baste the turkey back and sides with some of the pan drippings. With silicone oven mitts or two wads of paper towels, carefully turn the turkey breast side up and baste with more pan drippings. Continue to roast the turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 175°F, an additional 1 to 1-1/2 hours. During this phase, check the vegetables in the pan every 20 minutes or so: They should be brown, but if they or the drippings threaten to burn, add about 1/4 cup water—you may need to do this several times.
  • When the turkey is done, protect your hands with silicone oven mitts or wads of paper towels and tilt the turkey so the juices in the cavity run into the roasting pan. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and let it rest for 30 to 40 minutes. Carve when ready to serve.

Make the gravy

  • While the turkey is resting, set the roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add the wine and cook, using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to loosen the brown bits, until reduced by about half, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the contents of the roasting pan into a bowl, pressing on the solids to release the flavorful drippings. Discard the solids.
  • In a 1-quart liquid measuring cup, combine the broth with 1-1/2 cups water. Tasting as you go, add enough of the pan drippings to the broth to make a flavorful yet not overly salted liquid—you may or may not use all of the drippings. Let sit until the fat rises to the surface. Skim off and reserve as much fat as possible.
  • Measure 4 Tbs. of the fat into a medium saucepan (supplement with olive oil if necessary) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking almost constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in about 1/2 cup of the broth. As soon as the broth thickens, whisk in another 1/2 cup. Repeat until the mixture stays relatively smooth, at which point you can whisk in the remaining broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes to develop the flavor. The gravy will be on the thin side; if you prefer it thicker, continue simmering until thickened to your liking, but expect the flavor to concentrate as well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve with the carved turkey.

Provençal Roast Turkey with Red Wine Gravy: For the dry rub, use 3 Tbs. herbes de Provence, 2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest, 4 tsp. fennel seeds (crushed), 1 oz. kosher salt, and 4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Substitute 1/3 cup dry red wine for the white wine or vermouth.


Use an all-natural turkey. Avoid kosher birds (they’re already brined and will be too salty) and “self-basting” birds (which are treated with fat solutions). Consider ordering your bird in advance.Let your turkey rest for 30 to 40 minutes before carving—the juices will redistribute into the meat, making it moist and tender. It also gives you time to finish preparing the meal.For lump-free gravy, gradually whisk the broth into the roux. The liquid will thicken quickly and get gluey, so keep whisking in more broth, a bit at a time, until the gravy is smooth.


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Reviews (11 reviews)

  • mmmKeller | 12/02/2019

    Fixed this turkey for Thanksgiving 2019 for 13 people and everyone loved it! It came out super moist and good flavor! The gravy was amazing but I had forgotten to use the fat from the cooked bird to make the roux and just started with butter and flour. The pan dripping made it super yummy!!

  • user-3053991 | 12/20/2014

    We have made this turkey for the last few years and each time it has met rave reviews! Delicious!

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