Roast Turkey – Unstuffed and Gluten-Free
A gluten-free roast turkey makes a delicious holiday dinner and it’s surprisingly easy to make. I prefer to make them unstuffed. An unstuffed turkey cooks in less time, so you don’t spend as long in the kitchen. With a 20-lb. bird, you’ll have enough turkey to serve about 12 people, or maybe 6 people and still have leftovers.
Your family and guests will probably not even notice it’s gluten-free, unless you tell them. You can prepare your favorite gluten-free dressing in a separate pan, or on the stovetop.
Be sure to check the label that the turkey is gluten-free. Many of them are injected with solutions that contain gluten. Sometimes the turkey and basting solution will be gluten-free but there will be an enclosed bag of gravy mix which will not be gluten-free. In that case, I just discard the packet of gravy mix although I could make it up separately for others in the family. My family likes the gravy I make, so I don’t usually use the mix.
Use the pan juices to make Turkey Gravy or Giblet Gravy. Serve with Cornbread, Sausage and Pecan Dressing, Green Beans Almond, Potatoes Mashed with Butter, Glazed Yams with Marshmallows, Cranberry Sauce, and Pumpkin Pie.
Many cooks roast a turkey breast-side up, but I must say that if it is roasted breast-side down, the breast meat will be more moist and tender. The process is the same either way. The photos used above and below show a turkey that was roasted breast-side down.
- 20 pounds Turkey, Whole, thawed
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Rosemary, crushed
- 1/2 Teaspoon Thyme, crushed
- 1 Sprig Parsley, or 1 Tbsp. Dried Parsley
- 1 Pound Onions, quartered
- 2 Each Carrots, quartered
- 2 Stalks Celery, quartered
- 1 Tablespoon Oil
To thaw, leave in original wrap and place on tray or drip pan. Thaw in refrigerator for 2 to 5 days (8 lbs = 2 days, 20 lbs = 5 days). Check inside to be sure it’s thawed, or it will not cook according to schedule. A 20-lb turkey will serve about 12 people.
Remove packet of giblets and neck from inner cavity and reserve for another recipe (like Giblet Gravy).
Rinse bird inside and out. Pat dry.
Rub skin with oil. Combine the seasonings and sprinkle some over the skin.
Sprinkle the rest of the seasonings in the large cavity.
Stuff loosely with parsley, quartered onions, carrots and celery. If opening has band of skin across tail, push drumsticks under — no need to fasten opening. If not, close opening by placing skewers across it; if needed, lace shut with cord and tie drumsticks to tail.
To roast, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place turkey on rack in shallow roasting pan.
If meat thermometer is used, insert in center of inside thigh muscle, not touching bone.
Roast in uncovered pan 4-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours. Baste, if desired, with pan drippings or broth. Be sure to wash utensils, surfaces and hands in hot, soapy water after contact with uncooked turkey and juices.
When bird is about 2/3 done, cut any band of skin or string between legs and tail.
If turkey begins to brown too much, “cap” it loosely with foil, pressing it lightly at drumstick and breast ends. Avoid having foil touch top or sides. Continue roasting.
About 20 minutes before roasting time is up, test bird for doneness. The thickest part of drumstick should feel very soft when pressed between fingers protected with paper towels, and drumstick should move up and down and twist easily in socket. Meat thermometer should register 180 degrees in the inner thigh, 170 in the thickest part of the breast. Pop-up timers are convenient, but they don’t always work, so test the turkey yourself, too.
Remove bird from oven; cover with foil and let stand 15 minutes before carving.
Discard the vegetable stuffing.
Carve and serve.
To begin with, find a gluten-free turkey and thaw it.
Clean it, oil it and season it.
Or, it can roast breast-side down.
Done and ready to carve.