Here is my fail-safe recipe for a tender and juicy roasted turkey. We're all in need for a stress-free Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. With this easy keto turkey recipe you'll be able to serve up a wonderful meal and enjoy every moment (even the cooking part).
At some point in the year, most of us will put a turkey in the oven. In the US, this will probably happen for Thanksgiving. Here in the UK, it's most definitely Christmas.
What are your immediate feelings when you think of THAT meal? Yum, for sure. But is there also a little bit of stress that rises? Wanting to get it right for everyone? Not serving up a dried-up blackened birdie and get the feared raised eyebrow from Auntie Anneliese?
I get it. Roasting an entire turkey is expensive - a free range bird does not come cheap. Plus, a proper Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey has to be served with all the trimmings. You need to set aside a few hours, roll up your sleeves and embrace the journey.
The good news is, making a keto turkey dinner does not have to be stressful. Because with this recipe you'll serve up the juiciest bird ever! Even better, with my recipe tricks there's no need for brining the turkey.
And I'm not stopping there. On my website, you can also find recipes for the tastiest keto gravy made with the juices from your magnificent bird, a low carb cauliflower and sausage stuffing and the best ever roasted brussels sprouts.
Here are the ingredients you'll need:
- Turkey. I roasted a 12 pound / 5.6 kilo bird. It yields roughly 2kg meat.
- Fresh herbs. I used rosemary, thyme, sage and bay leaves.
- Olive oil.
- Parma ham.
- For the gravy trivet: Onion, carrot, celery, garlic and water.
Of course! Turkey does not contain any carbs, and it is rich in proteins and nutrients (1). As a rule of thumb, the dark meat is higher in fat and calories, while the breast is higher in protein.
Buy the best turkey you can afford. It's the same as with most dishes - a high quality meat will taste better. Interestingly, high welfare, free range turkeys cook faster than standard ones.
It's safest to defrost a turkey in the fridge. This will take around 24 hours for every 1.5-2 kg (or 3–4 pounds). Most frozen turkeys will need at least 2, if not 3 days to completely defrost.
A turkey should always come to room temperature before it goes into the oven. This way it can cook more evenly. Take it out of the fridge about 2 hours before roasting.
Cook a high welfare bird for 25 - 30 mins per kilo and a standard turkey 35 - 40 mins per kilo. Mine was 5.6kg and took about 3hrs 10 mins.
To check it’s done, pierce into the thick part of the turkey breast or thigh with a knife or skewer. If the juices run clear and not pink, it's done.
Even better, use a meat thermometer. Insert it between the breast and the leg. If the temperature is 75 Celsius (165 F), the turkey is done.
Step 1: Stuff the turkey. Add the herbs to the cavity but leave enough space for air to circulate.
You can also add optional halved garlic heads and lemon slices.
The vegetables in the trivet are essential for the gravy.
Step 2: Wrap it up. Cover the turkey in aluminium foil for the first couple of hours in the oven so the bird stays juicy.
Step 3: Roast. Turn the turkey upside down for the first hour in the oven. This allows all the fat to season and tenderise the breast.
Remove the foil for the last hour of cooking and baste it with pan juices for a crispy skin.
Step 3: Let it rest. Resting the turkey is an important step. Don't skip it! It makes the meat more succulent and tender because the juices have time to distribute throughout.
I rested mine for 1 hour and covered it with a tea towel so it stayed warm (you can also use aluminium foil). The absolute minimum resting time is 30 minutes.
Using a trivet
I used a trivet for this keto turkey recipe. However, a roasting rack will leave small indentions in the turkey breast. If you cover these with parma ham like I did this is not an issue.
OPTION!! To avoid the indentation stripes on the breast, don't use the rack or trivet. In this case, build a "rack" with the vegetables and rest the turkey on top. Also, DO NOT add water to the bottom of the pan or the turkey breast skin will loosen and tear. You can add water after cooking to loosen the pan juices for the gravy.
However, I still recommend to decorate the breasts with parma ham. I prefer it to the classic pancetta or bacon that is often used. The saltiness of the ham tastes great together with the breast meat and just looks pretty.
While the turkey is resting, make the gravy. I'm showing you my trick how I make the gravy thick without any flour or unnecessary carbs.
Here are some low carb dishes that go well with a turkey:
- Keto Stuffing
- Low Carb Cranberry Sauce
- Creamy Keto Mashed Cauliflower
- Brussels Sprouts
- Keto Mac and Cheese
- Green beans & broccoli
- Almond flour biscuits
... and for dessert, make this Low Carb Christmas Pudding or this Sugar free Chocolate Christmas Cake!
If you're preparing a keto Thanksgiving, whip up a Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie or this Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake.
And after dinner - how about a glass of Sugar Free Keto Eggnog?
Leftover turkey meat stays more tender and juicy on the bone. If you have plenty of leftovers, wrap the turkey carcass in a damp kitchen towel and cling film. Then, store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The next day, I cooked the carcass to make a bone broth and made a rich and creamy keto turkey soup!
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating below!
★ STAY IN TOUCH on FACEBOOK, PINTEREST and INSTAGRAM for more great food and join my NEWSLETTER for the latest updates and a FREE EBOOK.★
Keto Turkey Recipe for Thanksgiving and Christmasfrom Sugar Free Londoner
Note: The servings slider only changes the first amount in each line and not any subsequent amounts. Please make your own calculations where necessary. ***As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- 1 x 5.6 kg / 12 pounds high welfare turkey roughly 2kg meat
- 1 bunch rosemary 15g
- 1 bunch thyme 15g
- 1 bunch sage 15g
- 5 bay leaves 1g
- 1 - 2 tablespoon olive oil to baste
- 78 g parma ham approx. 6 thin slices
- Optional turkey giblets
- 1 small onion 60g
- 1 carrot peeled and quartered
- 2 sticks celery chopped in half
- 1 bulb garlic halved
- 1 cup / 240 ml water
- Preheat oven to 180 C / 160 fan / 350 F.
- Check the cavity for giblets. If they are there, remove. Option to put in the roasting tray (minus the bag) for tasty gravy.
- Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic to your tray plus water.
- Add the herbs to the cavity but leave enough space for air to circulate.
- Rub olive oil all over the turkey and into the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the top and bottom with salt and pepper. Place the turkey on top of the trivet (upside down for the juiciest bird) and cover with tin foil.
- COOKING TIMES
- Cook a high welfare bird for 25 - 30 mins per kilo, standard 35 - 40 mins per kilo. Mine was 5.6kg and took about 3hrs 10 mins.
- If cooking upside down, cook for 1 hour and then turn the right way (breast up) and cover with foil again.
- About 1 hour before the end of cooking, remove the foil and baste the turkey with the pan juices. 15 - 20 minutes before the end of cooking add the parma ham.
- To check it’s done, pierce into the thick part of the turkey breast or thigh with a knife or skewer. If the juices run clear, it's done.
- Lift the turkey from the trivet using a big carving fork. Cover the turkey with a clean tea towel or foil and rest for around 1 hr before carving.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of these links and purchase a product, I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Sugar Free Londoner.
Hi, Katrin - I'm in a bit of a quandary - I want to cook this recipe for Thanksgiving, but I'm not the host. There are six of us, and some want the turkey filled with stuffing (they don't care about the Keto part). Is there a way I can still incorporate the herbs into the recipe? I'm still planning to do the veggie trivet and gravy.
Also, can I cover the bird with the lid of the roasting pan instead of tin foil?
If you are using a roasting pan with a lid (I am assuming this is a casserole dish like a Le Creuset?) I would not fill it with liquid. Basically, you don't want the turkey sitting in liquid or the skin may loosen/break. You can always add liquid afterwards when you scrape the pan juices and cook up the sauce. You can rub the turkey with the herbs and add a few scattered around (you won't need all of them). If you use a stuffing, this will contain herbs as well, which will flavour the turkey from the inside. I'm sure it will be delicious.
No, Creuset, I'm afraid; I have a large oval "speckled"metal roasting pan, and I'm cooking a 12 pound bird. So I should make the veggie trivet (should I add the herbs here or would they overpower the gravy? ) but leave out the water? I'll spray the pan with cooking spray. AndI guess lid vs foil is okay?
Okay, so if you want to cook the bird in a roasting pan, I'd add the vegetables to the pan first, plus a few sprigs of the herbs. Maybe add 1/2 - 1 cup of water/chicken broth, depending on the size of the pan. You just want it to barely cover the bottom so it can create some steam. Then you sit the bird on top of the vegetables, so it does not directly touch the bottom of the pan. This way the air can circulate around the turkey. I don't think lid or foil makes a difference, they both do the same thing. You definitely don't need all the herbs.
Amazing Recipe with Full Chicken. It Would be Nice to have this Prepared and Served at the Dinner Party's. I Like this Recipe. Thank You for Sharing.
Can I come to YOUR house for Thanksgiving? Laughing!