This Perfect Herb-Roasted Turkey with No Sugar Added Cranberry Sauce Recipe proves that a timeless classic can be healthier, moist, and naturally flavorful!
Turkey is, without a doubt, the king at the Thanksgiving table. It’s always the meal of choice and the centerpiece of Thanksgiving festivities. Thus, with this version, we’ll bring out its natural flavor even more with the perfect mixture of herbs and citrus.
Complementing the scrumptious turkey is a guilt-free, no-sugar-added cranberry sauce. This sauce is very good for DIY. Not to mention that the prepared ones are full of sugar. Nonetheless, turkey and cranberry sauce won’t just give you the ultimate feeling and warmth of the season, but the nutrient goodness of protein, Vitamins A and C, and minerals.
To make our turkey moist and perfectly done, make sure that you roast it in the right spot. While it’s always best to know your oven well so that you’ll know where the hot spots are, the general rule of thumb is to put the turkey in the third or middle level of the oven to ensure even cooking. That is, if you’re not using an electric oven-roaster, which works just as fine.
Also, keep the giblets and the neck from the turkey’s cavity because you can still use them to whip up a yummy gravy.
We love to use avocado oil because of its higher smoking point as compared to olive oil. If avocado oil is hard to find, however, olive oil is totally fine.
Meanwhile, freezing fruits increase its sweetness through time. Hence, they tend to be sweeter than the fresh ones. Plus, the dates also act as a natural sweetener. They’re the good kind of sugar!
Indeed, the very pleasing aroma and look of our Perfectly Roasted Turkey with NSA Cranberry sauce brings so much joy and nourishment to our families and loved ones. So, without further ado, here’s the most-awaited recipe for the holidays.
Perfect Herb-Roasted Turkey with No Sugar Added Cranberry Sauce
- Roasting Pan with Rack or Electric Roaster
- Kitchen Twine
- Meat Thermometer
- Blender or Food Processor
- Serving Board
- 1 8- to 10- pound whole turkey thawed
- ¼ cup fresh herbs such as thyme rosemary, sage, and/or oregano, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons avocado or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 small onion diced into 2-inch pieces
- 1 small apple cored and diced into 2-inch pieces
- 1 small lemon quartered
- ½ small orange halved
- 20 sprigs fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage, and/or oregano, divided into two
- 3 cups water plus more as needed
- 1 cup orange juice freshly squeezed
- ⅓ cup dates pitted
- 3 cups cranberries fresh-frozen
- Juice of 1 lemon
For Garnish (Optional):
- Sprigs of fresh herbs as needed
- Lemon or orange wedges as needed
- Preheat the oven to 475ºF.
- Clean the turkey by removing its giblets and neck from the cavities and pat-dry it with paper towels. Transfer the turkey, breast-side up, on top of a roasting rack set on a large roasting pan.
- Combine all the turkey rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the turkey, including the breast meat and underneath the skin.
- Place the aromatics, including 10 sprigs of fresh herbs, inside the cavity. Tuck the tips of the wings under the turkey and tie their legs together using twine. Add 3 cups of water and the remaining 10 sprigs of herbs to the pan.
- Roast the turkey for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. Then, take it out from the oven and cover the turkey breast with a double layer of aluminum foil, cutting as needed to keep up with the breast.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and roast the turkey back in the oven for about an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF. Check the turkey every now and then; If the pan is drying out, tilt the turkey to allow its juices to pour into the pan and add a cup of water.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce by puréeing orange juice and dates in a blender or food processor until fairly smooth. Then, transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and add cranberries. Boil over medium-high heat and simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes until most of the cranberries are broken down. Turn off the heat, mix in lemon juice, and set aside.
- Once the turkey’s done, transfer it to a serving board and let it rest for 20 minutes, still covered. Remove the foil and twine, serve with cranberry sauce on the side, and enjoy!
- It’s good to keep in mind that it’s best to position the turkey in the third or middle level of the oven. Although it depends on the oven and its hot spots, the key to a perfectly roasted turkey is the even amount of heat that’s surrounding it. Otherwise, the turkey might be burnt on one side. Nonetheless, feel free to use an electric oven roaster cooker for even and hassle-free roasting.
- Don’t throw away the giblets and neck from the turkey cavities, along with the turkey drippings, as you can use them in making gravy later on.
- Avocado oil has a higher smoking temperature compared to olive oil. Not to mention that it also adds a rich flavor to any dish. However, if you don’t have access to this, feel free to use olive oil instead.
- Frozen cranberries are used in this recipe since they tend to be sweeter compared to the fresh ones.
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