No Baste Holiday Turkey, Roasted with Cheesecloth Technique

This is the only turkey recipe you’ll ever need. I’ve made at least 4 of these turkeys roasted with cheesecloth and every time, they come out perfect.

As turkey recipes abound, I’m just like everyone else. I only cook a turkey once a year, so I watch all the cooking shows, and read the latest news on turkey cooking. When Michael Symon draped his turkey in a cheesecloth on the Chew  a few years ago, and said “this bird will not need basting,” I knew I was in. I didn’t use his Greek flavor profile, choosing my own, so feel free to adjust the recipe according to your favorite seasonings.  I used oranges, thyme, sage, rosemary and shallots to season the bird and I made my own stock.

I’ve since made a video of the process. I think you’ll enjoy.

The seasonings and spices are not as important as the technique. I think you could use chicken stock, salt and pepper and still come out a winner. But, I know you’ll fuss with your favorite herbs just like I do.

I’m in good company with all the major chefs like Bobby Flay and Micheal Symon who don’t brine their turkey. Bobby Flay says that brining is for folks who overcook their turkey. A fresh turkey should not need brining. However, there is something called a dry brine, which is the secret to my roast chicken. You simply salt the turkey the day before, wrap in plastic, not unlike the way I roast a chicken.

What kind of turkey do you use?

I think this is of paramount importance if you want a good tasting, healthy turkey. I always buy a fresh turkey from a reliable source. I don’t think you need to spend $100 on a turkey, but I don’t recommend looking for a bargain. Do your homework. Dismiss hormone laden turkeys that don’t ever cook, and buy the best turkey you can find within reason. Having said that, even the $100 turkey can be a disaster if it’s cooked to death.

This is a tested recipe using a turkey which was humanely raised and vegetarian fed, free of antibiotics and growth hormones. It was absolutely perfect. Get my turkey gravy recipe here.

Tell me, do you watch cooking shows and use the recipes for your Thanksgiving dinner?

Roast turkey with Cheesecloth by Angela Roberts

Check out the Thanksgiving Food Pinterest Board for some great recipes by top bloggers.

If you’re looking for sides and desserts, I have you covered in my Holiday Recipes Category.

5.0 from 2 reviews
No Baste Holiday Turkey, Roasted with Cheesecloth Technique
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
Cheesecloth no baste turkey adapted from Michael Symon, turkey stock adapted from Guy Fieri. Perfectly moist, golden brown turkey with no opening oven to baste.
  • 1 12-15 pound turkey (adjust amount of turkey stock for larger turkey)
  • salt
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 4 large shallots, peeled
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • bunch of fresh sage leaves
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into thirds
  • cheesecloth (large enough for triple layer over turkey)
  • Turkey stock, Recipe follows (can use a chicken stock, chicken broth)
  • 1 turkey neck
  • 1 chicken back or chicken necks (can use turkey wings)
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 carrots, chopped in thirds
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped in thirds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  1. Clean turkey, removing everything inside. Check all cavities to remove included gizzards, liver, turkey neck, etc.
  2. Salt turkey generously, wrap in plastic, refrigerate overnight.
  3. When ready to roast, Wash salt off. Pat Dry. Allow to sit at room temperature 1 hour.
  4. Use warm/cool stock. Heat up first if taking out of refrigerator. Allow to cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 425.
  6. Pat inside of turkey dry. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Stuff turkey with celery, oranges and sage, thyme, shallots, rosemary.
  8. If desired, place a few sage leaves in between breast flesh and breast skin.
  9. Place turkey in roasting pan, over a rack.
  10. Cover entire turkey withcheesecloth. Pour all of the turkey stock over the cheesecloth.
  11. Roast for 45 minutes at 425.
  12. Lower to 350, and roast until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180.
  13. Allow to rest 30 minutes before carving.
  15. Roast turkey and chicken parts in oven for 45 minutes at 350.
  16. Add chopped vegetables. Turn meat over and place over vegetables.
  17. Continue to roast for 35 minutes.
  18. Add turkey and vegetables and all pan drippings into 4 quarts of boiling water. Bring to simmer, and simmer for 2 hours on low heat.
  19. Cool. Skim fat. Use immediately or make day before, refrigerate.




  1. says

    I have been brining my turkeys for 4 or 5 years and these past T-days the bird has been delicious. I buy a fresh Bell & Evans, never Butterball or store brand –I don’t care if its free! Fresh cooks up better than a thawed frozen, any day. I time it # lbs/per minute, and use a thermometer to read internal temps. No one needs salmonella ever, and you can’t always judge by color. I used to love the Food Network, but I think I OD’d on it and find most of their shows boring. I miss the old chefs. For holidays, I like my tried and true family faves handed down from my grandma, and her mom before her, and her mom…….can’t beat them. When I make these dishes, they are right there with me in the kitchen. :-) xo

  2. says

    I’ve seen this technique around a bit lately and I’m so interested by it! I think I’ll try it on chicken prior to the turkey though… don’t think I have the cajones to do it before the Big Day! :)
    beeeeeeautiful photos, to boot! :)

  3. Platanos, Mangoes & Me! says

    My daugther-in-law’s mother used this technique and it really worked. Sorry to be late in commenting, Hurri Sandy made it impossible to have internet for over a week….

  4. Steph says

    I used this technique last year. It made the turkey very juicy and tender but still kept a nice golden brown crust, it was perfect!. I also place rosemary and garlic cloves on the breast I lifted the skin to keep the flavor within the Turkey. Everyone loved it. Repeating technique this year!,

  5. Carol says

    My mother and grandmother has done something like this for years. She would used the cheese cloth soak with turkey stock method; but also she will wrap the turkey as best as she can with a large brown paper bag that has been coated with butter all inside the bag. Then she will start the turkey high at 12 midnight or something, then turn the heat down to 200 degrees for the rest of the night. The turkey is out in the morning. The brown bag technique was used before foil was invented or used my most older cooks. I was always afraid that the bag will catch fire but it never did, so I really never sleep well that night. I try it once myself and it was moist and great.

  6. Rhonda RB says

    I’ve been doing my turkeys for years using this cheesecloth/butter/wine method and they have always come out absolutely beautiful and yummy delicious. This year I’ve purchased an Oster roaster oven. Has anyone ever tried using the cheesecloth IN the roaster oven?


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