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Learn How to Roast a Turkey that is tender, juicy and packed with flavor. This oven baked turkey is so easy and really delicious.
We have the best recipe for roast turkey. It is very simple and we break it down step by step. No worries about dry or flavorless turkey because this recipe is amazing.
With just a few simple ingredients and a couple of tips, you will be able to make the best turkey in the oven ever. Make sure to check out all of our Thanksgiving Recipes that are delicious and easy to make.
Table of Contents
What Size Turkey Should I Buy?
Generally, I figure about 1.5 pounds per person for Thanksgiving. This will allow for enough turkey and you’ll have some leftovers too.
So if you are having 10 people over for Thanksgiving, you would need approximately a 15 pound turkey.
- Whole Turkey
- Minced Garlic
- Salt and Black Pepper
- Spices – You can easily add any fresh or dried herbs that you prefer to the butter mixture that is rubbed on the turkey. Garlic Cloves, Rosemary or Thyme would be delicious on this roasted turkey recipe.
- Stuffing – Feel free to stuff your turkey for added flavor. I like to add in fresh vegetables such as onion, celery, lemon zest, and carrots into the turkey cavity.
How to Roast a Turkey:
- Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. You will need to move the oven rack 1 level lower than the center of the oven.
- Step 2 – Combine the butter, garlic, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
- Step 3 – Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey. Then tuck the wings under the turkey. Another option is to tie back the wings of the turkey with kitchen twine.
- Step 4 – Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Once it is dry, place the turkey in a roasting pan that has a roasting rack with the turkey breast side up.
- Step 5 – Coat the turkey skin with the butter mixture you combined earlier. Make sure to get this all over the turkey.
- Step 6 – Make a tent on top of the turkey with aluminum foil. This is to prevent the turkey from browning too much.
- Step 7 – Cook the turkey based on the size of the turkey. Use a meat thermometer to make sure that the turkey is cooked. When it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees the turkey is fully cooked. Insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh.
- Step 8 – When the turkey is finished cooking, remove the turkey from oven. Let it rest for 20 minutes to 60 minutes. I normally do the 60 minutes. Then the turkey is ready to carve.
- Do not rinse the turkey. Rinsing the turkey is not needed. This will only get battery in your sink and give you a bigger mess to clean up. Any bacteria on the turkey will cook off in the oven.
- Do not use melted butter. Use softened butter instead. If the butter is completely melted, it just rolls off the turkey and tastes the seasonings with it. Softened butter holds the butter and seasonings on the skin of the turkey.
- Allow Turkey to Rest. It can be tempting to slice it too soon but try to wait at least 30 minutes. This allows the juices and all that flavor to stay inside.
- Use a cutting board to carve the turkey.
- I don’t recommend brining or basting the turkey. If you buy a good quality turkey. Brining or basting is not needed. I never brine or baste my turkey and it comes out delicious and golden brown every time.
- Turkey Gravy – After the turkey is done cooking. Make sure to save the juices from the bottom of your roasting pan to make turkey gravy.
How Long to Cook a Turkey in a Roaster:
The cooking time is based on the size of the turkey. It is approximately 14 – 15 minutes per pound. But make sure to check the turkey with a meat thermometer before removing it from the oven.
The turkey needs to reach an internal temperature 165 degrees F.
- A 12-15 lb turkey will take approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours.
- A 15-20 lb turkey will take approximately 2 ½ – 3 hours.
- A 20-24 lb turkey will take approximately 3 – 3 ½ hours.
How to Carve a Turkey:
Carving a turkey is not as hard as it sounds. First, remove the thickest part of the thigh. Then remove the breast meat by carving off each breast at the breast bone with sharp knife.
Then remove the wings by cutting off the joint as well. Next slice the turkey into serving size portions.
I usually portion out the breast meat and the dark meat for easy serving.
How to Store Leftovers:
Store your leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days. Store in an airtight container or freeze the leftovers in a freezer bag.
Frequently Asked Questions:
We prefer a digital meat thermometer because it is so much easier to read. They are inexpensive and very handy. You will love having this on hand when cooking meat.
It is best to cover the turkey so it does not get too brown. We normally cover the turkey with foil by making a tent over the pan. You can remove the foil in the last few minutes of cooking to get that golden brown color if you prefer.
You will need to allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey to thaw in a refrigerator. I place the frozen turkey on a ribbed baking sheet when I place it in the refrigerator to thaw. This will catch all the excess liquid that drips off the turkey as it thaws.
More Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes
- Easy Green Bean Casserole Recipe
- Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
- Easy Homemade Dinner Rolls Recipe
- Check out our 50 Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes
We love hearing from you. Make sure to leave us a comment or a star review if you make this Roasted Turkey.
How to Roast a Turkey
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack 1 level lower than the center of the oven.
- Mix the butter, garlic, salt and pepper together in a small mixing bowl.
- Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey. Turk the wings under the turkey. You can tie back the wings of the turkey if you prefer.
- Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and place it on a roasted pan with a roasting rack.
- Rub the butter mixture all over the skin of the turkey.
- Then tent the top of the turkey with aluminum foil to prevent the turkey from browning too much.
- Cook the turkey based on the size of the turkey and use a meat thermometer to ensure that the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F when the thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the turkey. The bake time will be approximately 14-15 minutes per pound but make sure to check the turkey with a meat thermometer before removing it from the oven.
- Let the turkey rest for 30-60 minutes.
- Remove the turkey to a serving platter, carve and enjoy!
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