Roast Turkey

Directions for a perfectly roasted and seasoned turkey every time. Herb-glazed roast turkey is a juicy, moist show-stopper.

This roast turkey turned out totally delicious! The turkey skin came out really crisp and flavorful, and the meat was very tender. Try Turkey Noodle Soup, Easy Turkey Tetrazzini, Turkey Chili, or Creamy Turkey and Noodles to use up every bit of that delicious turkey.

Crispy roast turkey on a white serving platter with parsley

Perfection every time!

If you’ve been tasks with presenting the main dish at Thanksgiving, it can be a little daunting! Whether you are preparing for yourself or a small family, or for the entire gang…I’ve got you!

Just follow these simple steps and you will achieve the perfect roast turkey every time! I’ve even included tips on how to choose a turkey (what size) and a guide to make sure your frozen turkey is thawed and ready to go.

After roasting, you will pour on a delicious herb glaze. This glaze adds so much flavor and helps you get that crispy skin that is sure to be a hit! Put your mind at ease and get working on those tasty sides and must-make pies!

Uncooked turkey on a bed of veggies in a roasting pan

How to roast a turkey

PREP. Preheat the oven to 425.

SEASON. Brush the olive oil all over the skin of the turkey and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place about 2/3 of the vegetables and apples in the bottom of a roasting pan with an elevated rack in it.

TIE. Place the turkey in the roasting pan and stuff the remaining vegetables inside the turkey. If the turkey’s legs are not already tied together, tie them with kitchen twine.

BAKE. Roast the turkey uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes, then cover loosely with foil. Reduce the heat to 375 and roast for an additional 2 – 2 ½ hours. The turkey is fully cooked when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees.

Measuring cup full of glaze and spices

Turkey Glaze

GLAZE. To finish the turkey, whisk together the glaze ingredients. Brush the glaze over the turkey, and return the turkey to the oven uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

REST. Remove from oven, discard the vegetables, and let rest 10-20 minutes before serving.

Roasted Turkey in a roasting pan before glaze applied

Turkey Prep Notes

The Right Size: When making turkey you typically plan for about 1-1.5 lbs per person. If your family loves leftover turkey, be sure to plan on 1.5 per person.

If you have a huge extended family, like mine, there’s no way I’ll buy a 30 lb turkey. You can cook and serve two smaller turkeys so that everyone will get some.

Fully Thawed: It’s really important to calculate how long it is going to take to thaw your turkey. The easiest way is to stick it in the fridge and let it thaw in there, but if you need to thaw it faster you can use Cold water.

  • Fridge: When thawing in the fridge, plan on 4-5 hours per pound. After it has fully thawed it can stay in the fridge for an additional 2 days before it needs to be cooked.
  • Cold water: Place the bird in a bucket of COLD water. You need to change the water every 30 minutes. Plan for it to take 30 minutes per pound. Once the turkey is thawed it will need to be cooked right away.
Glazed turkey in a roasting pan

Roasting Tips

Roasting Notes:

  • Use a roasting pan with an elevated rack that way the bird is somewhat above the liquid. 
  • Basting every 40-45 minutes. If the drippings evaporate before the turkey is done add a little bit of broth to the bottom of the pan.
  • If the turkey is browning more quickly than it is cooking, you can tent a piece of tin foil over the top to keep the skin from burning.
Sliced roast turkey breast on a white platter

Cooking Times + Storing

Cook Time: The internal temperature will need to reach 165°F. Many turkeys will come with a little plastic insert that will popup when done. You can also buy a thermometer for extra accuracy. Be sure to insert it in the thickest part of the turkey. Use the following times to help you gage about how long it may take to fully roast:

Unstuffed:

  • 10 – 18 lbs: 3-3.5 hours
  • 18 – 22 lbs: 3.5-4 hours
  • 22 – 24 lbs: 2-2.5 hours
  • 24 – 29 lbs: 4.5-5 hours

Stuffed:

  • 10 – 18 lbs: 3.5-4.5 hours
  • 18 – 22 lbs: 4.5-5 hours
  • 22 – 24 lbs: 5-5.5 hours
  • 24 – 29 lbs: stuffed 5.5-6.5 hours

Let the Turkey Rest: Line a baking sheet with a wire rack. After you have removed the tukey from the oil, place it on the wire rack. Tent a piece of tin foil over the turkey and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Storing Info

Remove the meat from the bones. STORE in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or freezer for 2-3 months.

Close up of perfectly glazed roast turkey on a white platter with parsley

Must-make Sides to Serve:

Roast Turkey Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Directions for a perfectly roasted and seasoned turkey every time. Herb-glazed roast turkey is a juicy, moist show-stopper.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 786 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

for the turkey:

  • 1 14-16 pound turkey thawed and brined
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 Granny Smith apples cored and cut into slices
  • 2-3 carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 onion cut into pieces
  • 5-6 stalks celery cut into 1 inch pieces

for the glaze:

  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425.
  • Brush the olive oil all over the skin of the turkey and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place about 2/3 of the vegetables and apples in the bottom of a roasting pan with an elevated rack in it.
  • Place the turkey in the roasting pan and stuff the remaining vegetables inside the turkey. If the turkey's legs are not already tied together, tie them with kitchen twine.
  • Roast the turkey uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes, then cover loosely with foil. Reduce the heat to 375 and roast for an additional 2 – 2 ½ hours. The turkey is fully cooked when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees.
  • To finish the turkey, whisk together the glaze ingredients. Brush the glaze over the turkey, and return the turkey to the oven uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven, discard the vegetables, and let rest 10-20 minutes before serving.

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About the Author

Alicia Skousen

Hi! I’m Alicia and I blog at The Baker Upstairs. I am in love with all things food! I love to bake bread, cupcakes, cookies… you name it! When I’m not baking, I am running after my two adorable little girls, working as an RN, knitting, reading, and trying to squeeze in time with my husband every day.

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    This truly is the best turkey recipe ever!! It is our favorite and we will continue to make it every Thanksgiving!!

  2. 5 stars
    Love your tips! I’ve always been intimidated to make the turkey, but you make it seem easy, so thank you for sharing!