roast turkey

Are you ready to tackle the culinary titan that is the roast turkey? Whether it’s your first time or you’re just looking to streamline the process, this easy roast turkey recipe will have you impressing guests (and maybe even yourself) with your newfound poultry prowess. Let’s get started!

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 1 whole turkey (10-12 pounds is a good size for beginners)
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter (or olive oil, if you’re feeling fancy)
  • Salt and pepper (don’t be shy with these)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • Fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, and sage)
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (or water, in a pinch)

Tools of the Trade:

  • A large roasting pan (big enough for your turkey to lounge in comfortably)
  • A meat thermometer (trust me, this is a lifesaver)
  • Kitchen twine (sounds fancy, but it’s just string)
  • Aluminum foil

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Thaw the Turkey

First things first: make sure your turkey is properly thawed. If it’s been in the freezer, give it plenty of time to defrost in the fridge—approximately 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds. No one wants a turkey popsicle.

roast turkey

2. Prep Work

Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C). Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey cavity (don’t worry, this sounds grosser than it is). Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.

3. Flavor Time

Rub the turkey all over with the melted butter. Get in there—pretend it’s a spa day for your turkey. Season generously with salt and pepper, both inside and out.

Stuff the cavity with the halved lemon, quartered onion, and a handful of fresh herbs. If you want to get fancy, you can truss the turkey (tie the legs together with kitchen twine) to help it cook evenly. Or, you can just let it all hang loose. Your call.

4. Roasting Setup

Place the turkey breast-side up on a rack in your roasting pan. Pour about 2 cups of chicken broth into the bottom of the pan to keep things moist. Cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.

roast turkey

5. Into the Oven

Roast the turkey in the preheated oven. As a general rule, cook the turkey for about 15 minutes per pound. So, a 10-pound turkey will take roughly 2.5 hours, while a 12-pound bird will need around 3 hours.

Read More:
How To Make Garlic Herb Butter Roast Turkey Recipe
How To Make Stir Fried Thai Basil And Pork Recipe

6. The Basting Ritual

Every 45 minutes, remove the foil and baste the turkey with the juices from the bottom of the pan. This keeps the meat juicy and the skin crispy. Return the foil after each basting session.

7. Temperature Check

About 45 minutes before you think the turkey will be done, start checking the internal temperature with your meat thermometer. You’re aiming for 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh (without touching the bone). If it hasn’t reached this temperature, pop it back in the oven and keep checking every 15 minutes.

8. Resting Period

Once your turkey hits the magic number, remove it from the oven and let it rest. Tent it loosely with aluminum foil and leave it alone for at least 20-30 minutes. This helps the juices redistribute, making your turkey juicy and tender.


Congratulations! You’ve just conquered the mighty roast turkey. Carve it up, serve it with your favorite sides, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Remember, even if things didn’t go perfectly, you’ve still created a feast that will be appreciated by all. And hey, there’s always next year to perfect your technique. Happy cooking!

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