The Best Oven Roasted Turkey Recipe

This is the best oven roasted turkey recipe – it’s baked to perfection creating tender, juicy turkey breast and crispy, herb butter skin.

The Best Roast Turkey Recipe

In my mind, a roast turkey is always the perfect turkey for holiday celebrations. It’s the basis for all of our family get togethers and large gatherings because this turkey is always delicious and feeds a crowd!

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Ever since I moved away from home to attend University, I have been the “turkey roaster” of the group. I remember my four roommates and I all trying to figure out how to cook a bird in the oven.

A phone call home to mom was definitely required because back in those days, Google as we know it did not exist. Cooking a whole turkey for the first time can be intimidating!

The Best Roast Turkey Recipe

In the end we came up with a simple dinner that must have been pretty edible because no one complained. We had the easiest side dishes too, garlic mashed potatoes and cooked carrots. You can’t go wrong!

The Best Roast Turkey Recipe

I have learned a lot since then and can say with confidence that we are now turkey aficionados. For Thanksgiving dinner, our go-to cooking method is this garbage can turkey, at Christmas we always have a turkey roast and for Easter we often cook a smoked turkey.

Oven Roaster for Turkey

Here’s what we need to get started in cooking the best roast turkey!

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Supplies:

  • Oven roaster – we like this large rectangular one because it fits any size of bird.
  • Turkey Lifter – this tool is a must, it makes lifting the turkey out of the roaster easy!
  • Meat Thermometer – we love this new Meater thermometer. It connects to an app that tells you exactly when your turkey is done! This would have been super helpful twenty years ago. LOL
  • Paper towels – for patting the turkey dry.
  • Aluminum foil – or a lid for covering the turkey of the skin starts to get too crispy.
  • Sharp knife – for cutting the bird.
  • Cutting board – for serving the turkey.
Roast Turkey Process

Ingredients:

*Brining the turkey before roasting makes for the most tender and juicy bird! This step can be skipped but we don’t recommend it.

**Use 4 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp of your favorite poultry seasoning instead.

smoked turkey brine recipe

Preparation:

1. Defrost the frozen turkey – this can take up to one week in the fridge.

To speed up the process you can place the bird in the kitchen sink, full of water. Be sure to cover the turkey completely and refresh the cold water every couple of hours. A good rule of thumb for thaw time in cold water is about 30 minutes per pound, with the water refreshed every 30 minutes.

2. Remove the turkey neck and bag of giblets from the turkey cavity. This can be cooked and added to stuffing or simply thrown out.

3. The best way to cook a moist turkey is by using this wet brine recipe. We allow our turkey to brine for at least 8 hours, it makes for juicy turkeys every time!

4. Drain and pat the turkey dry with paper towel.

Roast turkey herb butter rub

5. Coat the entire turkey with a mixture of butter and fresh herbs. We like to use a simple herb butter recipe, it gives the turkey breast the most delicious, crispy skin.

Roast turkey process

6. Place the roasting rack into the roaster and then the bird, breast side up.

7. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the bird. We like to cook our turkey at 325 degrees F, which is generally 15 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird. Cook time for a 12 pound turkey would be about 3 hours.

The Best Roast Turkey Recipe

8. Use an instant-read thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165 degrees before removing it from the oven.

9. Let the turkey rest for 10 minutes before lifting it from the roasting pan to a cutting board to carve.

The Best Roast Turkey Recipe

Make a note of these roasting times so that you can be prepared. Times are different for an unstuffed and stuffed turkey. According to the USDA:

How long do you roast a turkey?

  • Unstuffed at 325 for 15 minutes per pound.
  • Unstuffed at 350 for 13 minutes per pound.
  • Stuffed at 325 for 17 minutes per pound.
  • Stuffed at 350 for 15 minutes per pound.
  • When in doubt, check the internal temperature with a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast. It should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Best Roast Turkey Recipe

Tips and tricks:

  • Remove the top oven rack to give the oven roaster more room.
  • Save the drippings from the bottom of the pan to make the best turkey gravy.
  • Use the turkey carcass and leftovers to create a turkey stock.
  • My mom taught me to use a turkey baster to baste the turkey with drippings from the bottom of the pan throughout the cook. Try this method!
  • If the turkey skin is getting too crispy, cover it with a lid or aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too brown.
The Best Roast Turkey Recipe

Roasting an entire turkey is the easiest way to feed a crowd during the holiday season! We like to serve our bird with garlic mashed potatoes, classic cooked carrots and fresh dinner rolls.

The Best Roast Turkey Recipe

More turkey recipes:

The Best Oven Roasted Turkey Recipe

If you love this oven roasted turkey recipe, please give it a five star review and help me share it on Facebook or Pinterest so that others can enjoy it too!

The Best Roast Turkey Recipe

The Best Oven Roasted Turkey Recipe

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes

This is the best oven roasted turkey recipe - it's baked to perfection creating tender, juicy turkey breast and crispy, herb butter skin.

Ingredients

  • 12-20 lb turkey
  • Turkey brine
  • Herb butter rub

Instructions

1. Defrost the frozen turkey - this can take up to one week in the fridge. To speed up the process you can place the bird in the kitchen sink, full of water. Be sure to cover the turkey completely. A good rule of thumb for thaw time in cold water is about 30 minutes per pound, with the water refreshed every 30 minutes.

2. Remove the turkey neck and bag of giblets from the turkey cavity. This can be cooked and added to stuffing or simply thrown out.

3. The best way to cook a moist turkey is by using a wet brine recipe. We allow our turkey to brine for at least 8 hours, it makes for juicy turkeys every time!

4. Drain and pat the turkey dry with paper towel.

5. Coat the entire turkey with a mixture of fresh herbs and butter. We like to use a simple herb butter rub, it gives the turkey breast the most delicious, crispy skin.

6. Place the roasting rack into the roaster and then the bird, breast side up.

7. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the bird. We like to cook our turkey at 325 degrees F, which is generally 15 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird. Cook time for a 12 pound turkey would be about 3 hours.

8. Use an instant-read thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165 degrees before removing it from the oven.

9. Let the turkey rest for 10 minutes before lifting it from the roasting pan to a cutting board to carve.

Did you make this recipe?

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about heather

Hello, I’m Heather!

I'm an active mom of twin boys who is always looking for opportunities to inspire creativity through fun crafts, do-it-yourself projects and delicious recipes. This blog has been an integral part of supporting my little family and I am so grateful to have you become a part of our journey! Let's create together... Read more...

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