Simple and Delicious Roast Turkey Recipe

May 30, 2024
Roast Turkey

Is a flawlessly roasted turkey something you’re prepared to serve to your guests? You can’t go wrong with this easy and tasty roast turkey dish, whether you’re hosting a holiday dinner or just a casual family get-together. In no time at all, you’ll be presenting a succulent and tasty turkey thanks to these simple instructions.


To create the perfect roast turkey, you will need:

For the Turkey:

  • 1 whole turkey (12-14 pounds), thawed if frozen
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 4 cups chicken broth

For the Gravy:

  • Pan drippings from the roast turkey
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth (additional)


Step 1: Prepare the Turkey

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C).
  2. Prep the Turkey: Remove the turkey from its packaging and pat it dry with paper towels. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity (these can be used to make stock or gravy).
  3. Season the Turkey: In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, salt, pepper, chopped thyme, rosemary, sage, and minced garlic. Gently loosen the skin over the turkey breasts and rub half of the butter mixture under the skin. Rub the remaining butter mixture all over the outside of the turkey.
  4. Stuff the Turkey: Place the quartered onion and halved lemons inside the cavity of the turkey. This will add extra flavor and moisture as it roasts.

Step 2: Roast the Turkey

  1. Roast: Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan. Pour 4 cups of chicken broth into the bottom of the pan to keep the turkey moist. Cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil.
  2. Bake: Roast the turkey in the preheated oven for about 3 hours, basting with the pan drippings every 30 minutes. Remove the foil during the last hour of cooking to allow the skin to brown and become crispy.
  3. Check for Doneness: The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F (75°C). If the turkey needs more time, continue roasting and checking the temperature every 15 minutes.

Step 3: Let the Turkey Rest

  1. Rest: Once the turkey is done, transfer it to a cutting board and tent it with aluminum foil. Let it rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and flavorful turkey.

Step 4: Make the Gravy

  1. Collect Drippings: While the turkey rests, pour the pan drippings into a measuring cup. Let the fat rise to the top and skim it off, leaving the flavorful drippings.
  2. Prepare the Gravy: In a medium saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the skimmed fat over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes until golden brown. Gradually whisk in the pan drippings and additional chicken broth until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tips for the Perfect Roast Turkey

Creating a perfect roast turkey can be easy if you follow these helpful tips:

  1. Thaw the Turkey Properly: If you’re using a frozen turkey, give it at least a few days to thaw in the fridge before roasting. For every four to five pounds of turkey, give it a day.
  2. Don’t Overcook: Be Sure the Turkey Is Done by Checking the Internal Temperature Using a Meat Thermometer. A turkey that has been overcooked will be dry.
  3. Baste Regularly: Basting the turkey with its juices helps to keep it moist and adds flavor.
  4. Rest Before Carving: Allowing the turkey to rest before carving ensures the juices are evenly distributed, making for a juicier turkey.

Variations and Serving Suggestions


  • Herb-Infused Butter: Experiment with different herbs like parsley, dill, or tarragon for unique flavors.
  • Citrus Twist: Add oranges or limes to the cavity for a different citrus flavor.
  • Spicy Roast Turkey: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika to the butter mixture for a bit of heat.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve your roast turkey with classic sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and green beans.
  • Pair with a fresh salad and rolls for a lighter meal.
  • Leftover turkey can be used in sandwiches, soups, or casseroles for delicious meals throughout the week.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How long should I roast a turkey?

Roasting a turkey at 325°F (165°C) for around 15 minutes per pound is the standard procedure. But a meat thermometer is a must for making sure it reaches the safe internal temperature of 165°F, or 75°C.

2. Can I use a brine for my turkey?

Brining a turkey is a great way to increase its moisture content and flavor. Before roasting, soak the turkey for 12 to 24 hours in a saltwater solution, along with any additional seasonings you choose. Before seasoning and roasting the turkey, take sure to rinse and pat it dry.

3. What if my turkey cooks too quickly?

If your turkey gets to the temperature you want too quickly, just tent it with foil and set it aside to rest. Return the turkey to the oven and lower the temperature to 200°F, or 93°C, to maintain its warmth until it is time to serve.

4. Can I cook the turkey the day before?

Yes, it is possible to prepare the turkey the day before. Remove from oven and allow to cool entirely before storing in the fridge. Put the turkey back in the oven to warm it up at 325°F, or 165°C, on the day you plan to serve it. To protect it from drying out, wrap it with foil and set it aside.

You Can Also Read Here Easy Cheesy Chicken Fajita Casserole

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