This easy, classic roast turkey recipe is a simple, fail-proof way to cook a turkey that comes out juicy and flavorful every time in only 5 steps. The turkey is rubbed with a traditional mix of herbs and then oven roasted until golden brown. It's impressive, delicious, and beginner-friendly.
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe. The full recipe and ingredient list can be found at the bottom of the page.
- Yellow onion
- Olive oil (or butter)
- Salt & black pepper
- Brown sugar
- Seasonings: Garlic powder, Onion powder, ground sage, paprika, thyme, rosemary
Here's how to roast your turkey in 5 simple steps:
- Prepare the oven: move an oven rack to the lowest position possible. Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees.
- Prepare the turkey: take the turkey out of the packaging. Remove the neck & giblets from the inside cavity. Pat dry with paper towels. Stuff with onion and lemon. Tuck the wings under the body and tie the legs with twine (optional).
- Add seasoning: Rub turkey with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or butter). mix the seasonings and rub it all over the turkey, adding some under the skin and in the inner cavity if desired.
- Roast: cook your turkey in a roasting pan in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes per pound. Tent loosely with foil if it becomes too brown. The turkey is done when the temperature reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the breast and the thigh.
- Rest & serve: remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Here's some of the most popular substitutions and additions for this recipe:
- Olive oil: melted butter can be substituted.
- Turkey: this recipe will work for any size turkey; the only part that varies is the cooking time (see recipe card for more info).
- Sage: if you don't have ground sage you can use 4 teaspoons rubbed sage.
- Stuffing: the recipe includes a simple stuffing of an onion and a lemon; but you can use any preferred stuffing.
Frequently Asked Questions
A stuffed turkey cooks at about 15 minutes per pound at 350°F and an unstuffed turkey at 12 minutes per pound. Take your turkey out of the oven when the temperature taken in the thickest part of the breast and thigh reaches 165°F.
A turkey defrosts at 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. So a 15 pound turkey would need 3 days. I usually give myself an extra day to make sure it's completely defrosted. A defrosted turkey can stay in the fridge for up to 3 - 4 days.
To carve your turkey, use a large sharp knife (you don't need a carving knife). Here's a quick video showing where to cut from the Culinary Institute of America: How To Carve a Turkey.
Cooking times for turkeys can vary greatly depending on their size, the stuffing, and your oven. Check the temperature of your turkey even before you think it might be done to prevent it from overcooking. Take the temperature both in the thickest part of the thigh and the breast, making sure your thermometer isn't touching a bone.
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment & rating at the bottom of this page!Print
The food safety tips for this recipe have been taken from the USDA's website; for more helpful information you can check out their full post here: USDA Guidelines for Thanksgiving.