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Roasted Turkey

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  • Prep 5 min
  • Total 5 hr 0 min
  • Servings 1
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Follow this old-school recipe for your first roasted bird – and once you know the basics, give it your own twist.
by: TBSP Nate
Updated May 13, 2015
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  • 1 fresh or defrosted turkey
  • Turkey baster
  • Meat thermometer
  • Poultry string
  • Aluminum foil
  • Stuffing and herbs of your choosing (rosemary, sage, thyme, etc.)


  • 1
    Start by reaching inside the neck cavity, as well as the cavity on the other end of the turkey. Pull out the neck, giblets, gravy packets or anything else left inside the bird. You can use these in stuffing, gravy or stock – but you don't need them in the bird to roast it. Once they're out, rinse the inside of the turkey well with very cold water and place it on a rack in a roasting pan.
  • 2
    Place a few tablespoons of Kosher or sea salt and some cracked black pepper in the palm of your hand and rub it all over the inside of the turkey. Now give that bird a good rub on the outside too. Massage the turkey with soft butter or oil, making sure the skin gets an even coat. Season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper and any other herbs, like rosemary, sage or thyme.
  • 3
    At this point you can stuff the bird lightly with bread stuffing or vegetables if you want to – but it's optional. If you are stuffing your turkey, stuff it loosely and plan on roughly half a cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. Regardless, you can still cook stuffing in a separate pan and no one will know the difference.
  • 4
    Once you've seasoned the bird, pull the skin flat over the neck to close the gap, and hold it in place with toothpicks or skewers. Use poultry string to tie the legs together at the ankles. Bend the wings back behind the turkey, or cover the tips lightly with aluminum foil so they don't burn.
  • 5
    Cover the roasting pan or create a loose tent of aluminum foil. Place in the oven, preheated to 400° F, for roughly 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325° F and continue cooking until total cooking time equals roughly 15 to 20 minutes per pound for a stuffed turkey, 12 to 15 minutes a pound for an unstuffed turkey.
  • 6
    Use a turkey baster to pick up the juices that accumulate on the bottom of the pan and baste the bird every 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the cover or aluminum foil for the last 30 to 45 minutes of cooking so the turkey browns to a rich golden color.

Expert Tips

  • tip 1
    If your bird is frozen or partially frozen, thaw it in an ice-water bath or overnight in the fridge. Never allow uncooked turkey to sit at room temperature for very long (pop it back in the fridge). And if handling raw meat and poultry makes you squeamish, use a clean pair of disposable kitchen gloves while prepping – there’s no avoiding getting up close and personal with your bird.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe
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