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Classic Roast Turkey

Classic Roast Turkey

Are you ready to create a mouthwatering centerpiece for your Thanksgiving dinner? Look no further than the classic roast turkey. This timeless dish is sure to delight your guests and leave them begging for seconds. In this article, we will explore the art of cooking a perfect roast turkey, from selecting the right bird to achieving a crispy golden skin.

Choosing the Perfect Bird

When it comes to roast turkey, selecting the right bird is crucial. You want a turkey that is plump, tender, and full of flavor. Opt for a fresh turkey if possible, as it will have a superior taste and texture compared to a frozen one. Consider the size of your gathering when choosing the turkey, as a larger bird will require more cooking time.

Preparing the Turkey

Before you can roast your turkey, it’s important to properly prepare it. Start by removing the giblets and neck from the cavity of the bird. Rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out, then pat it dry with paper towels. Season the turkey generously with salt and pepper, and if desired, stuff the cavity with aromatics such as onions, garlic, and herbs.

The Secret to a Golden Crispy Skin

Now that your turkey is ready to roast, let’s talk about achieving that coveted golden crispy skin. The key is to brush the turkey with melted butter or oil before placing it in the oven. This will help the skin brown beautifully and add a rich flavor. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes with the pan drippings to ensure a moist and delicious result.

Carving and Serving

Once your roast turkey is cooked to perfection, it’s time to carve and serve it. Allow the turkey to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving to ensure the juices redistribute throughout the meat. Use a sharp carving knife to slice the turkey, starting at the breast and working your way down to the legs. Arrange the slices on a platter and garnish with fresh herbs for an elegant presentation.


Q: How long should I cook my turkey?

A: The cooking time for a turkey depends on its weight. As a general rule, plan for about 15 minutes of cooking time per pound. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Q: Can I stuff my turkey?

A: While stuffing the turkey adds flavor, it also increases the cooking time and can result in an unevenly cooked bird. If you choose to stuff your turkey, make sure the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Q: How do I prevent the turkey from drying out?

A: To prevent the turkey from drying out, baste it regularly with the pan drippings and cover it loosely with foil during the cooking process. You can also place a cup of chicken broth in the roasting pan to add moisture.

Q: Can I use a frozen turkey?

A: While you can use a frozen turkey, keep in mind that it will require additional time to thaw before cooking. Follow the instructions on the packaging for thawing guidelines.

Q: How do I know when the turkey is done?

A: The best way to determine if the turkey is done is to use a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. The turkey is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Q: How can I add flavor to my turkey?

A: There are many ways to add flavor to your roast turkey. Consider using a dry brine or marinating the turkey overnight before roasting. You can also experiment with different herbs and spices to create a unique flavor profile.

Q: Can I roast a turkey without stuffing?

A: Absolutely! Roasting a turkey without stuffing allows for more even cooking and reduces the risk of foodborne illness. If you prefer the flavors of stuffing, you can always prepare it as a separate side dish.

Q: What side dishes pair well with roast turkey?

A: Roast turkey pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Traditional options include mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and stuffing. Don’t forget to serve warm dinner rolls and a fresh salad for a well-rounded meal.


The classic roast turkey is a timeless dish that brings people together and creates lasting memories. With the right bird, proper preparation, and a few insider tips, you can create a masterpiece that will impress your guests and have them coming back for more. So go ahead, embrace your inner chef and roast the perfect turkey for your next special occasion!

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Classic Roast Turkey

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Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 40 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 12-14 pound turkey (thawed if frozen)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 onion , quartered
  • 1 carrot , cut into chunks
  • 1 stalk celery , cut into chunks
  • 3 sprigs sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Classic Gravy (recipe follows)
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Turkey neck and giblets (liver discarded)
  • 1 onion , quartered
  • 1 carrot , chopped
  • 1 stalk celery , chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Turkey pan drippings
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


  • Allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Place an oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey and set them aside for the gravy.
  • Use paper towels to pat the turkey dry and season it with salt and pepper both inside and out.
  • Fill the turkey cavity with the onion, carrot, celery, sage, and thyme sprigs.
  • Tie the turkey legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and whisk in the paprika, chopped sage, and chopped thyme.
  • Allow the paprika butter to cool slightly, then brush it all over the turkey.
  • Transfer the turkey to the preheated oven and roast for 1 hour.
  • While the turkey is roasting, prepare the Classic Gravy.
  • After 1 hour of roasting, baste the turkey with the drippings and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes.
  • Roast until the turkey's skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees F, approximately 2 more hours.
  • Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let it rest for 30 minutes before carving. Reserve the drippings for the gravy.
  • To prepare the stock, melt
Keyword Gravy, Poultry, Roast Recipes, Roasted Turkey, Roasting, Turkey Recipes
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Hi, I am April & Welcome to my food blog!

Thank you for visiting my blog. We share delicious recipes to make your meals nourishing and fun. Experimenting in the kitchen and cooking is my joy!


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