Simple Roast Turkey Recipe

Our Simple Roast Turkey Recipe will have you cooking like a pro! This easy roasted turkey recipe is a must have for Thanksgiving or any holiday!

With this turkey recipe, you’ll look like you’ve been making turkey for years! Also be sure to try our newest Baked Ham Recipe, or if a whole turkey is too much for your crowd you can make a Turkey Breast instead!

whole roasted turkey on white platter

Why You’ll Love This Roast Turkey Recipe

Roasting a turkey is one of those things that people get a little nervous about making. It may seem a bit daunting, that big 20 pound turkey on your counter, but never fear, we’re going to show you how it’s done.

Not only are we excited to share this Simple Roast Turkey Recipe with you, we have lots of helpful tips and details to make this recipe look and taste it’s best! However, if you’re ready to dive right into making your turkey, scroll down to the recipe card or click the “jump to recipe” button above the first photo.

  • Feeds A Crowd: A large roast turkey like this one feeds a large crowd for not a lot of money.
  • Easy To Make: Once you get this recipe down, it’s really a very easy thing to do. A few minutes of prep and then into the oven it goes.
  • Holiday Feels: A beautiful roast turkey like this gives all the holiday vibes. Not only does it look gorgeous on your table, it tastes as good as it looks.

How To Cook A Turkey

After your turkey is thawed, all you need to do is pat it dry with paper towels. Rinsing poultry is often debated, but we don’t rinse our turkey. Just make sure it’s nice and dry so that the seasonings stick to the skin.

Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for complete instructions.

  • STEP 1 – Stuff the cavity of the turkey (make sure the giblets have been removed) with the apple, onion and thyme. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings underneath the body of the turkey. Alternately, you can run another piece of kitchen twine around the breast of the bird as shown in the above right photo.
  • STEP 2 – Melt 6 tablespoons of butter and brush it all over the turkey. Season the turkey generously with kosher salt and black pepper and place it on a roasting rack inside of a large roasting pan.
  • STEP 3 – Roast the turkey, covered (either with the roasting pan lid or aluminum foil) at 350 degrees. Baste the turkey after the first hour and every hour after that. Remove the turkey from the oven when the temperature taken inside the thigh registers 165 degrees.
sliced turkey with turkey legs on platter with rosemary

Can You Safely Cook Stuffing In A Turkey?

You can, and it’s delicious if you do. Sometimes we stuff the bird with our Homemade Sausage Stuffing recipe, sometimes we follow this recipe and serve the stuffing on the side.

If you do choose to stuff your bird, don’t pack the stuffing in super tight. Loosely add the stuffing so that it has room to cook inside the turkey.

Also, make sure that if you do stuff your turkey that you cook it right after stuffing. Don’t let it sit on the counter with the stuffing inside. And as always, take the temperature of the turkey before removing it from the oven.

How Do You Carve A Turkey?

Start by removing the legs and wings from both sides. The legs and wings should come off pretty easily by gently pulling the bone out and separating at the joint with a knife.

Moving onto the turkey breast, there’s two ways that we like to slice the breast meat. Our preferred way is what you see in the picture above, removing each side of the breast from the carcass and then slicing the breast into pieces.

Another way to slice the breast meat is to leave the meat on the bones and slice down the breast on each side with a carving knife or an electric knife. This way will allow you to get thinner, larger slices of turkey.

sliced turkey breast on platter with rosemary

Do I Need To Save The Turkey Drippings?

Now let’s talk for a second about the gravy. Once this Simple Roast Turkey Recipe is done cooking, you need to decide if you’re making Homemade Turkey Gravy.

Head over and check out the link above for our homemade gravy and see how easy that is to make, too. I’m telling you, just these two recipes will make your Thanksgiving, or any holiday meal a success.

So save those turkey drippings, degrease them and use them as a base for your gravy. It only takes about 5 minutes to make, you can do this while your turkey is resting.

slice turkey breast with gravy on top

How Long Will A Turkey Stay Hot After Coming Out Of The Oven?

First of all, let’s talk about food safety. Don’t leave your turkey out on the counter for more than 2 hours. That’s what the FDA will tell you and it’s a rule that we follow.

As long as you cover your turkey with heavy duty aluminum foil, or the lid from the roasting pan, your turkey should stay pretty warm for at least an hour after it comes out of the oven. So if you only have one oven in your kitchen, this is a good time to get some of those side dishes into the oven.

Note that tenting the turkey with aluminum foil will cause that super crispy turkey skin to get softer but you have to pick your battles.

You can leave the turkey uncovered on the counter for at least 30 minutes to keep that crispy skin and your bird will still be warm.

whole roast turkey recipe collage for pinterest

What Else Can I Serve On Thanksgiving Besides Turkey?

Since we already mentioned our delicious baked ham recipe, we have a few more ideas for you! Besides ham and turkey, we love making casseroles or pasta recipes to give everyone an option!

whole roasted turkey on white platter

Simple Roast Turkey Recipe

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x

Our Simple Roast Turkey Recipe will have you cooking like a pro! This easy roasted turkey recipe is a must have for Thanksgiving or any holiday!



  • 1416 pound whole turkey, giblets removed
  • 1 large apple cut into fourths
  • 1 large onion cut into fourths
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and place on a board. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the apples, onion and thyme and then tie the legs together with kitchen twine tucking the wings underneath the breast, or running a piece of kitchen twine around the bird to tie in the wings.
  3. Place a roasting rack in the bottom of a roasting pan or large baking dish (big enough to hold the whole turkey. Alternately, if you don’t have a rack, you can make a rack on the bottom of the roasting pan with whole carrots and celery stalks. Place the turkey on the roasting rack and then brush al lover with the melted butter. Season the turkey generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves into the bottom of the roasting pan and place into the oven. If your roasting pan has a lid, you can cover the pan or use aluminum foil to cover the turkey.
  5. Bake the turkey for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, depending on the size of the turkey, basting with the juices every hour. Starting at 2 hours during a basting, check the temperature of the turkey. The turkey can be taken out of the oven between 155 and 160 degrees because the temperature will rise as it rests. If you find that the bottom of your roasting pan is getting dry you can add more chicken broth.
  6. Remove the turkey from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. See post for more details on how long a turkey will stay warm after taking it out of the oven.

Recipe Notes

Store: Store leftover, cooled down turkey in a resealable bag or an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freeze: Freeze cooked, sliced turkey by wrapping the turkey in aluminum foil and then placing in a plastic freezer bag.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

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