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 roast turkey on a white platter

How Do You Roast A Whole Turkey?

Roasting a turkey is one of those things that people get a little nervous about making. I guess it seems a little nerve wracking, that big 20 pound turkey on your counter. Never fear, I’m here to tell you guys, it’s really so very easy.

After your turkey is thawed, all you need to do is rinse the turkey inside and out and pat it dry with paper towels. How you season your turkey is up to you, there are many recipe to choose from! We kept our Simple Roast Turkey Recipe just that – simple.

Start by melting butter and brushing that all over the turkey, and then seasoning it with a lot of kosher salt and pepper. You can season your turkey inside and out, I don’t find that it makes a big difference in flavor so we stick to the outside.

seasoned turkey before going in the oven

Tuck the turkey wings underneath the breast and tie the legs together like you see here. Tying the turkey legs together helps them cook more evenly, but some recent recipes are saying that it’s mostly for looks, not the cooking process.

Get your bird in the oven at 350 degrees. Some recipes say to cook a turkey at 325 degrees, a little lower and slower, which is fine too if you have the time, the general rule is 20 minutes per pound.

But 350 will cook a 14 pound turkey in about 3 hours, just check with a meat thermometer to make sure the thigh areas registers 165 degrees.

sliced turkey breast on a platter with fresh rosemary

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 so if that’s what you’re going for then opt for this method.

sliced turkey breast with gravy on top

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.

The correct answer here is yes. Yes you are making homemade 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 celebration a success.

So yes, you do need to save those turkey drippings, degrease them and use them as a base for your gravy, you and your guests will thank me.

Simple Roast Turkey Recipe sliced on a platter with turkey legs

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 food police will tell you, and I think it’s a good rule of thumb.

As long as you cover your turkey with heavy duty aluminum foil, your turkey should stay pretty hot for almost 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. Also, you made that homemade turkey gravy that will be piping hot so even if your turkey cooled down a bit, you can pour hot gravy on top!


roast turkey collage for Pinterest

What Else Can I Serve On Thanksgiving Besides Turkey?

Since we already mentioned our rockstar 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 roast turkey on a 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!



  • 14 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. Rinse the turkey inside and out, pat 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 (optional) tucking the wings underneath the breast.
  3. Brush the turkey all over with the melted butter then season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves into the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the turkey on a roasting rack then add to the roasting pan.
  5. Bake the turkey for 3 hours, basting with the chicken broth every hour. Starting at about 2 1/2 hours, 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. Reserve drippings in the bottom of the roasting pan for making homemade gravy!

Recipe Notes

If you find that your turkey is getting too dark, cover with foil until it’s done roasting.

Store: Store leftover, cooked down turkey in a resealable bag or an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 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

Keywords: mantitlement, turkey recipe, roast turkey recipe, thanksgiving recipes, holiday recipes, turkey dinner, whole roasted turkey

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