This method for Roast Turkey shows you exactly how to make an oven-roasted turkey using simple steps and simple ingredients. Prepare roasted turkey for your holiday meals, or as a weeknight treat that will yield plenty of leftovers!
Roasting a whole turkey in the oven can sometimes be intimidating! There can be so many moving parts to make sure your turkey is moist and tender on the inside and has crispy skin on the outside.
The way we roast turkey is simple and easy! A whole turkey is prepared by removing anything in the cavity and patting it completely dry. It then gets a simple seasoning of garlic and butter. Salt and pepper get sprinkled on top and it's ready for the oven.
To get crispy skin without burning, you’ll cook the turkey under foil for most of the time leaving the last 45 minutes uncovered. This gives the skin time to get nice and crispy while you baste it with melted butter for the perfect texture.
We love making roast turkey for any holiday meal, but also love making it on any day of the week. It gives us plenty of leftovers that we love using for meal prep!
How To Make Roasted Turkey In The Oven
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large roasting pan, add a layer of foil to the bottom and set aside.
- Remove the turkey from the packaging. Remove anything in the cavity including the gravy, giblets, and instructions. The neck should also be removed. Using paper towels, pat the turkey until the skin is dried. Transfer the turkey to the prepared roasting pan.
- Loosen the skin of the turkey over the breast area. Place the garlic cloves under the skin and distribute evenly adding some in the wings, thighs, and legs under the skin. Add some of the butter under the skin following the garlic cloves. Sprinkle the turkey with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover the turkey completely in foil, then add it to the preheated oven to bake for 20-25 minutes per pound.
- Once the turkey has 30-45 minutes left of roasting time, remove the foil from the top to crisp up the skin. If the skin looks like it's getting too dry, baste with melted butter. Repeat as necessary.
- Once the turkey is finished cooking at an internal temperature of 180°F in the thigh and 170°F in the breast, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.
- To make sure the turkey cooks evenly, make sure it is out of the fridge for at least 40 minutes before adding to the oven. This will help take the chill off of the turkey making it easier for it to roast.
- A layer of foil on the bottom of the roasting pan helps keep the juices in place to make gravy without any excess clean-up.
- You can add any herbs and seasonings under the skin as well as on top for an extra flavorful roast turkey.
- All ovens vary in temperature, so the best way to know when your turkey is finished cooking is by using a kitchen thermometer and making sure the turkey comes to an internal temperature of 180°F in the thigh and 170°F in the breast.
- Make sure the turkey gets to rest before carving as it needs time to redistribute the natural juices inside the meat that keep it moist and tender.
- To personalize the recipe, try adding different seasonings like paprika or seasoned salt. A mix of dry or fresh herbs also makes the turkey taste delicious.
- To flavor the inside of the turkey, you can add chopped apples, celery, onion, or lemon to help infuse the turkey while it roasts.
- Don’t like dark meat? You can use the same method to roast a turkey breast.
As long as it’s thawed, cooked at 325°F, and not cooked with stuffing, a turkey needs to cook for 20-25 minutes per pound. The safest way is to cook until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 180°F and 170°F in the breast.
Personally, I recommend salting the skin before cooking and removing the foil about 30 to 45 minutes before the bird is done. The larger the turkey the more time it needs to crisp the skin.
Storing and Freezing
Refrigerator: Cooked and cooled turkey breast can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Use it to make Leftover Turkey Salad or Thanksgiving Sliders for sandwiches the next day!
Freezing: If you’d like to freeze any leftover turkey, remove it from the bone, then add it to a freezer-safe bag with as much air removed as possible. You can add gravy to the bag to help retain moisture. Freeze for up to 3-4 months.
Recipe Card with Ingredient Amounts and Instructions
- 8- 10 pound turkey, giblets and neck removed, cavity emptied, and turkey patted dry
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
- ½ cup unsalted butter, divided (2 tablespoons cut into 4 pieces, the rest melted for basting)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, optional to help crisp the skin
- ½ teaspoon pepper, optional to season the skin
- Preheat the oven to 325°F, and place foil in the bottom of a large roasting pan.
- Remove the turkey from the packaging, and ensure all packets (gravy, giblets, instructions, etc.) have been removed from the inner cavity. Then, use paper towels to pat it dry inside and out. Make sure the outside is very dry. Transfer the turkey to the prepared roasting pan.8- 10 pound turkey
- Loosen the skin around the turkey breasts, and carefully place the cloves of garlic under the skin. Move the garlic past the turkey breast to the wing, leg, and thigh area.8 garlic cloves
- Next, add the butter under the skin. Place 2 half tablespoons over each breast and melt the rest for basting.½ cup unsalted butter
- Optional: Salt and pepper the top skin over the entire turkey.1 teaspoon kosher salt½ teaspoon pepper
- Cover the turkey with foil, and bake for 20-25 minutes per pound.
- During the last 30 to 45 minutes, remove the foil. If the skin looks like it’s beginning to dry, slowly pour melted butter over the turkey. Repeat as needed to keep the skin moist and flavorful.
- Remove the turkey from the oven, and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
- See post for storage options.