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The Best Oven Roasted Turkey

The Best Oven Roasted Turkey is perfect for any celebration! This moist, flavorful turkey and crispy turkey skin makes perfect gravy!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword crispy skin turkey, holiday turkey, oven baked turkey, roasted turkey, thanksgiving, turkey

Equipment

  • turkey pan

Ingredients

  • 1 10-12 pound whole turkey, thawed
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 3 stalks celery, halved
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary, dried sage or thyme
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • fresh parsley & cranberries, to garnish, if desired

Homemade Turkey Gravy (3 ½ cups)

  • 1 cup turkey drippings
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

  • This method, for creating a fabulous oven roasted turkey, requires your turkey to be fresh or completely thawed before cooking and have no stuffing inside the turkey. If your turkey was frozen when you bought it, the turkey will need to thaw inside your refrigerator, approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. Put the wrapped frozen turkey in a bag or a pan to prevent leaks and then place it in your refrigerator. So if you have a 15 pound turkey, it should take about 70 hours, or 3 days, to defrost. Remove the turkey from your refrigerator between 1 and 2 hours before baking to allow it to get as close to room temperature as possible to promote even cooking.
  • Get out and measure all of your ingredients.
  • Next, prepare your roasting pan and rack. Spray the rack with cooking spray to help the turkey not stick to it.   If you are not using a rack just spray the inside of your pan but I highly recommend using a rack underneath your turkey for the best results.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Position your oven rack in the bottom third of your oven.  We always put the uncooked turkey into our roasting pan and put it in the oven for a moment to make sure it fits before the oven gets too hot. Just to be sure.
  • Thaw your turkey fully in the refrigerator. Remove all packaging and the bag of giblets (heart, liver and gizzards) and the neck. Discard or reserve for other use. I ruined my first bird leaving the bag of giblets in and I still can't believe I did that!  
  • We usually discard the giblets and use the neck for soup. You can also use the giblets to boil with the turkey carcass if you are making soup later with carcass and bones. Also, you can use the giblets to make stock for your stuffing or gravy. Just chop up the heart and gizzard and put them into a small saucepan. Cover the giblets with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to simmer for an hour or so. We leave that up to you.
  • Rinse the turkey inside and out with water. If you see some turkey feathers pull them out! Use paper towels to pat the entire turkey dry. Coat the inside of the large and smaller cavity with sprinkles of salt and pepper and rub it in.  Place in a roasting dish or shallow baking dish. Tie the legs together with butcher twine (optional) and tuck the wings underneath the bird for roasting.
  • In the large empty bird cavity, place in the celery sticks with leaves, garlic cloves and quartered onion. Sometimes I add a few sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary, parsley or sage into the large or small cavity and cover the opening with the extra turkey skin. If you are using dried spices add a tablespoon or so of your favorite. We encourage you to use a metal skewer to close it up completely, if necessary.
  • In a small bowl, mix the butter, garlic powder and dried rosemary together. Mix until well combined.
  • Using a spoon or basting brush, rub the herbed butter evenly over the turkey skin. You can use olive oil instead of butter to coat your turkey but I prefer using butter. Sprinkle turkey with salt and pepper.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for roughly 15 minutes per pound or until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Check the turkey's temperature in a few places where the meat is thickest. Perhaps the breast or thigh. In every case, the meat should be at least 160 degrees before you remove it from the oven. If any place is under that temperature, put the turkey back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Cover the breast meat with foil if necessary to keep it from overcooking or over browning. The turkey will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven and resting.  If you don't have a meat thermometer pierce the breast with a knife. If the turkey juices run clear, and not pink, you should be alright.  Our bird was done roughly around 2 hours. If your bird is browning too fast, please tent with a piece of foil.
  • At least once, every forty five minutes, remove the turkey from the oven, close the oven door, and baste or coat the turkey in juices all over. To baste, tilt the pan a little and use a turkey baster or spoon to catch juices and pour all over the outside of the turkey. Basting is not required but you will be glad you basted.  The skin turns out beautifully.  I love crispy skin. I can not help it.   
  • Once the turkey is cooked and you remove it from your oven, place it on a large, suitably sized cutting board and loosely cover or tent it with foil.  We usually lift the entire turkey out of the pan on the rack and place it right on a large cutting board.  The tented turkey should be allowed to stay there and rest for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.  Make sure the turkey is breast side up before you carve it. Carving a turkey is just like carving a big chicken.  Remove the wings first, then thighs, legs and breast meat.  Slice, starting from the top of the turkey downwards, on an angle, through the breast. Keep slicing until you get to the bones. This will get a bit messy.
  • Serve with our favorite turkey gravy recipe. The drippings in the pan, left behind after you remove the turkey, is perfect to make homemade gravy!  Make the gravy while the turkey is resting, covered in tinfoil, on your cutting board.

Homemade Turkey Gravy

  • If you have used a thick metal roasting pan, you can often put it directly on the stove top burner, if not, scrape off the drippings and put them into a large saucepan or skillet. This recipe uses a cup of drippings but I always double it because I LOVE gravy.
  • Get out and measure all of your ingredients.
  • Remove drippings from the bottom of your turkey roasting plan. Let it rest for 10 minutes to allow the fat to rise to the top. Using a spoon, gently spoon off the fat from the top.
  • In a medium saucepan, add the butter.
  • Stir until melted.
  • Add the flour to the melted butter.
  • Stir constantly to make a roux.
  • Cook for about 1 minute until lightly brown, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the turkey drippings and broth to the roux. Turn the temperature to high and bring to a boil.
  • Once the gravy reaches a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until thickened. Serve warm.
  • Serve your turkey with mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and any other side dish you desire!
  • Enjoy every bite!

Notes

  • If you are making this gravy gluten free, sub out regular flour with gluten free flour blend and use 1 stick of butter in your recipe.
  • Generally if you are serving a crowd turkey dinner we recommend the following rough guidelines. 12-15 lb turkey for 10-12 people15-18 lb turkey for 14-16 people18-22 lb turkey for 20-22 people.
  • We do not cook the stuffing or dressing in our turkeys anymore. We find the turkeys cook more evenly and actually taste better.  We bake stuffing as a side dish and it tastes fabulous! Also don't forget about the leftovers. The leftover meat needs to be refrigerated within two hours of cooking.
  • Before you put your turkey in the oven calculate roughly how long you think the turkey will need to cook.  The rule of thumb is 14 or 15 minutes for every pound of turkey.