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Easy Oven Roasted Turkey

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This is THE turkey recipe you need if you want a perfectly crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside turkey! This Easy Oven Roasted Turkey recipe is so straightforward that you really can’t mess it up. Make the perfect turkey for your holiday table this year.

oven roasted turkey on a white platter for thanksgiving with sides on a table

Growing up, my dad always cooked the turkey on Thanksgiving. I remember him rubbing our turkey with butter to keep the turkey moist. So, when I started being in charge of making the turkey, I knew that I wanted a recipe that used the same method because it reminded me of watching my dad make the turkey on Thanksgiving mornings. Plus, rubbing the outside of the turkey with butter helps to seal in the juices keeping the meat moist, while making the outside crisp and yummy.

oven roasted  turkey on a platter  with fresh sage, oranges, on a white platter

Number One Tip for Moist Turkey Meat

A big turning point in my ability to cook poultry without it ending up dry was to start using a thermometer! Until I used a meat thermometer, I had dry meat 100% of the time. Once I started using the thermometer, my meat was suddenly amazing. There is literally no other way to know your meat is all the way cooked through, unless you can read the temperature!  My very favorite thermometer is from Thermoworks. I use the Thermapen One thermometer the most. I have had it for 5 + years and works so well. Money well spent for perfect turkey! This prevents overcooking and ruining your birds.

Tips for Buying and Preparing Your Turkey

Finding the Right Turkey

  • Frozen vs. Fresh – The experts say that there really isn’t a difference in quality or flavor of frozen versus fresh. Turkeys are flash frozen after processing to preserve them, and “fresh” turkeys can be many days old by the time you buy them.
  • The Right Size – It’s best to aim for about one pound of turkey per person when serving a smaller bird. Larger turkeys have large bones and less edible meat, so a pound-and-a-half per person is a safer bet.  This way you won’t run out and you will likely have leftovers. Just make sure that you know the size of your roasting pan so that your turkey will fit in it!
  • Avoid Pre-Stuffed – The USDA doesn’t recommend buying pre-stuffed turkeys because they can be a food safety risk.  Buy a regular turkey and make the stuffing on the side.
Wooden board with whole raw turkey on grey background

Preparing Your Turkey

  • Thawing. Aim for 24 hours in the fridge for every 5 pounds of turkey. If you bought a bigger bird, it will likely need at least 3 days in the fridge.
  • Brining. Depending on the type of turkey you buy, brining might not be needed. High quality brands will produce a tender, moist turkey without brining. If you are going to brine your turkey, now is the time. If you go with a wet brine, you can submerge a frozen turkey right away.
  • Temper. About one hour before you plan to cook your turkey, remove the turkey from the fridge. It will cook more evenly when the meat is closer to room temperature.

Steps for Oven Roasting Your Turkey

  • Temper. It is the big day! Make sure to take your turkey out of the fridge an hour before you want to start cooking.
  • Preheat Oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You will have to adjust the racks in your oven so that the turkey is sitting in the center. Usually this means moving them down or removing a rack.
  • Remove packaging and giblets. Remove any packaging from the turkey, and remove the neck and giblets.
  • Dry the turkey. Pat the outside of turkey until very dry with paper towel. Try to pat the inside of the turkey as dry as you can with paper towel also.
  • Mix herb butter. Combine the butter, juice of one lemon, chopped sage, rosemary, thyme, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Spread butter. Using a wooden spoon, carefully loosen and lift the skin above the breasts (on the top of the turkey) and spread a few tablespoons of the herb butter underneath.
  • Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. You can choose to stuff it with roughly chopped onion and more herbs if you want.
  • Place the turkey in a large roasting pan with a rack. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings of the turkey under the turkey for a pretty presentation.
  • Brush the remaining herb butter all over the outside of the turkey. Place a tin foil tent on the turkey to prevent it from getting brown too fast.
  • Roast in your preheated oven at 350°F for about 13 minutes per pound, or until the thigh and breast in the thickest portions get to 165° F with a thermometer. For a 15 pound turkey, this will take around 3 hours – plus or minus. Check the internal temperature of the turkey about halfway through cooking. Remove the foil tent for the last hour of cooking to brown the outside of the turkey.
  • Rest. Remove from oven when done and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.
Roasted Cut Up Turkey Platter For Thanksgiving

Favorite Thanksgiving Sides

Roasted Cut Up Turkey Platter For Thanksgiving with All the Sides

Easy Oven Roasted Turkey

This is THE turkey recipe you need if you want a perfectly crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside turkey! This Easy Oven Roasted Turkey recipe is so straightforward that you really can’t mess it up. Make the perfect turkey for your holiday table this year.
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Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: roasted turkey
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 16 people
Calories: 282kcal

Ingredients

  • 15 pound whole turkey
  • 1 cup butter, unsalted room temperature
  • 1 medium lemon juiced
  • 3 tablesoonss fresh sage chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Thaw turkey in the fridge if frozen. It takes about 24 hours per 5 lbs of turkey thawing in the fridge. You might want to give yourself an extra day just to be safe, thawed turkey can stay in the fridge 2 days before roasting. (A 15 pound turkey will take about 3 days to thaw in the fridge from frozen)
  • Remove your turkey from the fridge and let sit at room temperature, 1 hour before you want to start roasting it.
  • Make sure your oven racks are lowered so that the turkey will sit one level below the center. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Remove any packaging from the turkey, and remove the neck and giblets. Pat the outside of turkey until very dry with paper towel. Try to pat the inside of the turkey as dry as you can with paper towel also.
  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, juice of one lemon, chopped sage, rosemary, thyme, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.
  • Using a wooden spoon, carefully loosen and lift the skin above the breasts (on the top of the turkey) and smooth a few tablespoons of the herb butter underneath.
  • Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. You can choose to stuff it with roughly chopped onion and more herbs if you want.
  • Place the turkey in a large roasting pan with a rack. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings of the turkey under the turkey for a pretty presentation.
  • Brush the remaining herb butter all over the outside of the turkey. Place a tin foil tent on the turkey to prevent it from getting brown too fast.
  • Roast in your preheated oven at 350°F for about 13 minutes per pound, or until the thigh and breast in the thickest portions get to 165° F with a thermometer. For a 15 pound turkey, this will take around 3 hours – plus or minus. Check the internal temperature of the turkey about halfway through cooking. Remove the foil tent for the last hour of cooking to brown the outside of the turkey.
  • Remove from oven when done and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SuperHealthyKids or tag #SuperHealthyKids!

Nutrition

Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 372mg | Potassium: 379mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 341IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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179 Comments

My biggest challenge in preparing a holiday meal is that I only have about 24 inches of countertop to work on. Have to get creative with the work space.

My best tip is to do as much as possible a day to 2 a head of time so you can enjoy the day with friends and family.

Biggest challenge…trying to make sure everything comes out near the same time so one dish isn’t ice cold while the other is piping hot!

my biggest challenge is trying to figure out how to cook three or four different dishes with only one oven. Last year I made the sweet potatoes in the microwave and stuffing in the slow cooker while the turkey roasted away in the oven. Everything turned out great!

My biggest challenge is trying to do it all the day of. I need to make more (rolls, dessert) ahead of time, prepped ready to go so I can enjoy the day more.

This is my first Thanksgiving eating a vegan diet (one year in Jan!) and I’m trying to find recipes to make everyone happy without cooking all week long. The extra $100 would be great!

I have a hard time (as a vegetarian) making something that the meat eaters won’t balk at. Even something as simple as sweet potatoes turn into a fiasco when a vegetarian brings them because people complain about them having “no lard, no bacon, no chicken stock, they taste terrible!” If had made the exact same dish but wasn’t vegetarian they wouldn’t even say a word!

My biggest challenge (and this is embarrassing….) is remembering to cook and/or serve everything. I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten to put out the rolls or forgot to cook the corn. It’s hard when there is so much going on in the house and in the kitchen for me not to forget something-lol

My two biggest challenges in cooking any large meal is the limited counter space I have and timing. I only have one oven, so timing everything to come out and still be hot at the right time is always a challenge!

My biggest challenge is finding some peace amidst the preparations and not taking it personally when guests don’t appreciate it to the extent that I would deem appropriate. 😉

My best tip is flipping the turkey breast-side down. It’s not as beautiful a presentation, but it keeps the breast nice and moist!

I am a vegetarian but this is not a challenge during the holidays. There are plenty of meat-free items that are offered. The challenge is convincing people that a plate of side dishes is just fine! Lay off people – – don’t need turkey! :I)

my tips have to preparing a holiday meal is plan ahead. Make sure most recipes can be made ahead in a day or two so you don’t have to cook everything all in one day. 🙂

amy [at] utry [dot] it

Our tip is to keep it fun! In addition to roasting we’ve used the smoker to cook turkey, deep frying it, we’ve even used infra-red technology. All of these alternatives have come out very juicy and tender

my biggest challenge is getting the gravy just right.. I don’t like the taste of pre-made powder sauces like Knorr, so I make them from scratch, and sometimes that can be quite a challenge 😀

we are vegetarian, and our biggest challenge was finding acceptable vegetarian options, preferably whole foods.

we have finally settled on a Quorn Turkey roast (not pretty but tastes awesome)
home made mushroom gravy, home made bread stuffing, baked sweet potato fries, and home made cranberry-orange relish.

i miss my green bean casserole, but I’m looking into alternatives

My best tip: do as much as you can ahead of time!
This looks fantastic! It makes me wish my husband wasn’t deathly allergic to turkey!!! Maybe I could try something similar with pork!
Thanks so much for a chance to win! And, have a GREAT day!
kmassmanATgmailDOTcom

I am making my first holiday meal this year, and am terrified. However, I am going to be ORGANIZED which I hope will help- menu is planned, and I will write what time I need to start cooking everything so I can attempt to have it all ready at the same time. Also plan to tell hubby he has to watch the boys ALL DAY! =)

I try to make things ahead of time….side dishes, dessert, ect. Another thing it to do a potluck style so one person is not overloaded

Oh! WOW! The greatest challenge-probably getting everything ready, hot, people seated, drinks cold, and no one crying-all at the same time! Thanks!

my biggest challenge is making gravy!

and my tip that i’m going to try and take advantage of this year is to use a crockpot for side dishes.

My best tip is to make the dinner party bigger… seems like bad advice? Not if you split up the dishes. That way everyone ends up with only 2 or 3 dishes to make and that is much more do-able!

My challenge is always the timing. I can never seem to have everything ready at the right time.

larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

Well, I live by myself so my challenge is trying to purchase and prepare just the right amount without too many leftovers. I often stock up on a lot of produce at a time and then rush to eat it all before spoilage.

my biggest challenge is letting my hubby take over the kitchen on thanksgiving day. He puts the turkey inside the cooking bag comes out so moist. really good.

My biggest challenge is getting everything done at the same time so the buns aren’t cold by the time the turkey and dressing are done.

Time management is still a big issue for me! I tend to get overwhelmed by everything going on and all the mess, but I’m working on it!

Cooking is not my thing, so I find the whole idea behind cooking a holiday meal to be daunting. However, if someone else cooks the turkey, I can usually handle the rest myself.

Our challenges when preparing a holiday meal come from the diversity of food allergies and intolerance that we have as a family. We have learned over the last 2 years how to cook more whole foods and even some raw foods. I love to cook though, and so does my oldest, so that helps make it fun.

my biggest challange is making something everyone will like we have 4 here and everyone wants different things its hard to find a balance and not end up cooking 4 different main dishes

making sure everything is ready to go and hot!! balancing and timing everything is essential 🙂
I have never heard of using mayo to baste but makes sense. Will try this next time I do a chicken too!

My challenge with Thanksgiving dinner is making the sweet potatoes without marshmallows. I usually make them like mash potatoes… they are so sweet you don’t even need the mallows… I always get crap for no mallows… i think I may give in this year!

My biggest challenge has been planning the menu for my vegetarian relatives on this traditional turkey day meal.

My biggest challenge is that i’m newly married and really didn’t do much cooking when i was single. The women in my husband’s side of the family are all PERFECT cooks and I’m really nervous about messing up (as I often do) because I seem to mess up even the simplest recipes!

The biggest challenge is getting everything done, at the same time, and still be hot. Also not having enough of the right size pans, or burners on the stove, or enough counter space!

Oh my goodness, my biggest holiday cooking challenge is figuring out how to time everything so all the food will be cooked properly and still hot at the same time! Oh, just thinking about it overwhelms me! I go nuts with written lists and scedules.

My challenge is to not blow my weekly budget all on one meal! I always try to buy stuff before hand when it is on sale. I even got my turkey for free this year. A local grocer had a deal when you bought a ham.

Our biggest challenge is to find diabetic recipes, just for the extended family coming to Thanksgiving. So there are no problems! But we manage with lots of cookbooks and the internet.

My biggest challenge is making sure all the food is ready on time. Usually I will have one thing left cooking while everything else has been done for a while.

My challenge is to please picky eaters. Thanksgiving dinner is huge in our family, everyone has his/her own thing of food.

My biggest challenge is the turkey. I have tried several different recipes, but none have seemed good enough to make it worth the time.

The greatest tip I have is to sear the turkey at 500 degrees for about 20 minutes before baking at the lower temp! It locks in the YUMMIEST flavor and everyone LOVES it!

My challenge is always to cook a moist turkey at Thanksgiving dinner once a year. Sometimes it came out dry like last year but this year I may have confidence by using this recipe here with the mayonnaise.

ctong2 [AT] gmail [DOT] com

My biggest challenge is timing it all right so some things are not freezing while others are not even done cooking!

The best tip I would recommend is to pre-prepare. Do as much ahead of time as possible. Which is such a contradiction if you knew me, as I always put off for tomorrow what I should have done yesterday. 🙂

My biggest challenge is planning how much of each dish I should make–I always end up with too much of one thing and not enough of another!

Biggest challenge is getting all the dishes done at the same time so that nothing is sitting cold. Love Thanksgiving and I am soon off to start the days dinner!

gmissycat at yahoo dot com

I’m going to try this…have the mayonnaise and the turkey but never thought of putting them together!! Thanks!

I start prepping days ahead.. from setting the table, getting pans out that I will need, making salads, etc…

Make sure you have the refrigerator cleared out for leftovers BEFORE you eat dinner – once it’s done, you’ll be tired from cooking and trying to empty stuff out and fit things in is tough, haha! 🙂 That used to be one of my challenges before I realized a little prep-work would simplify things sooo much.

Otherwise … whatever you’re making can use more garlic. Doesn’t matter what it is, just add garlic.

I seem to always overjudge amount of food to make and end up with quite a bit of leftovers
ryanac32 at yahoo dot com

My biggest challenge is getting everything out at the same time and keeping it warm until served. I do not have a double oven but love the entertain especially Holiday time so I have to get very creative!

This year I used as many organic ingredients as I could. They were pretty easy to find and really made everything taste so ‘clean’.
I made sure to have an extra pie shell and puff pastry and used some left overs to put together a pot pie for an easy go to the next day.

Since I started using cheesecloth over the turkey and then covered in melted butter I get a moist, crisp turkey everytime with no basting. Also if you don’t eat the skin, roast it upside down and the breast meat is super moist.

My challenge is tha that I am vegetarian and my family isn’t. I wan tthem to have traditional food but dont’ have much experience cooking the turkey.

I love to cook….my biggest challenge is making everything healthy as possible! It is especially hard when making special holiday food. There are so many things to make things healthy and tasty…it is just taking out the time to shop right and do it!

My tip is to cook as much as you can ahead of time so that there’s more time to focus on family/friends. I especially love salads. We make a fresh cranberry salad with an apple (for sweetness) and candied ginger (for spice) added into the mix.

My aunt just taught me a great tip for roasting a turkey- cover the top of the turkey in a butter soaked cheese cloth. It keeps the turkey moist and tasting then in the last hour take it off to brown the top more.

Hi there
Just found your blog – Love it!!!! Thanks for the hints and fun
My biggest problem was keeping everyone away from the kitchen to help LOL So I try to have a help sheet (put the cheese cubes on toothpicks etc. Love Hellmanns (Best Foods here) Cheers
Cathy

The last few years the oven that we have used for the turkey is a convection oven and for some reason it has taken two hours longer for the turkey to cook.

I need to plan everything and prepare ahead of time, even then I mess things up and forget. I think practice makes perfect. Thanks for the recipe and giveaway!
songyueyu at gmail

My biggest challenge is trying to get everything done alone! I like to bring in a few helper (my mom and MIL love to help) so that I can get everything done without stressing too much!

coriwestphal at msn dot com

My biggest challenge is not over eating, hard to not try a slice of each dessert. My tip, I substituted unsweetened apple sauce to half the sugar in our dessert recipes to help cut back on the calories.

It’s a challenge to get the meal on the table AND enjoy the time with family and kids! I do as much prep work as I can the night before.

I always feel that I might get something wrong when I cook. I have discovered that cooking deals a lot with intuition and experience (two things that I have none of or not enough) so I will just plow my way through and make it anyways…Warning: when done this way, end products will vary.

My challenge is trimming down the menu to something manageable for 2 people – I tend to go a bit overboard cooking all our favorites.

My biggest problem is trying to get it all done with 2 curious toddlers. I like to think they just want to help, but they really just get in the way when all of the holiday dinner prep is going on. I’m sure as they get older, and can actually help, it’ll be much easier! Thanks for the chance to win! 🙂

My biggest challenge is that I have always been scared to attempt the turkey making. I always am quick to offer to make numerous other things. I will definitely be trying this Hellmanns trick. I may even offer to be in charge of the turkey for Christmas this year.

The best tip I have to offer is delegation. When there are too many cooks in the same dish, most times the dish turns out to be not so good. Trust me I know. If Person A is making the dressing, then Person B should not be trying to help.

For the holidays or big dinner parties I have attended, I find it nice to have the hostess prepare the main entree (like the turkey or the ham), and then all of the guests bring a side dish and desserts. It also helps that the guests have the dishes already cooked and in crockpots or containers that hold in the heat! It makes dinner so much easier!

My biggest challenge is timing all the side dishes with the main one so everything is cooked perfectly and not sitting around getting cold

I have to write lists first,lots of lists… menu list, grocery list, then a list of what days certain things can get done, so that I don’t have everything to do/cook on the actual holiday.

my best tip is just go to mom’s or mother in law’s for holiday meals! LOL! but i do always offer to bring something, and i usually make a practice “run” of it a few days before, to make sure it will work.

My son has very specific dietary needs and it’s sometimes a challenge to incorporate that into a meal. But if we’re eating at somebody else’s place, we just bring apples, grapes, or other foods that he can enjoy so that he always has something to eat. 😀

It’s a challenge to plan meal items that everyone will enjoy. I LOVE trying new recipes and sometimes it’s hard working around everyone’s dislikes.

I biggest tip is to start early in the morning and the day before the big meal, do all the deserts first.

gmissycat at yahoo dot com

We always buy extra buns because people usually stick around long enough that they would like to eat again – not much, but a turkey sandwich hits the spot!

My tips – always prepare the night before. Start early. Always start small. You can always add more but you can’t take away.

misteedawnw at aol dot com

I face no challenges this year since I’ve been to relative’s houses for the holidays! Tips? Perhaps host a “pot-luck” dinner for the holidays to ease not only the financial burden, but keeps your stress level low.

My biggest challenge is to make sure that everything is ready to eat at the same time. It never fails that I either forget to cook something or something is still cooking when everything else is ready! LOL

It’s hard for me to get timing right. Making sure that all of the side items and the turkey are all done at the same time. For some reason, I just can’t seem to get it time out completely perfect

My big challenge is not to over-prepare during the holidays. We often had so many leftovers that they had to end up in the trash can. Felt so bad about wasting food.

One way to reduce the challenge is share the cooking with friends and family. Everyone contributes and everyone enjoys.

I love to delegate side dishes when I am hosting. I’m pretty much a control freak though, so I’ll still make lots of dishes, which just means yummy leftovers for everyone to bring home

My biggest challenge to preparing a holiday meal is planning it for a day when everyone can come. My husband and I both work most holidays. This makes it almost impossible to celebrate when everyone else does.

I TRIED TO MAKE HOMEMADE ROLLS THIS YEAR FOR THE FAMILY DINNER. THEY TURNED OUT LIKE BISCUITS SINCE MY DOUGH DIDNT RISE CORRECTLY. IT WAS A DISASTER!!!!! I CANT BAKE I SHOULD NOT HAVE EVEN TRIED AND STUCK WITH SIMPLY JUST COOKING.

I am always looking for healthy recipes to send home with my students that they can try with their families! This one is a winner!