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roasted turkey on a serving platter
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How to Roast a Turkey

How to Roast a Turkey - learn easy techniques to perfectly roast a turkey. Step by step instructions from start to finish.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to roast a turkey, roast turkey, turkey
Servings: 8
Calories: 686kcal


  • 10 pound turkey
  • 1/2 cup butter unsalted
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves chopped
  • 2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper or to taste
  • 8 sprigs thyme fresh
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 10 cloves garlic peeled


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.
  • In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the lemon zest and juice and the teaspoon of thyme to the butter and stir. Set aside.
  • Wash the turkey and make sure you remove the giblets from inside the turkey cavity. I also usually trim some of the excess fat around the neck of the turkey.
  • Place the turkey in a large roasting pan with a roasting rack. Salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the turkey with the onion, garlic and thyme.
  • Brush the turkey with the butter mixture all over and generously season with salt and pepper.
  • Tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey, this will help stabilize the turkey when carving, plus it makes it easier to carve the breast. Tie the legs together with butcher twine.
  • Cover the turkey with the lid, or if your roasting pan doesn't have a lid cover with aluminum foil.
  • Transfer the roasting pan to the oven and roast the turkey for 2 hours, remove lid or aluminum foil. Roast for an additional 1 1/2 hours. Use a meat thermometer to know when the turkey is done. When the thermometer is inserted in the breast it should read 165 F degrees, and 180 F degrees in the thigh.
  • Remove the turkey from the roasting pan to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • Slice turkey and serve.


For this recipe, the turkey needs to be thawed. Read the section above for notes on how to cook a frozen turkey.
Cooking times for roasting a turkey:
Turkey Weight Serves Roasting Time
10-18 lbs Less than 10 people 3 - 3 1/2 hours
18-22 lbs 10-15 people 3 1/2 to 4 hours
22-24 lbs 16-20 people 4 4 1/2 hours
24-29 lbs more than 20 people 4 1/2 - 5 hours
Internal temperature: To truly test doneness of the meat, use an instant meat thermometer. Do not go by the color of the skin. The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Make sure the thermometer is not touching the bone.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.


Calories: 686kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 87g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 320mg | Sodium: 1035mg | Potassium: 961mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 11.1mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 3.8mg