How to Roast a Turkey Recipe

How to Roast a Turkey

Serving size varies

There are many ways to roast a turkey. Here's one of our favorites!


  • Turkey


  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-third position to accommodate turkey. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Remove thawed turkey from its packaging (See How to Thaw a Turkey).
  3. Remove neck and giblets (the heart, liver, and gizzard) from chest cavity.
  4. Remove wire that holds drumsticks in place by pushing down on drumsticks and squeezing wire. Next, fold wing tips behind bird to allow turkey to cook more evenly. Season bird all over with salt and pepper, being sure to season inside the cavity as well. Rub skin with butter or vegetable oil. Stuff cavity with halved lemons, thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs, sage sprigs, and bay leaves. Truss the legs to close the cavity.
  5. Set a rack (a non-stick v-rack is best) in a shallow roasting pan. Oil the rack. Place turkey, breast side up, on rack. Add 2 to 4 cups water or broth to roasting pan. Place roasting pan in preheated oven.
  6. Lower oven temperature to 325°F for a conventional oven (300°F for a convection oven).
  7. Roast turkey according to roasting chart below. If any part of turkey is browning too quickly, tent loosely with foil. Use a probe thermometer to test internal temperature of thickest parts of breast and thigh. Turkey is cooked when the thermometer reads 165°F.
  8. Before carving, let turkey stand at room temperature about 20 minutes. This allows the meat to rest so you will have a more tender, juicy bird. (See Turkey Carving Techniques) After resting, lemon halves and other aromatics can be removed from cavity and discarded.
  9. Cook's Tips:
  10. We do not recommend basting. Each time you open the oven to baste, you are letting heat and steam escape, slowing the cooking time. Also, basting will dissolve some of the roasted seal on the skin, resulting in dryer meat.
  11. We also do not recommend using stuffing in the cavity. Since large roasts, like turkey, cook from the outside-in, the center of the stuffing must also reach 165°F before the turkey is safe to eat. That means the outside will overcook before the stuffing comes to temp. Instead, we recommend stuffing the bird with a few sprigs of aromatic herbs and lemons. If you absolutely must stuff your dressing into the bird, we recommend heating it to 185°F and spooning it into the bird hot, just before roasting. This way the stuffing has a head start and will cook at the same rate as the rest of the meat.
  13. -8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3 1/2 hours
  14. -12 to 14 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 hours
  15. -14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4 1/2 hours
  16. -18 to 20 pounds 4 1/2 to 4 3/4 hours
  17. -20 to 24 pounds 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours

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