Traditional Roast Turkey
A basic, no-frills recipe for roasting a whole turkey.
1 (8 to 12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
Vegetable oil, if desired
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
- Be sure turkey is completely thawed. Remove turkey from original wrapper and remove neck and giblets from cavities. Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water; drain and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck wing tips under back or tie to body. Refasten drumsticks with metal or plastic clip or band of skin.
- Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).
- Place turkey breast-side up on wire rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer into the thickest part of the inner thigh; do not let thermometer touch bone. If desired, brush skin with vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper inside and out.
- Roast uncovered until skin reaches desired brown color; cover loosely with a tent of aluminum foil for remaining time. Roast until thermometer reaches 180°F (approximately 80°C), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours. Remove from oven; let stand 20 minutes before carving.
Makes 8 to 12 servings.
- If stuffing turkey, the stuffing should be prepared and loosely packed into the turkey just before placing turkey in oven. Increase roasting time to 3 to 3 1/2 hours. The stuffing should register 165°F on meat thermometer.
- To ensure food safety, remove stuffing immediately after cooling; do not store in bird.
The following information is provided by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service web site, regarding the timetable for cooking a fresh or thawed turkey in preheated 325°F (160°C) oven. These times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed thermometer.
|Product Weight||Unstuffed Timing||Stuffed Timing|
|8 to 12 pounds||2 3/4 to 3 hours||3 to 3 1/2 hours|
|12 to 14 pounds||3 to 3 3/4 hours||3 1/2 to 4 hours|
|14 to 18 pounds||3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours||4 to 4 1/4 hours|
|18 to 20 pounds||4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours||4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours|
|20 to 24 pounds||4 1/2 to 5 hours||4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours|
Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.