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How to cook a turkey with a baked turkey on a serving platter.

How to Cook a Turkey - The Best Roasted Turkey

How to cook a turkey in the oven. A tender and flavorful roasted turkey that always gets rave reviews!
Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 335kcal
Author Sara Welch


  • 1 recipe turkey brine optional but highly recommend
  • 12 lb turkey giblets and neck removed
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • 1 onion peeled and quartered
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic smashed
  • 8 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons salt cut down to 1/2 teaspoon if you've brined your turkey
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey broth do not use if you've brined your turkey
  • fresh herbs and fruit for garnish optional


  • Brine the turkey as directed for 18-24 hours. This is an optional step but I recommend it if you have the time. if you do choose to brine your turkey, cut the salt in this recipe to 1/2 teaspoon and you will not need to baste your turkey with broth.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Tuck the wings of the turkey under the body.
  • Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the lemon, onion, thyme sprigs and garlic.
  • Tie the turkey drumsticks together with kitchen twine, Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan.
  • Place the butter, salt and pepper in a bowl and stir until well combined.
  • Spread the butter all over the turkey, both on top of and underneath the skin. Season the outside of the turkey with more salt and pepper to taste if desired.
  • Cook for 30-40 minutes or until turkey has started to turn golden brown.
  • Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Baste the turkey with 1/2 cup chicken broth. If you've brined your turkey, there's no need to baste it.
  • Bake for another 2 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the chicken broth, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F. I also check the thickest part of the breast to make sure that it's the correct temperature. If your turkey is getting too dark, you can cover it with foil.
  • Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and garnish with herbs and fruit if desired. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before slicing.



If you'd like to brine your turkey, here is my favorite brine recipe


Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 70g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 251mg | Sodium: 633mg | Potassium: 786mg | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 5.9mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3mg