The Best Roast Turkey
All you need are a few seasonings and some veggies to create a memorable star of the show.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: Serves 10 - 12 1x
- Category: Entrées
- 1 (15-pound) whole turkey, fresh or completely thawed if frozen
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 4-inch pieces
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra, chopped, for serving
- 3 sprigs fresh sage, plus extra, chopped, for serving
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- Water, chicken broth, or turkey bone broth, as needed
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large roasting pan with high sides and a baking rack set inside it. Coat the pan and rack with cooking spray.
- Remove any wire from the turkey, trim excess fat, remove giblets, and then pat it dry inside and out. Use your fingers to pull the skin away from the meat in the breast area. Position the turkey, breast side up, in the roasting pan.
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper in the cavity, rubbing to cover the surfaces. Tuck the onion, celery, 2 thyme sprigs, and 2 sage sprigs into the cavity. Use kitchen twine, doubled, to tie a bow to keep the legs together.
- Finely mince the leaves from the remaining thyme and sage sprigs and put them in a small bowl. Add the butter and poultry seasoning and mix to make a paste. Rub 3 tablespoons of the butter underneath the turkey’s skin, reserving the rest for later. Add 1 cup water to the roasting pan.
- Roast the turkey for 1 hour. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue to roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 170 degrees F. Add additional water or broth as necessary to maintain at least 1/2 inch of liquid in the pan.
- Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and a doubled large tea towel and let stand for 30 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a carving board. Carve the turkey, garnish with chopped thyme and sage, and serve.
- See our Stovetop Turkey Gravy recipe for instructions on how to use the pan drippings to make gravy.