How to Roast a Turkey

It’s Thanksgiving!! And, the main event in our house is the turkey. There are many ways to make a turkey, but this is a basic, no fuss way that is hard to mess up. Stuff it, butter it and roast it. The fruits/veg/herbs on the inside keep in moist and flavor it, the butter keeps it from drying out and roasting it brings out the best flavors! We don’t stuff our bird with stuffing, but if you decide to do that instead of fruit/veg//herbs, add a little more cooking time!

The best trick we learned over the years is to sear the bird at a high heat at the beginning and you will have much less work to do – no basting, easier cleanup and a super moist bird. It’s seriously the best!

Oh, and another trick – if you’re short on time, try spatchcocking your turkey. You’ll thank yourself that you did on Thanksgiving!

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

How to Roast a Turkey

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


For the Turkey

  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1/2 bunch fresh herbs, like parsley and sage
  • 6-8  tablespoons butter, room temperature 


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (yes, 400 :)). Make sure the bottom rack is on the lowest level in the oven.
  2. Place turkey, breast side up in a roasting pan. Remove giblets, and pat the outside and inside of the turkey dry with paper towels. Place onion, celery, carrot, lemons, lime and herbs inside the bird. Take room temperature butter and cover the bird inside the cavity, under and over the skin with it.* Sprinkle with poultry seasoning.
  3. Make sure the wings and legs are tucked under the bird and bake on high heat (you’re searing the bird so the juices don’t run) for 30 minutes. Note: by searing the turkey, you will not have to baste it and it will not have any juices on the bottom of the roasting tin when it’s finished. Turn down the oven temperature to 325, cover with a foil tent and roast for 15-20 minutes per pound (our 12ish pound turkey took just over 3 hours to cook). Check temperature with a thermometer and when the thickest part of the meat (not touching a bone) is 155-160 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the bird from the oven (it will keep cooking at and will come up to the safe 165 degrees within a few minutes of being out of the oven).
  4. Once cooled, slice and serve. Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

* Note #1: If you want to have an even moister turkey, cover it with a cheese cloth. To prepare the cheesecloth, dampen it with water and then dunk it in some melted butter. Drape it over the turkey and roast the turkey as directed above. It’ll help keep it moist and encourage the moist beautiful coloring!

** Note #2: And, if you just want to make the turkey breast, follow all the same directions, but reduce the cooking time. It will look like this once it’s all prepped and cooked!

Updated November 2020.

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