How to Roast a Turkey (& Make Gravy)

The main event for Thanksgiving 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.

You can baste the turkey throughout the cooking process using its own juices to make sure it doesn’t dry out. And, if you stuff it with stuffing, make sure you add more time to cook the bird.

How to Roast a Turkey (& Make Gravy)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


For the Turkey

  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 bunch chopped fresh sage

For the Gravy

  • 1 to 2 cups pan drippings (from roasted turkey)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 – 2 cups water (or low-sodium stock)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place onion, celery, and carrot in a large, shallow roasting pan.
  3. Place turkey, breast side up, on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan. Remove giblets, and pat the outside and inside of the turkey dry with paper towels.
  4. Combine salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Season the inside of the turkey with about 1/3 of the salt mixture. Fold wing tips under the bird.
  5. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat until the edges begin to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Cook and stir rosemary and sage for 1 minute.
  6. Place rosemary and sage inside the cavity of the turkey; reserve melted butter. Tie the legs together with twine.
  7. Brush outside of the turkey completely with the melted butter. Season with remaining 2/3 of the salt mixture.***
  8. Bake turkey, uncovered, in the preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 3 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees. Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest in a warm area 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
  9. To make the gravy, pour the turkey pan drippings into a 2-cup measuring cup and skim the fat off. Put about 1/4 cup of the fat into a saucepan. Stir in 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Discard any remaining skimmed fat. Add enough water to the liquids left in the measuring cup to make 2 cups of liquid. Pour the 2 cups of liquid into the flour and fat mixture. Cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbling. Continue cooking for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve with turkey. Enjoy!

*** 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!

Photos update September 2020.

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