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roast turkey from overhead on pan

Best Roast Turkey Recipe

  • Author: Melissa Riker
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 150 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: main
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American


Roasting a Thanksgiving Turkey is easier than you think-a few simple steps will have your main dish perfectly cooked and ready for guests!


  • turkey (recipe is based on 10-12 pounds, adjust cook time for smaller or larger bird)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 2 apples, halved
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil


  1. Remove defrosted turkey from refrigerator and allow to warm to room temperature 30-45 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a roasting pan with a rack and spray with nonstick spray.
  3. Remove neck and giblets from turkey cavity. Rinse with water and pat dry with paper towels. Move turkey to the rack.
  4. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Use hands to rub mixture inside the cavity to coat. Add fresh herbs, onion, apple, and lemon to the cavity. Brush outside of turkey with olive oil or melted butter. Flip turkey over so that the breast side is down and brush remaining areas with butter or olive oil.
  5. Place turkey in the oven uncovered and cook for one hour. Lower heat to 350 degrees and cook another hour. Remove turkey from oven and carefully turn over so breast side is facing up. Return to oven and cook an additional 30 minutes or until a thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the thigh and/or breast reads 165 degrees. If your turkey is getting too brown on top loosely tent with aluminum foil.
  6. After removing from oven tent with aluminum foil and allow to rest 45 minutes before serving.


  • Roasting the turkey initially breast side down helps prevent drying of the meat.
  • If the turkey is browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.
  • Monitor the turkey temperature closely, it is done when a thermometer inserted into the breast reads 165 degrees.
  • Stuffed turkeys will need to cook longer, this recipe is for an unstuffed turkey.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 577
  • Sugar: 4.6 g
  • Sodium: 770.3 mg
  • Fat: 13.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.8 g
  • Protein: 103.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 312.9 mg

Keywords: turkey, roast, thanksgiving