Roast Turkey - How to cook a turkey, a lovely roast turkey on a white platter with fresh herbs and sliced lemons
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5 from 6 votes

How to Cook a Perfect Turkey

How to cook a turkey. The perfect Thanksgiving Turkey recipe. The eight steps to a perfectly cooked bird with moist and tender meat, a ton of flavor, and a golden, crispy skin!
Prep Time1 d
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time1 d 3 hrs
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: thanksgiving, turkey
Servings: 1 turkey
Calories: 7kcal
Author: Rachael


Turkey- 13 lb or so

    Turkey Brine

    Herb Butter

    Herby Steeped Aromatics

    Foil Hat


      • Thaw Your Turkey: To thaw, place your turkey in the fridge, let it defrost for approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of turkey.
      • Brine Your Turkey: This produces a bird that is perfectly moist, beautifully seasoned, and has equally tender and flavorful dark and white meat. It is a thing of beauty. You should plan on 24 hours for brining. However, it can be done faster. Give yourself at least 8 hours for best results.
      • Rub herb butter between the meat and the skin: Place your bird on the rack of your roasting pan. Now, go to the back of the bird, and lift the skin. There you will find a place where you can gently lift the skin from the meat. You will need to gently pry the skin from the meat, starting at the back, and working your way up to the neck. Apply the herb butter into the area you just created, and gently rub it all over the bird. When you have finished, rub your buttery hands on the outside as well. If you don’t have enough butter to rub the outside, feel free to rub with canola oil as well. This will help it crisp up! You can make your own herb butter, or get the recipe for the one we use at
      • Fill the Bird Cavity: Fill that bird cavity with steeped herby aromatics. It will flavor the bird from the inside, and slightly sweeten the savory meat.
      • Roast for 30 minutes at 500 degrees Fahrenheit
      • Create A Foil Hat for the breast and Turn the Oven Down to 350 degrees.
      • Let it Cook to 161 degree Fahrenheit. Approximately 13 minutes per pound. Typically a 14-16 pound turkey cooked with this method will take about 2.5 hours to cook fully.
      • Rest your Turkey: Pull that beautifully golden brown turkey out of the oven, and cover it with foil. Then let it rest for 30 minutes.
      • Enjoy!


      Adjust the herbs you use to your preference.
      Adjust the brine as well.


      Calories: 7kcal | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 36mg