Basic Roast Turkey

  in Main Dishes, Recipes, Thanksgiving

It takes about 15 minutes per pound to roast a turkey. A 12 lb turkey will take 3 hours to roast. Be sure to factor in turkey resting time when deciding what time you want to serve the meal.

Add aromatics to the cavity before roasting, if desired: 1/2 a lemon, 1 quartered onion, 1 chopped apple, fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage, etc.

1 10-12-lb turkey
1 stick butter

  1. Remove the (thawed) turkey from the fridge and let it sit for about an hour to bring it up to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Pull the neck and giblets out of the cavity and save to make broth for homemade gravy. Dry the turkey with a clean kitchen towel, then season inside and out generously with salt. 
  2. Place the turkey breast-side up on a rack in a roasting pan and brush with melted butter (You’ll probably need about 1/2 stick now and another 1/2 stick later.) Tent the turkey loosely with foil and roast for 2 hours*. 
  3. Remove the foil and baste with more melted butter. Roast for 1 more hour or until the meat at the thigh registers 165°F. 
  4. Remove from oven and let rest, loosely covered with foil, while you make the gravy and heat up your side dishes in the oven. The turkey will stay hot for a good 30-45 minutes. (Be sure to let it rest to let the juices be reabsorbed. If you cut it right away, the juices will run out and you’ll end up with a dry bird.)

* Add an extra 15 minutes per pound for bigger birds