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How To Roast A Turkey In The Oven

Updated on November 23, 2012
Turkey out of the oven
Turkey out of the oven | Source
4 stars from 1 rating of Turkey

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 30 min
  • Cook time: 3 hours 30 min
  • Ready in: 4 hours
  • Yields: alot of turkey

Every year I take it upon myself to do the cooking for the holidays. I can’t say that it is pleasure or a punishment, but I know that there are only two times a year when homemade food is a priority / demand / requirement: Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We can eat out or have a take away or have delivery on every other “holiday” but NOT those two days (such a thing would be, and IS, a sacrilege).

Most years when it comes to Thanksgiving, turkey is the staple and traditional meat (Christmas is ham—Although, I’ve always wanted to try goose, but that is for too expensive where I live; pushing 100 dollars for a ten-pounder), and I like to use the recipes from some my favorites celebrities chefs (such as Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Alton Brown and Giada De Laurentiis) if I don’t have a recipe of my own. Giada has a recipe for a wonderful Herb de Provence and Citrus Turkey and I’ve made it and it is fantastic.

This year, sadly, some things were unknowningly left until the last minute and I didn’t have all the ingredients for the Herb and Citrus Turkey (I know what you’re thinking: “You FORGET stuff for THE TURKEY? That’s the most important part!”) Sorry, I was busy making pies, cranberry sauce, and ice cream…

Also, I was going to use the rotisserie that my sister-in-law gave me, but I had never used one before and I realized on Thanksgiving morning that It was more complicated to do than I thought; I wasn’t sure the turkey would fit inside the machine and I didn’t want to risk the main course with a machine and process I had never used before (I figure I’ll get a chicken later on and try it in the rotisserie to get used to using it before I try it for Turkey Day).

So, at the last minute, I decided to do the turkey in the oven with just some simple ingredients that I had around the kitchen: oil, salt, pepper, onion, carrot, celery, and some Herb de Provence.

Thankfully, it all turned out great (with the exception of the fact that I removed the neck but forget to remove the giblets for the chest cavity).

So, I thought I would share how to roast a turkey in the oven without the stress. So, if you ever wondered how to do on a more simplistic basic (without the ton of ingredients and no awkward cooking processes) this way is simple and easy.

13 pound turkey
13 pound turkey | Source


1 13-15 pound turkey (fully thawed)

3-4 medium carrots

4-5 celery stalks

1-2 yellow onions

2-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1-2 teaspoon of salt

2-3 teaspoons of black pepper

1-2 tablespoons of Herbs de Provence (you can substitute oregano if you don’t have any)


A large roasting pan with a rack

chopped vegetables
chopped vegetables | Source
Turkey ready for the oven
Turkey ready for the oven | Source

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1. Most brand name turkeys (i.e Butterball) are frozen when you buy them. They take about 3-4 days to thaw out in the fridge (depending on the weight). So make sure the turkey is completely thawed before cooking. If you go to places like Lunardi’s you can get the turkeys unfrozen so they are a fresh, but those can cost more. Either way, make sure the turkey is empty of the neck and giblets.

2. You will want to pat down the turkey with paper towels so that it is dry.

3. Place the rack in the bottom of the roasting pan.

4. Pre-heat oven to 325 degree F. (some pre-packaged turkeys come with instructions for cooking and different brands have different cook times and oven settings. You should follow the given direction to make sure it is cooked throughly. Remember, the most important thing is that the turkey is 170 degree F inside the breast and 180 degrees F inside the thigh).

5. Chop the celery and carrots into 2 inch pieces (you don’t have to peel the carrots).

6. Half the onion and remove the outer two layers.

7. Place the turkey on the rack into the roasting pan.

8. Stuff the chest cavity of the turkey with the onion first and then the carrots and celery. Any pieces that don’t fit you can just place in the bottom of the pan.

9. Oil the turkey and rub it all over the skin.

10. Sprinkle the turkey with the salt, pepper and herbs.

11. Put the turkey in the oven and bake for 3 hours (for a 13 pound turkey).

12. At 2 hours put tin foil loosely over the turkey.

13. At 3 hours, check the temperature: if the breast meat is 170 degrees F and the thigh meat is 180 degrees F, it is done. If not put it back in the oven for another half hour (30 minutes) and then check the temperature again. (Make sure NOT to touch bone when checking the temperature.)

14. Once the internal temperatures are correct, remove the turkey from the oven, leave the foil on and let it rest for 30 minutes so the juices can redistribute.

15. Carve and serve with all the fixings of the holidays.


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    • Edgar Arkham profile image

      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Edgar, my hubby smoked our turkey this year and it was pretty good. However, my preference is roasted because I think it produces a moist turkey. Great details on how to do this. I'm sure it helped someone out there put out a marvelous bird.