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How to Cook a Turkey - A Recipe for Thanksgiving

Updated on November 22, 2011

This method of roasting a turkey will provide a moist and juicy bird with little effort.



1 12 - 18 lb. Turkey, Thawed

1 Large Onion, Cut into Wedges

2 Small Lemons, Sliced

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Seasoning Blend of Your Choice


  1. 24 hours before cooking, remove neck and giblets and reserve for another use. Rinse turkey inside and out and then pat dry with paper towels. Lift wings up and tuck under the back of the turkey. Place turkey breast side up on rack in a roasting pan.
  2. Rub skin with olive oil and then sprinkle thoroughly with the seasoning blend of your choice. You may prefer to simply use salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
  3. Remove turkey from refrigerator 30 minutes before putting in the oven to allow time for it to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 325 F. Remove plastic wrap from turkey.
  4. Roast turkey in the oven approximately 20 minutes per pound or until meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees. Loosely cover breast with aluminum foil when turkey is two-thirds done to prevent over browning.
  5. Remove turkey from the oven and tent with foil. Allow to rest 20 minutes before carving.

Approximate Roasting Time at 325 Degrees F

Cooking Time
10 - 12 lbs
3 - 3 1/2 hrs
12 - 14 lbs
3 1/2 - 4 hrs
14 - 16 lbs
4 - 4 1/2 hrs
16 - 18 lbs
4 1/2 - 5 hrs

Additional Tips

  • A seasoning blend with rosemary is perfect for turkey.
  • Poultry seasoning is also a perfect choice.
  • If you don't have a seasoning blend, try rubbing with salt, pepper, garlic powder and sage.


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