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How to Roast a 12-14lb Turkey

Updated on November 22, 2012
roasted turkey ready to carve
roasted turkey ready to carve | Source

Wondering how to roast a 12 - 14lb turkey?

If you've roasted some chickens throughout the year, you will find it is much the same to roast a turkey. The only main difference is that turkeys are generally much bigger and therefore take longer to cook.

In this article we are going to look at 12 - 14lb turkeys which is pretty average size for a family Holiday get together, and should provide plenty food for everyone.

First of all, if you have bought a frozen turkey, take it out to defrost at room temperature at least 48 hours before you plan you cook it.

Turkeys, like all poultry, are dangerous to eat if even slightly raw, and therefore should be thoroughly defrosted before cooking.

If you have pets in the house, cover the bird, and place it well out of reach of domestic pets.

Things you will need to roast a turkey

  • 1 x 12 - 14lb turkey
  • 1 large roasting dish, normally at Holiday time the shops are full of extra large, cheap roasting dishes designed to be used once.
  • 1 roll of kitchen foil, large.
  • Stuffing. You can buy stuffing of your choice in packets, or you can use the stuffing recipe at foot of this page. Sausage meat makes great stuffing, and can be bought at your local supermarket or butcher ready prepared.
  • Needle and thread to close stuffing in.
  • Salt
  • Oil, fat or butter.


Method to roast a turkey

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 3500F/1800C.
  2. Remove bird from its packaging and place in sink to rinse well under cold running water, both inside and out.
  3. Remove giblets and set aside.
  4. Rinse area where giblets were well, and set the bird on the draining rack to dry off a little.
  5. Put the giblets in a pot of cold water, add some salt, and put on to boil, then reduce heat to simmer gently while the turkey is cooking. You will use this stock for the gravy.
  6. Place the bird in your roasting pan and stuff with your stuffing of choice. A turkey has two ends it can be stuffed with, the neck end and the other end which opens up into the cavity of the bird itself. There is a lot more room here, so put your main stuffing at this end.

I prefer to stuff a turkey while it is in its roasting pan, ready to cook, because a 12 - 14lb turkey is pretty heavy to move around, and of course the extra weight of the stuffing makes it even heavier.

  1. Once stuffed, and you may have to use needles and thread to close the flaps over the bird to keep the stuffing place, add some oil or melted butter to the bird itself. Using the back of a spoon, try to ensure you cover most of the outer skin of the turkey. Add about a teaspoon of salt, sprinkling it all over the bird. It should stick to the oil/butter/fat.
  2. Cover with tin foil, and place in oven.
  3. Your turkey needs roughly 15-20 minutes per lb to cook, so if you have a 14lb turkey, that is 280 minutes, plus you always give it an extra 20 minutes over, so that is 300 minutes.
  4. 1/2 hours before end of cooking time, remove the foil, baste turkey and allow to brown and crispen slightly.

Don't forget to add the weight of the stuffing to the cooking time.

Your turkey is going to take about 5 hours to cook, so if you planned the meal for 3pm, have your turkey in the oven by 10am at the latest, as the turkey needs some resting time after cooking and before carving.

Many people I know prepare their turkey the night before, and place it in a low oven to gently cook away over night.

You then wake up to the most delicious aroma wafting throughout the house.

Nifty Poultry Shield

Oatmeal Stuffing Recipe

Stuffing – oatmeal stuffing one end, and sausage-meat at the neck end.


  • 8 oz oatmeal
  • I chopped onion
  • 4 oz chopped suet or dripping
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper

Mix all together and stuff turkey with it, packing it in well with the back of a spoon.

Use it dry, no added liquids. It will be moist when ready as the turkey juices permeate through.


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    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      Yes I think you have a point. A lot of people suggest covering the turkey while it is 'resting' to keep the moisture in.

      Oatmeal stuffing is awesome! Honestly, everyone should try it :)

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 4 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      I meant to finish defrosting.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 4 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Izzy. I always like to find new ways to fix turkey One thing I do is put the turkey in brown bag on counter to finish cooking. I like the step by step directions. The oatmeal stuffing sounds good. Thanks for sharing. Audrey. Pinned

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

      Everybody has a favorite stuffing recipe, haven't they? Thought I'd throw that one in, as I'm guessing most viewers to this hub will be newbies at cooking turkey and may appreciate a recipe.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Excellent instructions for roasting. I have never used oatmeal in the stuffing. My preferences go to bread cubes, apple and raisins.