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Simple Roasted Turkey Recipe That Gets Crispy and Stays Moist - Perfect for Thanksgiving

Updated on November 22, 2012

Simple Roasted Turkey Great Anytime of the Year

While it is Thanksgiving it is a great time to buy a couple of turkeys and eat one on the holiday with family and cook the others up and enjoy delicious home made turkey. This is a simple Roasted Turkey Recipe and while there are countless sophisticated Turkey cooking recipes from intricate brines and special flavor injectors for frying, which all are exceptional, a Turkey wih minimal preparation and basic ingredients can still be amazing.

Cripsy Skin Turkey

3.5 out of 5 stars from 4 ratings of Simple Roasted Turkey Recipe

Turkey Roasted with Herbs, Vegetables, and Butter

Roasted Turkey with Sage and Thyme
Roasted Turkey with Sage and Thyme


  • A Turkey for this recipe I prefer to not get a real big bird. This is perfect if cooking for just a few people or just want to have amazing turkey sandwiches. 12 - 15 lbs is the most you want to go with. Bigger birds tend to dry out a little more in certain areas.
  • Herbs, I like sage and thyme, however sometimes will add rosemary or whatever is in the kitchen that you like.
  • Some basic vegetables like onions, celery, and garlic rough chopped
  • Some turkey or chicken stock - water can do as well - this is just for the bottom of the pan
  • A stick of butter (reduce according to your preference, exchange for olive oil for a healthier option.
  • Salt and Pepper

You will also need a large roasting pan with a rack and an oven preheating at 325.

Preparation for Roasting a Bird

  1. After washing the bird and removing the neck, liver, etc inside the cavity dry it with a few paper towels and let it rest. Make sure the bird is defrosted fully as a frozen bird will complicate the cooking process.
  2. Place the salt and pepper, sage and thyme and other herbs into a bowl. Do a mixture of your own taste. Rub the bird down and place some inside the cavity as well. It does not need to be super thick. Save some for mixing with the butter for basting later.
  3. Place most of the onions, garlic, and celery inside the cavity, not too filled up. Place the remaining in the bottom of the roasting pan. This helps make the drippings even better for gravy later.
  4. Place the broth or water in the bottom of the pan.
  5. After placing the turkey on the pan take about 1/3 of the stick of butter and coat the turkey with the butter and herb mixture.
  6. Place a few pieces of foil to cover for at least the first 1 hour - 2.5 hours depending on the size of the bird.
  7. It is 15 minutes per poun. So, every 4 lbs of turkey, it will need to cook for an hour, however depending on your oven it may take slightly longer so use a thermometer. Get the meat around 165 degrees when placed in the thigh as while resting the meat will continue to cook. However this is the simple roasted turkey so just watch the little red button placed on the bird and when it pops your done.
  8. After the initial time while the turkey is covered with foil remove the foil and continue to cook for the remaining time uncovered. It is best to then baste the turkey with the butter every 15 to 20 minutes until it is completed cooking, some people recommend every 30 minutes so just watch how the skin is looking, you want a crispy skin without a burned appearance that creates a really dry bird.

Carve and Enjoy

After you let the turkey rest you can carve it. I prefer to remove the breast meat before slicing it will keep each piece juicier and extra tasty later if you are saving the meat for sandwiches. The drippings make a great gravy that you can look up, but again I keep it simple, drain off some fat, add some heat to the pan, scrap the bottom, add flour and a little stock and boil then simmer.

After you slice up the bird save the carcass and boil it in a large pot on a real low simmer over night. This makes the best soup stock that you can add a few veggies, a little chopped up meat, and rice or noodles and enjoy for several days. Left over turkey dinners are also a special part of the holiday.


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    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, cz to the 3rd power, for this super easy and yummy-looking recipe. I am salivating already (a hazard to my keyboard).

    • litsabd profile image

      litsabd 6 years ago

      what a delicious recipe this seems and quite easy compared to others of the same kind! Looking forward to making it for my family at Christmas!