Perfect Roast Turkey

Active time: 15 min.Total time:2 hours, 30 min.
Yield: Serves 10 (serving size: about 6 oz. turkey)

First-time Thanksgiving hosts, don’t fear: We’ve got the perfect simple, yet doable turkey recipe that also happens to be super delicious. The bird comes out moist (Butterball turkeys are pre-brined, saving first-time roasters some serious time and cooking space) with a delectably crispy, brown skin. There’s a bit of butter involved, so wear disposable gloves while you’re rubbing it all over the outside of the bird. The turkey’s temperature will rise as it rests, meaning that the entire bird will be at least 165°F by the time it’s ready to eat. 


  • 1(14- to 16-lb.) frozen whole turkey, thawed and giblets removed
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1medium celery stalk, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1medium carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1garlic head, halved crosswise
  • 2sage sprigs
  • 2thyme sprigs
  • 2rosemary sprigs
  • Cooking spray

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in lowest position. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Place turkey on a rack fitted inside a large roasting pan. Rub butter evenly over outside of turkey. Sprinkle outside and inside with salt and pepper. Loosely pack cavity with celery, carrot, garlic, sage, thyme, and rosemary. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.

Step 2

Bake in preheated oven until breast begins to brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Loosely cover just the breast with a piece of aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Continue baking until golden brown and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of breast registers 160°F and the thigh registers 180°F, 1 hour, 15 minutes to 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Step 3

Remove turkey from oven; let cool in pan 30 minutes. Remove from pan; transfer to a cutting board, and carve. Transfer to a serving platter. (Reserve drippings and filling in cavity for making gravy.)

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