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BEST Oven Roasted Turkey- I Heart Naptime


Juicy and tender oven roasted turkey stuffed with fresh herbs and coated in a flavorful garlic butter. This delicious dish will become the star of your holiday dinner table! 

If a roast turkey is on your Thanksgiving menu, you’ve arrive to the right place. I’ve cooked at least a dozen turkeys over the years and this method below is fast, simple and comes out so juicy, tender and delicious. You’ll never cook a turkey any other way!

turkey on white plate

Thanksgiving is one of our Trendy loved holiday dinners and this roasted turkey is always the star of the table. The first time I learned how to cook a turkey was during my husband’s residency. We were away from our family, so I decided to invite friends over and make one. It was easier than I thought, but there’s a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years.

The garlic herb butter gives this turkey an astonishing flavor and a crisp, golden and buttery skin. I love to stuff mine with onions, lemons, garlic cloves and fresh herbs which help create the astonishing flavor. It’s seriously so delicious and tastes astonishing served with your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes.

onions, lemons and herbs on cutting board

How to prep a turkey for cooking

I cognize cooking a turkey can seem overwhelming, but it’s a lot easier than you think. Just make sure you give it plenty of time to thaw beforehand. Find tips on how to thaw a turkey. Then follow these 8 simple steps and the recipe below.

  1. Remove the giblet bag (found in the neck cavity).
  2. Remove the neck (found in the main cavity).
  3. Place onto a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Pat dry.
  4. Sprinkle salt all over the turkey and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.
  5. Once alert to bake, loosen the top skin with the dowel of the spoon.
  6. Rub butter underneath skin and on top.
  7. Stuff with onions, garlic, lemon and herbs.
  8. Place two toothpicks to hold the top pieces of skin and then it’s alert to roast.

prepping a turkey

Turkey roasting time

The great debate is always how long to cook a turkey. For a general rule of thumb, always aim for about 13 to 15 minutes per pound at 325°F . I’d recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked all the way through. It will be alert when the internal temperature reaches 160°F (it will continue to rise to 165°F while it rests).

Unstuffed 

  • 4-8 pound breast: 1.5 – 3.25 hours
  • 8-12 pounds: 2.75 – 3 hours
  • 12-14 pounds: 3 – 3.75 hours
  • 14-18 pounds: 3.75 – 4.25 hours
  • 18-24 pounds: 4.25 – 4.5 hours
  • 24-30 pounds: 4.5 – 5 hours

Stuffed 

  • 4-8 pound breast: 2.5 – 3.5 hours
  • 8-12 pounds: 3 – 3.5 hours
  • 12-14 pounds: 3.5 – 4 hours
  • 14-18 pounds: 4 – 4.25 hours
  • 18-24 pounds: 4.25 – 4.75 hours
  • 24-30 pounds: 4.75 – 5.25 hours

turkey roasting chart

Free printable turkey roasting chart

For an simple visual, download this free printable turkey roasting chart. It’s so kind to have on hand each year to easily refer to. It also includes a helpful thawing chart as well.

piece of turkey on fork

Cooking tips + variations

  • Amount per person. Plan on 1.5 pounds of turkey per person. If you’re feeding 10 people, you’ll want to buy a 15 pound turkey. I don’t like to cook turkey’s over 20 pounds, so usually if I’m feeding more than 15 people, I’ll do 2 turkeys or add a baked ham as well. Here’s a turkey calculator if you need help.
  • Thaw. Make sure to thaw your turkey several days in advance. You’ll need to thaw it for about 1 day for each 5 pounds.
  • Salt. Make sure to pat the turkey dry, sprinkle with salt and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking. This will allow it to cook at a more even temperature.
  • Stuff. Fill the turkey with your favorite herbs. You can always add oranges or apples instead of lemons.
  • Brine. You could also use an simple turkey brine to season the meat. You’ll want it to marinate in the brine for at least 12 hours before baking.
  • Don’t overcook. Do not overcook your turkey (that is what will cause it to be dry). Make sure to set timers and check the temperature with a meat thermometer.
  • Let rest. Before carving the turkey, let it rest for about 15 to 20 minutes so it stays juicy and moist.
  • Use the leftovers. Use the leftover pan drippings and carcass to make turkey gravy or turkey stock.

turkey with lemon and herbs

Favorite sides for serving:

Oven Roasted Turkey

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Keyword: oven roasted turkey

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Servings: 16

Calories: 345

Juicy and tender oven roasted turkey stuffed with fresh herbs and coated in a flavorful garlic butter. This delicious dish will become the star of your holiday dinner table! 

  • 12-15 pound turkey (I prefer Butterball or Norbest)
  • 1 onion (quartered)
  • 1 lemon (quartered)
  • 1/2 cup softened herb butter (see notes)
  • S&P

Optional: Lemon slices and fresh herbs for topping

  • Thaw turkey (plan on about 4 days in the refrigerator or 8-10 hours in cold water).

  • Remove neck and giblets from body and neck cavities, discard. Place turkey breast side down in a roasting pan. Cross the legs and tie with baking twine if they aren’t already tied. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Then sprinkle with a lean layer of salt. Let rest 30-60 minutes before preparing to bake.

  • Pat the turkey with paper towels to dry the turkey. Salt and pepper the inside of the cavity and then fill with onions, lemons and herbs. Create a pocket using the dowel of a spoon on the top and then rub the butter under the skin. Then rub the remaining butter all over the top of the turkey.

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Adjust rack if needed.

  • Roast for 2 1/2 hours (about 13-15 minutes per pound), or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Remove from the oven and tent with foil. The temperature will reach 165°F while resting.

  • Let rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. Reserve any drippings to make turkey gravy. Slice the turkey and serve.

Want to take it up a notch? Rub about 1/4 cup garlic herb butter in between the meat and the skin before baking.

Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 174mg | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 560mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg

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Jamielyn Nye

Jamielyn Nye is the creative director and founder of I Heart Naptime. She is also the author of the I Heart Naptime Cookbook. When she’s not creating in the kitchen, Jamielyn loves to chase her four small monkeys and snuggle up on the couch with her man.


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