You are not going to believe how easy it to roast a turkey in the oven. Perfect for the holidays or any family gathering.
There is that day in every mom’s life where she roasts her very first turkey. Ok, well it’s not just for moms but since we’re all about helping moms make dinner, we are here to help you roast your Thanksgiving turkey.
Or really any day turkey because who says turkey is just for the third Thursday in November? Not me! In fact, I made a turkey dinner in October this year. Once you figure out how to roast a turkey, you can make one any time of the year.
How to Roast a Turkey in the Oven
Pick Out A Turkey
Picking out the right sized turkey for your family is key. For a family of 5, a 15-20 pound turkey is perfect especially if you want leftovers. For smaller families, try a 10 pound turkey and for larger turkeys, go up to 25 pounds.
Just remember that the larger the bird, the longer it needs to cook so don’t plan to eat at noon if you’re cooking a really large turkey. The general rule of thumb is 15 minutes for every pound so keep that in mind when picking out your bird.
Thaw Your Turkey
The first step is to thaw your turkey. There are usually instructions on the turkey as to how to thaw it. Set a reminder on your phone a week before cooking to remind yourself to thaw it. The turkey may need a few days in the refrigerator to thaw so just plan ahead so you’re not caught unaware with a frozen bird.
Brine or Don’t Brine Your Turkey
Brining a turkey is completely optional, but many people swear by it. If you want to brine your turkey, again, plan ahead. The turkey needs to sit in the brine marinade for a day. If you decide to brine, check out this post on How to Brine A Turkey.
Roast Your Turkey
On the day of cooking, preheat the oven to 325. If you didn’t brine the turkey, remove the wrapper, neck and giblets and pat dry. Place the turkey on a rack on a large roasting pan. A turkey will not fit well in a smaller baking dish so it’s worth investing in a roasting pan even if you only use it once a year.
Cut 1 stick of butter into 1/2 tablespoon pats. Very carefully use your hand to separate the skin of the bird away from the turkey. Place the pats of butter between the skin and the meat around the top of the bird. Just work slowly and carefully so as not to rip or tear the skin. No one wants to miss out on that delicious skin!
Once all the butter is placed in the skin, season the turkey with your choice of herbs. First season the turkey with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Then add herbs. Fresh herbs are worth the investment when it comes to cooking a turkey but you can use dried herbs, too. Use herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano. Dice and then sprinkle them over the skin and place whole pieces of the herbs in the cavity of the turkey.
How long do you cook a turkey in the oven?
Once the turkey is seasoned, it’s time to bake. Place the roasting pan with the seasoned turkey in the preheated oven. Roast the turkey UNCOVERED for 2 hours. If the turkey starts to get too brown, remove the turkey and make a foil tent to put over the top of the bird to prevent additional browning. This can also be done the other way around where you place the foil tent the first few hours and remove it to allow browning at the end. Both achieve the same crispy outside.
Continue cooking until the internal temperature of the thickest part of your bird reaches 165 and the juices run clear. Use a meat thermometer to determine the internal temperature of the bird. The best place to put the thermometer is near the thigh. A good rule of thumb is to cook your bird for 15 minutes for every pound so cooking times will vary. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before carving.
Sides to go with your oven roasted turkey
My favorite sides to have with my turkey are the classics. A good helping of mashed potatoes and stuffing are the best. You can also include:
- green bean casserole
- creamed corn
- crock pot sweet potatoes
- side salad
- homemade dinner rolls
- homemade turkey gravy
- 15-20 pound turkey, frozen or thawed
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- fresh rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano, a few sprigs of each
- Thaw your turkey the day before by placing it in the sink or on the stove top in a baking dish. Do not thaw it in the fridge as it may not thaw all the way through.
- On the day you want to cook your turkey, remove from the bag and take out the giblets and neck. Set aside for later use or toss. Place the turkey in a large baking pan.
- Preheat your oven to 325.
- Slice the butter into tablespoon sized pats.
- Peel back the skin from the meat and run your hand along the inside to separate it.
- Place the pats of butter underneath the skin of the turkey.
- Season the skin with the garlic, onion, salt and pepper.
- Place the fresh herbs inside the turkey cavity.
- Bake the turkey UNCOVERED for 2 hours.
- Remove from the oven and make a foil tent to go over the turkey to prevent additional browning.
- Place back in the oven for an additional 2 hours.*
- Remove and let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
*Time will vary depending on size of your bird. Turkey should cook for 15 minutes per pound and reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the thickest part.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 518Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7.1gCholesterol: 225mgSodium: 517mgCarbohydrates: .7gFiber: .1gSugar: .2gProtein: 83.1g