How to Roast a Turkey

By: Katherine C. Parker

Tips for how to cook turkey that's moist and delicious.

How to Cook a Turkey

Whether you're cooking a whole turkey for Thanksgiving or a special holiday feast, these turkey tips ensure that you'll have a juicy, flavorful bird for the big feast.

Related: Our Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

How to Cook a Turkey

You can cook a whole turkey in five easy steps. This method produces all the good looks and moist flavor you dream of in a Thanksgiving turkey. Try this technique with our Herb-Roasted Turkey recipe.

You will need:

• Large roasting pan
• Roasting rack
• Kitchen string
• Meat thermometer

Step 1


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 475°F. Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavities and reserve for making gravy. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan; pat dry with paper towels. Rub the prepared herb mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place aromatics in the cavity of the bird.

Step 2


Tuck the wing tips under the turkey.

Step 3


Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Add water and herb sprigs to the pan.

Step 4


Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven and cover the breast with a double layer of foil, cutting as necessary to conform to the breast. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue roasting for 1¼ to 1¾ hours more. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165°F.

Step 5


Transfer the turkey to a cutting board or serving platter and cover with foil. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes while you make the gravy. Remove the string and carve.

Next Up:

How to Carve a Turkey

How to Make Gravy

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

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