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Roasted Turkey with golden brown skin on a white platter with a bird-shaped gravy boat filled with gravy behind

Best Roasted Turkey Recipe

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Unlock the art of roasting the perfect turkey with our treasured family tips, honed over generations of culinary expertise. From preparation to carving, our guide ensures a mouthwatering, golden-brown masterpiece. Say goodbye to basting and hello to culinary success!

  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings 1x


  • 1 14-pound turkey, rinsed, giblets, neck, and tailpiece removed but not discarded


  • Table Salt
  • Water


  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water (more as needed)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pan Gravy

  • 3/4 cup Wondra flour (may need more
  • 3 1/2 cups or more turkey or chicken broth (best if use neck/giblets broth –directions follow)


Quick brine (4 to 6 hours)

  1. Start by removing the turkey from its packaging and removing the neck, endpiece and giblets set aside the latter for making the gravy broth). Rinse the turkey thoroughly under cold water. To avoid cross-contamination, empty your sink of any objects first, and thoroughly clean the sink with soap and water afteward.
  2. Place turkey in a large brining bag or food-safe kitchen garbage bag and set it in a roasting pan if you have room for it in your refrigerator (if not, place the bag inside a cooler large enough to hold the turkey, bag and brining water).
  3. In a separate container, dissolve 1 cup of salt per gallon of water. Mix enough to completely cover the turkey in the bag. Tie shut. Place in the refrigerator, or if using a cooler, add water and ice around the garbage bag and place in a cool spot.
  4. After 4 to 6 hours, remove the turkey from salt water and rinse well under cool running water. Thoroughly pat dry inside and out with paper towels. Again, be careful to avoid cross contamination.
  5. Place turkey, breast side up, on a flat wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, to dry for 4 to 24 hours (okay if dries for less time, just make sure to pat thoroughly with paper towels before proceeding).

H3 Overnight brine (12 up to max of 14 hours)

  1. Follow directions for quick brine except reduce salt to 1/2 cup per gallon of water and increase soaking time to 12 to 14 hours.

Roast Turkey in the Oven

  1. If you didn’t brine your turkey, start by removing the turkey from its packaging and removing the neck, endpiece and giblets set aside the latter for making the gravy broth). Rinse the turkey thoroughly under cold water. To avoid cross-contamination, empty your sink of any objects first, and thoroughly clean the sink with soap and water afterward.
  2. Pat turkey dry with paper towels, ensuring that it is completely dry. Moisture on the skin can prevent it from browning properly.
  3. Tuck the wings behind the back of the turkey. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Some turkeys come with a plastic holder that you can use. Or, truss the turkey (see Note below).
  4. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees f.
    Scatter coarsely chopped onion, celery, and carrots in a roasting pan; pour 1 1/2 cups water over. Set aside.
  5. Brush breast side of turkey with melted butter. Set turkey, breast side down, on a non-stick V- or U-shaped rack; brush back with butter. (If rack isn’t non-stick, line with foil.) Place in prepared roasting pan (with the vegetables).
  6. Insert an oven probe or meat thermometer into the deepest part of the turkey breast, avoiding the bone. Start by inserting the probe/thermometer from the end of the breast, not the top. You want the probe/thermometer to be evenly surrounded by the meat, to the extent possible. Don’t rely on the pop-up thermometer that comes installed in some turkeys; they aren’t reliable.
  7. Roast turkey for 1 hour, then reduce temperature to 250 degrees and roast 2 hours longer. Add more water to the vegetables in the pan as needed.
  8. Remove pan from oven and, using pot holders, turn the turkey over so the breast side is up. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees, place turkey back in oven, and continue roasting until the thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees f on your probe or thermometer – about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Watch it carefully, checking the temperature after 30 minutes if it is nicely browned and looking done.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven and let sit for 30 to 45 minutes on the rack in the pan, so any juices accumulate in the pan. In addition, resting the turkey allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and moist turkey.
  10. Remove bird and place on a large cutting board.

Pan Gravy

  1. After you put the turkey in the oven, place the neck and giblets (if using) that you have removed from the cavity of the turkey in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover by at least 2 inches.  Place on stove and bring to a boil. Turn heat to lowest setting, cover, and let simmer for an hour. Check periodically and add more water as needed. Turn off heat and let cool. Strain cooled broth into a measuring cup. Add more prepared turkey (or chicken) broth as needed so that you have a total of 3 1/2 cups.
  2. While the turkey is resting (after roasting), strain juices from the roasting pan into a large glass jar, measuring cup, or gravy separator. Remove cooked vegetables from the pan and discard.
  3. Pour 6 tablespoons of the grease back into the roasting pan, place on the stove over medium-low heat, and deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom.
  4. Whisk in the flour, and continue cooking over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking constantly.
    Add the broth all at once and bring to a slow boil, whisking the mixture constantly until it starts to thicken.
  5. By now, the turkey drippings in the glass container should have separated. Using a turkey baster, add 1/2 cup of the dark drippings from the bottom of the jar, trying not to include the grease on the top.
  6. If the gravy isn’t thick enough, in a separate container, whisk together 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of hot water. Whisk this paste into the gravy.
  7. Keep warm over medium-low heat until ready to serve.


How to truss a turkey: Start with the twine under the back of the turkey and bring it over the wings, cross it and take it under the legs and back around to tie the legs together, with one crossed over the other at the end.

  • Author: Adapted from "A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®" by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: Thanksgiving, cooking tips
  • Method: Make ahead
  • Cuisine: American