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How To Roast A Turkey, as seen on Taste of Southern. Printable recipe.

How To Roast A Turkey

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours
  • Yield: Varies, according to beginning weight.
  • Category: Main Dish, Turkey
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Follow step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions to learn just how easy it is to roast a Turkey in your oven. No brine is involved, and you can do many of the steps ahead of time to make it even easier. You’ll have your turkey in and out of the oven in plenty of time to finish off those other favorite side dishes without all the last minute rush.



  • 1 Whole Turkey, thawed (Mine is 12 ½ lbs)
  • 1 stick Butter
  • Salt


One day prior to cooking your turkey.

  1. Remove thawed turkey from refrigerator and place in clean sink.
  2. Remove the turkey from its packaging.
  3. Remove any strings or bands that might be on the turkey legs.
  4. Remove the neck and giblets from the body cavity. Do not discard.
  5. Rinse the turkey well, inside and out, under cold running water.
  6. Pat the turkey dry with several folded paper towels.
  7. Salt the turkey generously, inside and out, on all sides.
  8. Save and refrigerate all the giblet pieces and neck bone for making giblet gravy later.
  9. Place turkey in a roasting pan.
  10. Place the uncovered turkey in the refrigerator overnight. (This helps dry the skin.)
  11. Be sure to thoroughly clean your utensils, sink, and all exposed surfaces.
  12. Sanitize with a solution of Bleach and water.

On cooking day, 2 hours before roasting time.

  1. Remove turkey and stick of butter from refrigerator.
  2. Let sit, uncovered on your counter top for one hour.

After one hour…

  1. Rub a layer of butter all over the outside of the turkey, massage it in good.
  2. Place remaining butter in turkey cavity.
  3. Roll up several pieces of aluminum foil to keep turkey off bottom of roasting pan if you don’t have wire racks or a regular roasting pan.
  4. Let buttered turkey sit long enough to preheat the oven good and hot, about 20 minutes longer.

Roast the turkey.

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Place roasting pan on lower rack in oven.
  3. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes at this 425ºF temperature.
  4. Roasting at high temperature to start will help the skin brown much better.
  5. REDUCE heat to 325º
  6. Roast the turkey based on the amount of time listed for the weight of your turkey. See the chart.
  7. About every hour, baste the turkey with juices from the roasting pan. Also, rotate the pan in the oven after basting to allow for more even roasting.
  8. Roast the turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF, measured in the thigh.
  9. Test for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. Thermometer should not be touching the bone.
  10. If turkey begins to brown before it gets done, make a tent from aluminum foil and cover the bird.
  11. Remove from oven just as soon as the internal temperature of the bird reaches 165ºF.
  12. The turkey will continue to cook and increase in temperature once it’s removed from the oven.
  13. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and transfer the turkey to your serving platter.
  14. Let the turkey rest 45-60 minutes before carving and serving. This helps retain moisture.
  15. Enjoy!


Be sure to consult the cooking chart for the needed amount of cooking time for your turkey based on the actual weight of the bird.

Keywords: How To Roast A Turkey Recipe, made from scratch, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Holidays, southern recipes