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Roast Turkey Recipe


Roast turkey recipe

Roast turkey recipe.

Barry Wong / Getty Images

Roast Turkey Recipe

Roasted turkey can be dry. There are a lot of reasons for this, but if you're going to roast a whole turkey, the best way to do it is to brine it first, and then roast it slowly, at a low temperature. Here's the lowdown on how to roast a turkey.

Note: For this recipe, we'll be roasting the turkey at 325°F. For a 15-pound turkey, total roasting time will be about 4½ hours. For larger turkeys, add about 15 minutes for each additional pound.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Brining time: 8 hours

Total Time: 13 hours, 30 minutes


  • One 15-pound turkey, fresh or fully thawed, giblets removed.
  • One gallon cold water (refrigerated overnight)
  • One gallon fresh water
  • 2 cups Kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp whole allspice
  • 8 cups ice
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 whole orange
  • 1 whole apple
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil, as needed


The day before:
  1. In a large stockpot, combine the fresh water (not the refrigerated water), along with the Kosher salt, brown sugar, whole peppercorns and allspice. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

  2. In a 5-gallon bucket, combine the cooled brine, the refrigerated water and the ice. Carefully lower the turkey into the brine, with the breasts facing down. You might have to weight the turkey down with something heavy to keep it submerged. Transfer the whole bucket to the fridge and leave it there for eight hours or overnight.
The day of:
  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F.

  2. Remove the turkey from the brine. Drain any excess liquid, rinse the turkey in cold water, then dry it inside and out with paper towels. Discard the brine.

  3. Rub the outside of the turkey with oil, and season it inside and out with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  4. Cut the orange and the apple in half and place them inside the body cavity of the turkey, along with the sage and thyme. If you like, you can reserve a few of the sage leaves and insert them under the skin of the breasts.

  5. Use a piece of cooking twine to truss the legs together and tie the the wings close to the body so they don't burn.

  6. Insert a probe thermometer with an alarm into the deepest part of the thigh, and set the alert for 170°F. Place the turkey to a roasting pan with a rack and transfer it to the oven.

  7. Roast for 4 to 4½ hours. When the thermometer reaches 170°F, take the turkey out of the oven, but leave the probe thermometer in. Cover the turkey with foil and wait for the temperature of the thigh to reach 180°F. This should take about 20 minutes.
Also see: How to Carve a Turkey

Tip: About 30 minutes before the turkey is done, add some mirepoix (cut up carrots, celery and onions) to the pan underneath the roasting rack. These vegetables will add flavor to the pan drippings which you can then use for making gravy.
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