Here’s an easy recipe and tips for how to roast a turkey! This is the best roast turkey recipe ever and everyone raves about how moist and delicious it is!
How To Roast A Turkey
If you don’t know how to roast a turkey, you’re going to love this super easy roast turkey recipe! There are only 2 ingredients and it takes just 5 minutes to prepare. Then it can roast in the oven overnight and will be perfectly juicy, moist and delicious just in time for your holiday meal!
I will actually be sharing 2 turkey recipes with you today. Both of them make wonderfully tasty and juicy Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey. The reason I’ll share 2 recipes is that the easiest turkey tastes amazing but is so fall off the bone tender that it does not have the crispy top traditional Christmas movie look.
The second recipe is also very delicious, but also has the classic crispy top look, in case you’re trying to wow your extended family with your Thanksgiving turkey roasting prowess! It’s slightly more time-consuming to prepare, but just as tasty!
Either way, you’re sure to have a juicy and delicious roast turkey!
If you choose the first recipe, the super easy turkey recipe, you can pretty much spend 5 minutes prepping it and then put it in the oven and leave it alone until it is done. The only extra work is turning down the temperature after an hour.
If you choose the second (slightly more complicated) recipe, be sure to baste regularly according to the recipe directions or the turkey will get dry. Also, be sure to add the water to the pan as directed if you start to run out of juices for basting to make sure that the turkey stays nice and moist.
Be Sure To Allow Sufficient Time To Thaw The Turkey!
Sometimes turkeys do not cook properly because they don’t get thawed. It is super important to properly thaw your turkey before you try to roast it. If you don’t thaw it ahead of time, you might find that it gets overly cooked on the outside and is still raw or undercooked in the middle. That would obviously not be good, so if necessary, set a reminder or write “thaw turkey” on the calendar so you don’t forget!
You need to allow 1 day of thawing time for every 4 lbs. of turkey. You can keep a thawed turkey in the fridge for at least 3-4 days, so if it is done thawing a little bit early, it won’t hurt anything. Thaw your turkey with the breast side down so the juices will run into the breast. (The turkey breast is the thick part of the meat that is usually on the top.)
Buy Whole Turkeys Around Holidays While They Are On Sale
Turkey isn’t expensive at all, especially around the holidays so stock up now. I got two turkeys today for $.39/lb. I had the butcher cut them in half just like last year and the year before!
If you haven’t heard of cutting them in half, you can often ask a butcher to cut a turkey in half and wrap the two halves separately. Normally, each half would be closer to the size of a chicken, so you can serve it in place of chicken for any normal size meal. We have a stand up freezer so I often buy extra turkeys when they are on sale. You can stock up during the holidays when turkey is cheap, serve turkey in place of chicken and save a bundle on your food bill!
How To Roast A No Fail Turkey!
This first recipe is my mom Jill’s roast turkey recipe. It is the one we all make the most often because of how super easy and delicious it is! It is a no-fail turkey recipe that literally only takes 5 minutes to prepare.
The secret to why this is a no-fail turkey recipe is that it is slow-cooked at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time, resulting in a perfectly moist and juicy turkey with very little work. Mom only uses this turkey recipe and I use this one most often because it is so easy.
Because this recipe calls for cooking the turkey upside down, the turkey meat ends up so tender that it falls off the bone without cutting. For this reason, you will want to serve this turkey already carved. If you have never cooked a turkey before or if you just like things to be as easy as possible and still taste great, this is the recipe for you.
This first roast turkey recipe does not have the traditional crispy top that you see in the movies, but it is amazingly delicious! If you really prefer to have a turkey that has the classic crispy top look, the roast sticky turkey recipe below can’t be beat.
Both recipes are juicy, tender and delicious! The biggest differences are that the super easy one is almost no work and the roast sticky turkey recipe requires more work but has the picture perfect crispy skin.
A Few Notes About Turkey Safety
Some people are concerned about roasting turkey this way because of the lower baking temperature of this recipe but it is perfectly safe if you start at 250° and then turn down to 200° after an hour. When it is finished, the internal temperature at the thigh should be 180° or higher.
Like chicken, you need to be sure to wash your hands after handling raw turkey before touching other things so you don’t contaminate surfaces and other foods.
Some people like to rinse their turkeys before cooking them, but we don’t recommend it. Rinsing is not necessary and can actually increase the likelihood of spreading dangerous bacteria everywhere as the water can carry germs to nearby surfaces. Cooking your turkey at the proper temperatures will kill harmful bacteria and as I like to say, no self-respecting germ would survive!
No-Fail Turkey Recipe – Super Easy!
This easy no-fail turkey recipe makes the best turkey you will ever eat! It is super tasty, moist and tender! The meat will just fall off the bones so you will have to serve it already carved. It will be very juicy and moist.
1 turkey, 20-22 lbs.
1 stick margarine or butter
- Defrost frozen turkey for several days in the refrigerator according to the directions on the package.
- Preheat oven to 250°.
- Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil.
- Remove the insides of the turkey and save for giblet gravy or for fried livers and gizzards.
- Lay turkey, breast side down, in the pan.
- Place the stick of butter on the inside.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Bake at 250° for 1 hour.
- Reduce heat to 200° and roast for 10-15 hours. Cooking time can be longer to fit your schedule. Test with a meat thermometer to make sure the temperature in the thigh is 180°.
If I have a 20-22 lb. turkey, I put it in the oven one hour before I go to bed (that way I can turn it down to 200° and sometimes I go down to 180° before I go to bed.) It will be done by noon the next day. Because it cooks at such a low temperature, if you aren’t going to eat until 1-2 PM, it will stay just fine in the oven until then.
If I have a smaller 10 lb. turkey, I put it in the oven early on Thanksgiving morning (about 6 or 7 AM in order to eat at noon. You don’t need to worry too much about it getting done. An hour or two before the meal, check it and see how it is doing. If it isn’t cooking quickly enough, you can always raise the temperature to 350°.
If you use a smaller 10 -12 lb turkey, you only need to use half of a stick (about 4 Tbsp.) of butter. You can also place it in a large crockpot on low.
Other Recipes That Go Great With Roast Turkey!
Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes – Dinner For 10 For Less Than $25! – Mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing, Sweet Potato Pie and More!
Easy Pie Recipes! 20 Of The Best Homemade Pie Recipes! (Oh YUM!!) – Apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, no-bake cheesecake and lots more!!
Dairy Free Gluten Free Thanksgiving Dinner! Easy Gluten Free Thanksgiving Recipes! I have to eat gluten free, so I adapted these Thanksgiving recipes to be gluten free!
25 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes And Ideas – Making the most of what is left!
These Roast Turkey Recipes Are In Volume 1 of Our Cookbook:
Click here to get our Dining On A Dime Cookbooks 25% Off NOW! They’re filled with tasty recipes and tips to make your life easier!
How To Roast A Prettier Turkey (with a little more work)
Here is another super delicious roast turkey recipe! If you want to know how to roast a turkey that is picture perfect with the crispy skin like you see in the classic movies, then this is the recipe for you. It takes a little bit more work than the super easy recipe above, but it’s still fairly easy and definitely delicious!
This recipe takes a little bit longer to prepare, but still not more than 10 minutes. In order to keep the crispy top from drying out and burning, you have to base it every 30-45 minutes as it bakes, which is easy but requires more of your attention than Mom’s turkey recipe above.
(If you haven’t done it before, basting a turkey is easy. You just pull the turkey partway out of the oven, spoon the juices over the top to keep it moistened and then slide it back into the oven until the next basting.)
The BEST Roast Sticky Turkey Recipe!
This easy roast sticky turkey recipe is a great way to roast a turkey! It is very easy to make and makes a great deli style turkey. The meat comes out very moist and flavorful. It also makes wonderful leftovers!
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 stick butter
1 20 lb. turkey
1 cup chopped onion or 1 sliced orange
- Combine all of the spices.
- Remove the giblets from the turkey.
- Rub the spice mixture into the turkey, both inside and out, making sure it is evenly distributed and down deep into the skin.
- Place the stick of butter in the cavity.
- Place the seasoned turkey into a turkey roasting pan.
- Seal with foil and refrigerate overnight.
- When you’re ready to roast the turkey, preheat the oven to 250°.
- Stuff the cavity with onions or oranges.
- Roast, uncovered, at 250 degrees for 8-10 hours.
- After the first hour, baste the turkey with pan juices every half hour to 45 minutes. If you don’t have enough juices to baste after 3 hours, add 1 cup of water to the pan.
- The turkey will be golden to dark brown with caramelized juices on the bottom. Let the turkey rest about 10 minutes before carving.