How to Roast a Turkey
Don't let turkey's star status intimidate you — follow this guide to create the hit of your holiday table.
Cooking a turkey takes time but not much effort. These easy steps will give you the know-how you need to perfectly roast a turkey.
Gather the Ingredients
What you'll need: 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, a whole lemon, one lemon's juice and zest, a bunch of thyme plus one teaspoon chopped, a head of garlic, an onion, salt and pepper, and of course, a freshly thawed whole 10 - 12 pound turkey.
Make the Basting Mixture
Preheat your oven to 350° F and melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the zest and juice of a lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set melted butter mixture aside.
Rinse the Turkey
Remove the giblets and neck out of the turkey cavity. Rinse the turkey with cold water inside and out, removing any excess fat and leftover pin feathers. Dry the turkey by patting it with paper towels and place it in a large roasting pan.
If you purchased a frozen turkey, allow about 5 hours of thawing per pound.
Stuff the Turkey
Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with thyme, a halved lemon, a quartered onion and garlic.
Brush & Tie the Turkey
Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter/thyme basting mixture and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with ktichen string and tuck the wingtips under the body of the turkey.
Cook the Turkey
Roast your turkey for 15 minutes per pound, or until a thermometer, which should be inserted in the thickest part of the breast, registers 160° F. Baste with the butter/thyme mixture every 30 minutes.
Allow the Turkey to Rest
Remove the turkey from the oven and cover it with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Resting the turkey redistributes the juices throughout the meat and allows the temperature of the breast to rise to 165° F.
Be sure to reserve the drippings in the pan and the foil if you want to make homemade gravy.