Slow-Roasted Turkey

"The turkey comes out moist and golden - with no effort on your part. Slow-roasting keeps the juices in. It is nearly impossible to over-bake, because the temperature is so low. The secret is NOT basting or salting. Basting or salting draws out moisture and dries out the turkey. IMPORTANT: Plan ahead: Thaw turkey in refrigerator for 1 day per 4-5 lbs, (For faster thawing, you could thaw in cold water. Change the water frequently.) Allow 1 hour per lb + 1 hour to cook - i.e. total: 21 hours for 20-lb turkey."
photo by Tina L. photo by Tina L.
photo by Tina L.
Ready In:
21hrs 10mins
20 slices


  • 20 lbs turkey, thawed
  • 12 cup salad oil


  • Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.While oven is heating, wash turkey in cold water, removing giblets, neck, tail and any pinfeathers.
  • Rub oil over all sides of turkey.and place turkey in uncovered roasting pan in oven.
  • Bake for 1 hours at 300 degrees to kill bacteria. Then lower oven heat to 180 degrees (desired internal temperature). Bake for remaining 20 hours.
  • If wings or thighs begin to brown too fast, wrap them with foil. About 2 hours before time to serve the turkey, check for doneness. If necessary, raise the oven heat to 350 degrees to finish cooking or browning.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Deborah V.
    Dose this work with a stuffed turkey? Do you add broth to the pan? Can I put butter under the skin? Lastly, I have a 27 lb. turkey, can I do this method in half the time? Ex. I need it done by 11AM, can I roast it for 12 hrs. using these directions?
  2. Piper J.
    Can someone tell me what salad oil is? Olive oil? If I don't have salad oil, what is the next best thing? Thanks!
  3. John P.
    300deg works out to be only 130deg on a fan oven and 180deg is about 90deg is this correct ? Seems very low
  4. Brian P.
    I have a 12 pound turkey how long would it take is it 1 hour per pound
  5. debbiemirwald418
    I really want to try to slow roast our turkey this year! Please answer a couple questions I’m having a little trouble with 1. no basting the turkey at all? 2. You don’t cover it at all? 3. Do you not season it except for oil all over? I have made a few turkeys over the years that have turned out pretty good but thinking slow roasting will be something different!! Im glad I found your website!! Thank you!!


  1. bbkelley
    The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline is very clear about safety issues when roasting a turkey. First, you do not wash the turkey as cross contamination can occur when raw juices spill onto other foods or splash on surfaces. Secondly the oven temperature should be set NO LOWER THAN 325F degrees. At lower temperatures, it takes the turkey too long to get through the 'danger zone', a period in which at low temperatures bacteria can grow RAPIDLY and produce heat resistant toxins which will NOT be killed during the cooking or reheating process.
  2. dogsnkid
    This is the first time we've tried the low and slow approach to roasting a turkey, and it will be the only way we will roast a turkey from now on! The skin was crisp and golden, the meat was firm, moist and tender. We quite honestly, have never had a better turkey! Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe!
  3. No9614
    Question - would this work in an Roaster? It's covered. Thanks.
  4. vtbarnards
    What about stuffing?
  5. Jens Gems
    Best turkey ever! I've been cooking turkeys this way for over 10 years now and there is no comparison if you want a moist, tender turkey! Turn the oven to a higher temp at the end for a nice brown color, but it's not necessary if you just slice and serve.



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