Learn how to roast a turkey to perfection - plus discover the extra step to take BEFORE it goes into the oven to add flavor and improve the texture
Have you ever experienced the disappointment of cutting into a roasted turkey that looks and smells amazing... but turns out to be dry, bland and boring? Then this article is for you!
Here we'll explain how to properly brine and cook your turkey - the two important steps to creating the most succulent and juicy roasted turkey you have ever made!
The benefits of brining your turkey
You may have never considered brining your turkey prior to roasting, but it helps add flavor and moisture to your bird, which is then retained during the cooking process.
To brine a turkey, you will need:
• Some sort of liquid: plain water, apple juice, bone broth, apple cider vinegar, etc
• Salt: typically, ½ or 1/3 cup per gallon of water, depending on your salt preference
• Spices: this is completely up to you! Typically, garlic, lemon, pepper and thyme are all great additions.
You will need an airtight container that's big enough to store the turkey while it brines, but that will also fit into your fridge.
Simply add all of your brine ingredients and the turkey to the container, seal or cover, and allow to brine for at least 24 hours, but no longer than 48 hours.
Read our full artice about How to Brine a Turkey for more tips, including how to 'dry brine' if you don't have enough space in your fridge to use the method above.
How to roast a turkey
Now we are onto the main event – roasting your turkey to perfection!
Make sure, if you haven’t already, that the 'giblets' (the extras found in the cavity) have been removed. It is always a good idea to save the turkey neck to keep in the bottom of the roasting pan, as it helps create a rich gravy.
Tuck the turkey’s wing tips by bending them behind its back, which will help stop them from burning.
Tie the legs together at the ends using some twine.
Rub the outside of the turkey with butter or olive oil. Even though you have brined your turkey, always season again with aromatics and stuff the inside cavity with aromatics of your choice – garlic and onions always work well!
Add chopped vegetables, like carrots, celery and onion to the bottom of your roasting tray. If you have fresh spices to hand, like sage, rosemary or thyme, add them to your pan; if not, dried herbs work well too.
Place a roasting rack on top of the veggies and then place the turkey onto the rack.
Cooking times do vary, but a general rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Basting is not essential - brining rather than basting is the key to moist turkey with crispy skin.
Roast your turkey until your meat thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thickest part of its thigh; the juices should also be clear.
Once your turkey is cooked, make sure you rest it before slicing it!
Tilt the turkey so that any juices caught in the cavity go into the tray and move the turkey to a carving board.
To make cleaning up easier, place the board into a large, rimmed baking tray to catch the juices. Now, tent the bird in foil and allow it to rest for 30 minutes before carving it.
More turkey tips
How to Thaw a Turkey (with tips for speeding up the process!)