How to Roast a Turkey

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic
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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! 

Pressure Cooker Turkey Breast Photo

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.

Roasted Turkey Picture

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!

Roasted Turkey Image

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!

Instant Pot Turkey Breast with Carrots and Homemade Gravy Pic

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.

Roasted Turkey Photo

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. 

Instant Pot Turkey Breast with Carrots and Homemade Gravy Picture

More turkey tips

How to Carve a Turkey

How to Thaw a Turkey (with tips for speeding up the process!)

How to Cook Turkey Breast in a Pressure Cooker

Turkey Recipes

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    Why go to the deli when you can make a pressure cooker turkey breast at home? Slice it thin and you can have delicious turkey sandwiches all week long!
    Everything Avocado Turkey Bagel Sandwiches are the loaded lunch that you have been dreaming of this week. Flavorful everything bagels are piled high with meat, avocado, roasted tomatoes, and a chipotle cream cheese that brings the creamy spice. It’s my new bae(gal).
    Leftover Thanksgiving Enchiladas take your leftover turkey to a whole new level of flavor. The unique combination of turkey, sweet potato, black beans, and cranberries makes for a savory and tangy filling for the spicy dish. It’s the best way to keep Thanksgiving going throughout the weekend!
    Celebrate the holidays with ease with my delicious and easy recipe for Instant Pot Turkey Breast with Carrots and Homemade Gravy. Or make it any day you’re craving a turkey dinner!
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