A Simply Perfect Roast Turkey


Simple roast turkey just like grandma used to make. Seasoned with salt and pepper and basted with turkey stock, the flavors of the turkey really stand out. Stuff with your favorite dressing.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
4 hrs
Additional Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 45 mins

Nothing screams "Thanksgiving" quite like a picturesque roast turkey worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting. Believe it or not, an impossibly gorgeous holiday table of your dreams is within reach — learn exactly how to roast a turkey with this easy recipe.

Overhead view of a whole simply perfect roast turkey served on a platter surrounded by fresh herbs.
Allrecipes Magazine

Roast Turkey Ingredients

You need just five ingredients to make this top-rated roast turkey recipe:

This recipe calls for an 18-pound whole turkey.

You'll need eight cups of prepared stuffing. Use store-bought or try one of our best recipes for homemade stuffing.

Salted butter, rubbed onto the skin, ensures a juicy roast turkey every time.

Salt and Pepper
This roast turkey is simply seasoned with just salt and pepper. Of course, you can add more spices to suit your taste.

Turkey Stock
The bird is cooked in and basted with store-bought or homemade turkey stock.

How to Roast a Turkey

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's what you can expect when you make this top-rated roast turkey:

Prepare the Turkey

Remove the turkey neck and giblets. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels, then place it (breast-side up) on a rack in a roasting pan.

Stuff and Season the Turkey

Fill the cavity with stuffing. Rub the skin with butter, then season with salt and pepper. Pour two cups of stock into the roasting pan and loosely tent the turkey with foil.

Roast the Turkey

Roast, basting with stock every 30 minutes, for about two and half hours. Add more stock as the drippings evaporate. Remove the foil and continue roasting until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F.

How Long to Roast a Turkey

The 18-pound turkey is roasted for about four hours at 325 degrees F. If your turkey is larger or smaller than 18 pounds, you'll have to adjust the cooking time. Learn more in our Turkey Cooking Time Guide.

Do You Need a Roaster?

Nope! While an electric roaster is certainly nice to have, this recipe was developed for the oven.

Roast Turkey Temperature

You'll know your roast turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F.

Learn more: How to Check the Temperature of a Turkey

More Turkey FAQs

a golden brown stuffed turkey in a roasting pan

Here at Allrecipes, we know a thing or two about cooking the perfect Thanksgiving feast — that's why we've made it our mission to answer your most burning turkey questions. Check out some of our best turkey tips, tricks, and guides from over the years:

· How to Brine a Turkey
· 3 Ways to Safely Thaw a Frozen Turkey
· How Much Turkey Per Person Do You Need?
· How to Truss a Turkey the Easy Way
· How to Smoke a Turkey
· How to Carve a Turkey the Easy Way

Explore our entire collection of Thanksgiving Tips and Tricks.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"This was so easy, but the results were so delicious," raves Heather. "My guests all raved about how juicy the turkey was. The only thing I did differently was put butter under the skin as well as on top."

"This turned out great," says Thalia31883. "I added seasoning to the butter before I massaged it into the turkey. First time I ever made a turkey and it turned out wonderfully brown and the meat was incredibly moist. I'll definitely make this again!"

"I used this recipe for my first ever turkey, and it turned out beautifully," says RachelW. "Golden brown, juicy and moist. It was a big hit, everyone was super impressed. I used the suggestion of placing it on a rack, which really helped keep the bottom from becoming soggy."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


  • 1 (18 pound) whole turkey

  • 8 cups prepared stuffing

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 ½ quarts turkey stock, divided


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Place a rack in the lowest position of the oven.

  2. Remove turkey neck and giblets. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels.

  3. Place turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Loosely fill turkey cavity with stuffing. Rub skin with butter, then season with salt and pepper.

  4. Pour 2 cups of turkey stock into the roasting pan. Loosely tent turkey with aluminum foil.

  5. Roast turkey for 2 1/2 hours, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes. When drippings evaporate, add remaining stock to the pan, 1 to 2 cups at a time.

  6. Remove foil and continue roasting until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 165 degrees F (75 degrees C), about 1 1/2 hours more.

  7. Transfer turkey to a large serving platter. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

    Turkey being carved on a large platter
    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Editor's Notes:

Roasting time will depend on the size of your turkey. Learn more in our Turkey Cooking Time Guide.

Please note the exclusion of stuffing and the addition of fresh rosemary and sage when using the magazine version of this recipe.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

663 Calories
34g Fat
14g Carbs
72g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 24
Calories 663
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 34g 43%
Saturated Fat 10g 52%
Cholesterol 211mg 70%
Sodium 710mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 72g
Vitamin C 4mg 20%
Calcium 82mg 6%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 794mg 17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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