Simple, perfect 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.

Syd

Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
cook:
4 hrs
total:
4 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
24
Yield:
24 servings
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Ingredients

24
Original recipe yields 24 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Place rack in the lowest position of the oven.

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  • Remove the turkey neck and giblets, rinse the turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in the roasting pan. Loosely fill the body cavity with stuffing. Rub the skin with the softened butter, and season with salt and pepper. Position an aluminum foil tent over the turkey.

  • Place turkey in the oven, and pour 2 cups turkey stock into the bottom of the roasting pan. Baste all over every 30 minutes with the juices on the bottom of the pan. Whenever the drippings evaporate, add stock to moisten them, about 1 to 2 cups at a time. Remove aluminum foil after 2 1/2 hours. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F (75 degrees C), about 4 hours.

  • Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, and let it stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

Editor's Note:

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

663 calories; protein 72.2g 145% DV; carbohydrates 13.7g 4% DV; fat 33.8g 52% DV; cholesterol 211.4mg 71% DV; sodium 709.5mg 28% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (377)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
11/14/2010
This is the turkey recipe I used when I roasted my first-ever 19lb bird three years ago. It turned out perfectly then and has every year since. My version calls for placing the turkey on a v-shaped rack in the roasting pan. This allows air to circulate under the bird and should address any issues related to the bottom not cooking as thoroughly as the top or being soggy. I have never had to turn the bird over. Other hints: truss the wings under the bird with baking string or wrap in aluminum foil to keep from over-browning. For the rest of the turkey, I place the aluminum foil tightly over the breast-portion only. Then, I remove the foil on the breast 1 hour before the bird is done (my 19lb birds, stuffed, tend to roast in about 5 hours, so I remove at the 4 hour mark). The breast is always beautifully brown and not overdone; very juicy! Baste as directed (every 30 minutes) with turkey or chicken stock. When you check the temperature, be sure you're not hitting the bone; keep it in the fleshy part of the thigh meat. I also check the internal temperature of the stuffing to ensure it's at 160. Standing time is *important.* I rest mine at least 30 minutes, up to 45. It won't get cold--keeps it juicy! I use good quality boxed or homemade chicken stock instead of turkey stock. This is such an easy recipe. You don't need to over-think it or second-guess it. It's worked for me every single time. And...the drippings make delicious pan gravy! Enjoy! Read More
(1166)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
11/27/2006
This was my first attempt at a turkey and I'm sure I must have done something wrong but I can't figure it out. I had a 16 lb turkey and followed this recipe exactly. I even set a timer to baste every 30 minutes as instructed. The turkey "looked" perfect like out of a movie or something. However after 5 1/2 hours of cooking this turkey was still not totally cooked. Read More
(50)
532 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 462
  • 4 star values: 54
  • 3 star values: 11
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 3
Rating: 5 stars
11/14/2010
This is the turkey recipe I used when I roasted my first-ever 19lb bird three years ago. It turned out perfectly then and has every year since. My version calls for placing the turkey on a v-shaped rack in the roasting pan. This allows air to circulate under the bird and should address any issues related to the bottom not cooking as thoroughly as the top or being soggy. I have never had to turn the bird over. Other hints: truss the wings under the bird with baking string or wrap in aluminum foil to keep from over-browning. For the rest of the turkey, I place the aluminum foil tightly over the breast-portion only. Then, I remove the foil on the breast 1 hour before the bird is done (my 19lb birds, stuffed, tend to roast in about 5 hours, so I remove at the 4 hour mark). The breast is always beautifully brown and not overdone; very juicy! Baste as directed (every 30 minutes) with turkey or chicken stock. When you check the temperature, be sure you're not hitting the bone; keep it in the fleshy part of the thigh meat. I also check the internal temperature of the stuffing to ensure it's at 160. Standing time is *important.* I rest mine at least 30 minutes, up to 45. It won't get cold--keeps it juicy! I use good quality boxed or homemade chicken stock instead of turkey stock. This is such an easy recipe. You don't need to over-think it or second-guess it. It's worked for me every single time. And...the drippings make delicious pan gravy! Enjoy! Read More
(1166)
Rating: 5 stars
11/21/2006
OH MY GOSH... what a shock to see my secret recipe on the internet... lol. I've always done my turkey mostly this way. I also put butter under the skin as some reviewers do... and use chicken broth. Oh!! and big ol chunks of onions and celery around under and in the bird. But (I don't recommend this method) I put my bird in on 250 degrees late late Wednesday night... don't baste at all get up early and remove foil baste REALLY well turn up the heat to 375 until brown basting often. Always excellent!! Frees up my oven we wake up to the smell of Thanksgiving and it really sets a great mood for the day. Have done this for years!! Read More
(615)
Rating: 5 stars
12/22/2003
I used this recipe for our Thanksgiving turkey and my family loved it! I put 1/4 cup of butter between the breast meat and the skin, then after each basting I brushed the entire turkey with melted butter. Not the greatest method for calorie counting, but I've never had a turkey so moist. It was incredible! Read More
(579)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/20/2006
I made this turkey last year for my first ever attempt at Thanksgiving. It was so juicy that we barely recognized it as turkey! One tip for those who don't have a roasting rack and want to avoid the sogginess that is mentioned, place the turkey on top of whole carrots. The carrots will keep the turkey above the broth, and this way you can use a disposable aluminum roaster. I followed the recipie to a T last year, but this year I'm going to add some citrus in the cavity and some lemon zest and parsely to the butter. This is a great recipie as is, but it is so simple that its easy to add your own flair. The broth in the bottom is really what gets the amazing results! Read More
(264)
Rating: 5 stars
11/26/2005
This is a great recipe to follow for a traditional turkey for the holidays. I never used stock in the bottom of the pan before and it added great flavor to the gravy. I have been making turkey for T-day for 27 years now. I suggest the following additions: choose a fresh turkey, rub softened butter under the skin of the turkey breast too, and put the turkey in the oven @ 425 for the first 1/2 to 1 hour (especially if it is right out of the fridge, or plan on adding cooking time). Read More
(263)
Rating: 5 stars
11/22/2010
This is a great method. As stated in other reviews, definitely cover only the breast portion of the Turkey, and remove an hour before cooking time is finished. One helpful tip is to be sure loosen the skin from the breast, and actually place mayonnaise inside. I found that adding your seasonings and herbs, like sage, paprika, and garlic to mayo helps them to "stick" to the bird better while cooking - it creates such beautiful, brown skin, also. I don't like to have to keep opening my oven and basting a turkey. Every time you open your oven, you can lose up to 20 degrees of heat! To get around this, I peel, core, and slice 1 apple (any variety that I have lying around) and slide the slices under the skin as well. The sweetness of the apple, as it roasts under the skin, handsomely offsets the saltiness, keeps the breast moist, and basting at a minimum. I still baste once or twice, with the drippings that accumulate in the roasting pan, but not nearly as often as I did in previous years. My turkey was excellent, and the gravy was wonderful. Also, If you don't want to stuff the turkey with stuffing, place it in a separate pan to cook, and use turkey stock to moisten. That way, you can fill your cavity with quartered onions, more sliced apples, and celery, adding additional moisture inside, and enhancing the drippings and flavor outside. Hope this helps! Read More
(213)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/08/2004
Made this last night. Make sure that you put a bit of butter between the skin and the meat...like another reviewer suggested and don't forget to baste the turkey. It turned out wonderful and so moist. This is definatly a great basic and easy turkey recipe. Thanks for the post. Read More
(125)
Rating: 5 stars
12/18/2005
If you want a moist bird this is the recipe you've been looking for. EASY & JUICY. Thanks Read More
(101)
Rating: 5 stars
09/17/2006
I love turkey. Most of the time turkey is dry not this one. Read More
(69)
Rating: 3 stars
11/27/2006
This was my first attempt at a turkey and I'm sure I must have done something wrong but I can't figure it out. I had a 16 lb turkey and followed this recipe exactly. I even set a timer to baste every 30 minutes as instructed. The turkey "looked" perfect like out of a movie or something. However after 5 1/2 hours of cooking this turkey was still not totally cooked. Read More
(50)
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