Whether you’re roasting a whole turkey for the first time, or just need your yearly refresher, this guide will help you through the steps to a perfect turkey: Crispy skin, tender meat, and so delicious you’ll wonder why you waited a year to eat it again. This is the easiest, simplest way to roast a turkey.
This method will work with any turkey: Big or small, brined or not, free-range or otherwise. Cooking times will vary, but the basic technique will be the same. For reference, the turkey in the photos was an 18-pound turkey from Wal-mart.
Turkey Recipe Cheat-Sheet
- How big of a turkey do I need? The rule of thumb is to buy 1 to 1 ½ pounds of turkey for each guest.
- How long to cook the turkey? 12 minutes of cooking time for each pound of turkey if roasting empty and 15 minutes per pound if stuffed.
- What temperature to cook the turkey? Preheat the oven to 350°F then put the turkey into the oven.
- What temperature should the turkey be when done? The turkey is done when it registers a minimum of 165° in the thickest part of the thigh.
- How long to rest the turkey? Rest the turkey for at least 15-30 minutes before carving.
How to Safely Thaw a Frozen Turkey
Be sure to let your turkey completely thaw before cooking. The best way is to loosen the wrapping and place the turkey on a baking sheet (Do not remove the wrapping, just cut off the net bag it is in), then thaw in the refrigerator.
How Long to Thaw a Turkey
A frozen turkey needs 24 hours thawing time for every five pounds of turkey. So for my 18lb turkey, it thawed for 3 days and approximately 72hrs. For quicker thawing, place the turkey in a cold water bath (it is not safe to thaw a turkey with warm water) and change the water every 30 minutes until it’s thawed — about a half-hour per pound.
Roasting a Turkey
- 1 stick Butter
- 16-18 lb Turkey
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan.
- Using ¾ of the stick of butter, cut approximately ⅛inch sections.
- Using a spoon lift the skin on the turkey and stuff some butter all around.
- With the remaining ¼ of butter use it to rub all around the skin of the turkey.
- Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
- Roast the turkey for about 3 to 3 ½ hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh.
- Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 15-30 minutes before cutting and serving