Our Best Roast Turkey

Use our roasted turkey recipe for turkey with amazing flavor, soft and tender meat, and crispy skin. We highly recommend it to anyone preparing a turkey, especially for Thanksgiving!

Watch the Video

Best Roast Turkey Recipe Video

Related: For smaller gatherings, use our recipe for herb roasted turkey breast.

Thanksgiving Turkey Timeline

If you are like us, you don’t roast many turkeys throughout the year. Most of us really only roast them around the holiday season.

Here’s our timeline for thawing, brining, and roasting a turkey. I will use Thursday as our goal since that’s how Thanksgiving falls in the US, but you can move the days around to fit your intended roasting day.

This timeline assumes a thawed turkey. I’ve shared our tips for thawing turkey below.

  • Monday: Brine the turkey — yep, we brine turkey and love it (highly recommended for flavor and texture!)
  • Wednesday night: Remove turkey from brine, and air-dry in the refrigerator overnight (for best crispy skin)
  • Thursday: Roast the turkey, allowing approximately 14 minutes per pound, in an oven preheated to 325°F (162° C). See below for the best roasted turkey we made in a long time.

How to Thaw a Whole Turkey

To safely thaw a turkey, do it in the refrigerator. Plan on 24 hours in the fridge for every four to five pounds of turkey. A 15-pound turkey will take three to four days to thaw. So, for a 15-pound turkey, you would begin thawing the Thursday before Thanksgiving.

To speed up thawing, you can thaw it in cold water — allow 30 minutes of thawing per pound of turkey. Change the cold water every 30 minutes, and if your turkey is not completely covered, rotate it every 30 minutes to keep it chilled. A well-insulated cooler is helpful for this.

Use This Garlic Herb Butter for the Best Turkey

We don’t roast turkey very often, but when we do, we go all in and use homemade turkey butter made with lots of butter, garlic, and herbs. For outrageous flavor, color, and moisture, we tuck the butter underneath the skin and brush it all over the outside. It’s a lot of butter, but let me tell you, it’s worth it!

Adding herb butter to turkey before roasting

⭐️ The best way to add moisture and that crave-worthy juicy factor to turkey is fat. Everyone is looking for juicy turkey, but here’s the deal: turkey is lean. That’s why we highly recommend using lots of our herb butter. Most of the year, you’re not going to see me stuff this much butter into anything, but I make an exception for turkey, especially Thanksgiving turkey.

Let’s Talk About Basting

We baste our turkey while it roasts and think you should, too. Basting fat over the turkey skin keeps it moist and flavorful. Now, notice I said basting fat — that’s the important part. Spooning broth over the skin doesn’t do much.

What helps is to use a turkey baster — the tube with a bulb on top — and gather the layer of fat sitting on the top of the broth in the bottom of the roasting pan. That fat will do wonders for the turkey skin. I baste my turkey every 30 minutes or so.

Our Best Roast Turkey

How Long to Cook Turkey

For our roasted turkey recipe below, we recommend cooking turkey in an oven preheated to 325°F (162° C). The cooking time depends on how large your turkey is and your oven.

⭐️ Approximate turkey cooking time: Roast whole turkey for approximately 14 minutes per pound. So, going with our theme of a 15-pound turkey, you will roast for 3 ½ hours.

How to Tell When Turkey is Done

The most reliable way to tell if a turkey is done is to use a food thermometer. Take the temperature in several spots, particularly in the thickest section of the thigh, making sure to avoid the bone. It’s a good idea to check both sides of the turkey.

⭐️ We take our turkey out of the oven when the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). Note that the USDA recommends 165°F, but in our experience, carry-over cooking will bring the temperature up even more.

As a visual cue, you want to roast turkey until the juices run clear from the thigh after piercing it with a knife.

Once the turkey is out of the oven, allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour. If you lightly cover it with foil, it will still be hot when you carve it. If you need to keep the turkey warm for over an hour, place the roasted turkey in an oven set to 200°F (93°C). Cover the cooked turkey with foil to prevent it from drying out.

Sliced roasted turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes

Our Gravy: To make the turkey gravy in our video and photos, use this turkey gravy recipe that uses all those delicious pan drippings!

More Tips and Tricks

Trussing a Turkey: We truss our turkey before roasting—position twine around the bird, tucking it slightly underneath the neck end. Bring the twine up and around the wings, pushing them towards the breast. Cross the twine at the cavity, forming an X, and then tie the ends of the drumsticks together.

Trussing a turkey

Brining a turkey: We brine our turkey and highly recommend it. Don’t think of brining as a way to keep your turkey moist and juicy. Instead, brining is for FLAVOR and texture. Brined turkey is more flavorful and tender. We wrote a helpful article with photos and a video showing how we do it.

Brining a turkey

Stuffing a turkey: We do not stuff turkey or recommend it. It’s an excellent way to overcook your turkey since the stuffing will often take longer to come to temperature than the turkey itself. Keep stuffing on the side.

Popular Thanksgiving Side Dishes


Our Best Roast Turkey

Our Best Roast Turkey

  • PREP
  • COOK

Use our oven roasted turkey recipe for turkey with amazing flavor, soft and tender meat, and crispy skin. We highly recommend it to anyone preparing a turkey for Thanksgiving!

⭐️We brine and air-dry our turkey; here’s our turkey brine recipe to see how we do it. You can make an excellent gravy using the pan drippings (highly recommended). Air-drying the turkey in the fridge the night before we roast it also helps with getting that crisp, golden brown skin.

14 servings (assuming 15-pound turkey)

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

Roast Turkey

1 (12 to 20 pound) turkey, brined (recommended) and trussed

Turkey butter, recipe below

1 large onion, cut into eight wedges

2 carrots, roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped

5 cloves garlic, smashed

8 fresh thyme sprigs

4 sage leaves

2 quarts (8 cups or 1.8L) chicken stock

Herb Turkey Butter

1 pound (460 grams) salted butter, softened

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon (5 grams) coarse ground pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or Pickapepper sauce

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1/2 cup (14 grams) parsley leaves

1/4 cup (7 grams) sage leaves

2 tablespoons (5 grams) fresh thyme leaves


  • Make Turkey Butter
  • 1Pulse all the turkey butter ingredients in a food processor until chopped. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then pulse a few more times until smooth.

  • Prepare Turkey
  • 1Preheat the oven to 325° Fahrenheit (162° C) and adjust the oven racks so that the turkey will fit.

    2Place the onion, carrot, celery, garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, sage leaves, and chicken stock in the bottom of the roasting pan. Set a roasting rack into the pan, suspended above the ingredients.

    3Add a quarter of the turkey butter to a small saucepan over low heat. Melt the butter, and then remove from the heat. Set aside.

    4Place the turkey on the roasting rack. Use your hands to create a pocket between the skin and breast meat. Use a knife or scissors to make a hole where the drums meet the thighs.

    5Rub the remaining turkey butter into the pockets under the skin and the holes near the thighs. Massage the butter to create an even layer underneath the skin — this is a messy job, but well worth it for impact flavor! I use almost all of the butter. Depending on how large your turkey is, you may only need some of it. Alternatively, if you have a disposable piping bag, pipe the butter under the skin and into the holes in the legs, then massage the butter around.

    6Flip the turkey over so that it is breast-side-down on the roasting rack. Brush some of the melted turkey butter all over the back of the turkey. Flip the turkey back so that the breast side faces up, and then brush the remaining melted butter all over the top (all this butter will make the turkey incredible). Lightly season with salt and pepper.

  • Cook the Turkey
  • 1Roast the turkey for approximately 14 minutes per pound, checking and basting with the fat on top of the broth in the pan every half hour. If the liquid level drops too low in the pan, add some water to replace it. I rotate the pan every hour for even browning. For a 15-pound turkey, it will take 3 ½ hours.

    2When the turkey is about two shades lighter than you want in color, tent it with foil and roast until an internal thermometer inserted into a few areas (breast and thighs) reads 160° Fahrenheit (71° C). Check both sides of the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone. As a visual cue, you want to roast turkey until the juices run clear from the thigh after piercing it with a knife.

    3Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour before carving. To keep warm after resting, place into an oven set to 200°F (93°C). To prevent it from drying out, loosely cover it with foil.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Unsalted butter: When making the turkey butter, if you have unsalted butter instead of salted, add an additional teaspoon of fine sea salt to the butter mixture.
  • Helpful equipment: Brine bag or 5-gallon bucket (optional if brining), large roasting pan with rack, disposable piping bag, food-grade nitrile gloves (for massaging the butter), basting/pastry brush, and turkey baster.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. Calories and fat are likely a bit off because much of the butter melts down to baste the bird and eventually ends up in the bottom of the pan.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/14 servings / Calories 539 / Total Fat 21.7g / Saturated Fat 11g / Cholesterol 278.3mg / Sodium 709.8mg / Carbohydrate 2.9g / Dietary Fiber 0.6g / Total Sugars 0.8g / Protein 81.3g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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25 comments… Leave a Review
  • staci December 4, 2023, 4:13 pm

    The herb butter was delicious. We coated under and over the skin as directed. We also basted the turkey every 30 min with fat as instructed. We did not brine though. The turkey was very moist and clearly the best turkey we have ever made (and I am an old lady)! I will be using this method every November from now on.

    • Joanne December 4, 2023, 4:56 pm

      We are so happy you enjoyed the turkey recipe! Thank you very much for coming back and sharing your experience!

  • Rhonda December 4, 2023, 11:55 am

    The best turkey we’ve ever had!! Second time brining a turkey, but this one was much more flavorful. This will be the go-to from now on!! Thanks Inspired taste!!

    • Adam December 4, 2023, 12:32 pm

      Wonderful! We are so glad that you loved it. It is surprising how much flavor the brine adds 🙂

  • Anna November 26, 2023, 1:53 am

    I used inspired taste’s brine and roast recipe to make my Thanksgiving Turkey this year and my Turkey turned out great! Best Turkey I ever made and my whole family loved it! Only advice I have is give urself enough time (an hour & a half) to separate the skin from the meat if u’ve never done it b4, like me, so u can butter the turkey real well! U’ll be the talk of the table with this recipe, don’t miss out! 😉

  • Roberta Nicholas November 24, 2023, 2:03 pm

    My first time hosting Thanksgiving. Followed this method of brining and used the herb butter. I didn’t baste the turkey but cooked it breast down for the first 2 hours then flipped it over. When I flipped it, I used the rest of the butter to baste the breast. Everyone raved about it!

    • Adam November 25, 2023, 12:28 pm

      We are thrilled that you love it! 🙂

  • Karen November 23, 2023, 11:30 pm

    This recipe even got a rave review from my son! The butter coating is a winner! The turkey came out so moist and flavorful. Thank you for the recipe, I will be making this again! This is definitely the best turkey I have had in a long time.

    • Adam November 25, 2023, 12:28 pm

      You have made our day with this comment 🙂

  • Crystal A. November 23, 2023, 6:01 pm

    I used your recipe for brining and roasting g my turkey as well as the turkey gravy recipe. It is so delicious and was a family hit at today’s Thanksgiving meal. Thanks for sharing.

    • Adam November 25, 2023, 12:29 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and leave a review. We are thrilled that your family loved the turkey 🙂

  • Steve Harrison November 22, 2023, 3:22 pm

    Does your 14 minutes per pound take into account the heat loss when basting? Or do you take the whole bird out to baste so as to not leave the oven open too long?

    • Joanne November 22, 2023, 3:58 pm

      Hi Steve, In the beginning, I baste with the oven door open, and do it pretty quickly. Then towards the end of cooking, I like to make sure that fat gets all over and into the nooks and crannies, so you’ll se me actually taking the bird out of the oven to baste. The 14 minutes takes into account the basting.

  • Elia November 21, 2023, 10:11 am

    Soy hispana disculpe entiendo más pero no se escribir. Su receta se ve delisiosa este dia de gracia la estoy haciendo espero sorprender a mi familia muchas gracias Bendiciones

    • Adam November 21, 2023, 1:09 pm

      What a sweet thing to say! Your family is going to love this turkey 🙂

  • Quincy Smith November 18, 2023, 9:07 am

    Very excited to try and replicate your amazing turkey recipe. First year taking over the turkey duties and this recipe looks like I’ll be in good hands.

    • Adam November 18, 2023, 11:53 am

      So happy you found us! If you watch our videos you are sure to make a delicious turkey this year 🙂

  • Elaine November 17, 2023, 12:37 pm

    Hello, if I’m making a 10lb Turkey, do I need to cut the recipe in half? Need some help! First time making a Turkey

    • Joanne November 17, 2023, 5:40 pm

      Hi Elaine, No worries, there is no need to change the recipe for a 10 pound turkey (or smaller). You will probably have some of the herb butter leftover, which is fine. Keep half to the side if you want so no raw turkey juices gets into it, and then take from it if you think you need to. You can save the leftover butter (kept away from the raw turkey) for cooking veggies, adding to potatoes, etc… It can even be frozen.

  • Kellie Olsen November 16, 2023, 10:44 pm

    Hi this looks wonderful but I don’t see the Garlic Herb Roasted butter recipe? Could you send it to me? Thank you!

    • Joanne November 17, 2023, 5:39 pm

      Hi Kellie, The butter recipe is in the recipe on this page. When at the top of the page, hit the “jump to recipe + video” button and you’ll be right there.

  • KC November 16, 2023, 6:57 pm

    I find it very difficult for the softened butter to stick to the Turkey skin or meat. It slips and slides around despite drying the Turkey with a huge wad of paper towels. Any tips to prevent this?

    • Adam November 16, 2023, 8:27 pm

      Do your best. The majority of the butter should be going underneath the skin. Then melt the remaining butter and brush it over the outside of the skin. We also recommend drying your turkey in the refrigerator overnight the day before you apply the butter and roast. This drys out the skin significantly more than paper towels.

  • Carol H-R November 7, 2023, 8:32 pm

    OMG -this is the absolutely BEST OF THE BEST complete turkey recipe I have ever seen. Includes everything one could possible think of re making a Turkey (Thanksgiving or any time). I am looking forward to having this for Thanksgiving this year! Also want to thank you for the videos which I reviewed – a big help!

    • Adam November 7, 2023, 8:33 pm

      You have made our day with this comment! 🙂 We are thrilled that you find everything useful.


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