Simple Roast Turkey – Recipe

Serves 12 (with leftovers!)


  • 1 15 pound turkey
  • one stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one carrot (cut in half)
  • one stalk of celery (cut in half)
  • an onion (cut in half)
  • a green apple (cored & quartered)
  • thyme
  • sage


  1. You will usually find a package of giblets (innards) in the neck cavity of the turkey. Remove those, place in the fridge and I will tell you what to do with them later.
  2. Rinse the cavities (the neck and bottom) and outside of the bird with cool water then pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity of the turkey lightly with salt if desired.
  3. If you are not stuffing the bird, throw the carrot, celery, onion & apple into the cavity, sprinkle a little thyme and some salt and pepper (about 1/2 a teaspoon each). Mix everything up with your hand
  4. Remove a rack from the oven, and position the last rack to be the second to the bottom ledge (in other words, not the very bottom). Turn on the oven to preheat, 500 degrees.
  5. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan (the rack will help the whole turkey brown).
  6. Rub your bird down (using your hands) with a cube of softened unsalted butter. You will want to get under the skin and over the skin too.
  7. Put half a cup of water on the bottom of the pan. Place the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh muscle, but do not allow it to touch the bone or you will get a false reading.
  8. Place the turkey in a preheated 500-degree oven for a half hour. Set your timer! After the initial 500-degree zapping, turn your oven down to a respectable 325 degrees.
  9. Follow the timetable (below) for approximate roasting time. Place a tent of foil loosely over the turkey when it begins to turn golden brown, exposing only the drumsticks to the oven.
  10. Roast the turkey until the meat thermometer reads 180 degrees (for a whole turkey) and the juice is no longer pink when you cut into the center of the thigh (it should be clear). The drumstick should move easily in the socket when lifted or twisted.
  11. Once the turkey is finished with its roasting, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes in the pan.
  12. Then remove your bird from the pan to a cutting board and again, allow it to rest, at least 20 minutes; but an hour is better (Just put a little foil “jacket” on old tom to keep him warm). This is important because it will retain its juiciness if given the proper “nap”.

8 to 12 pounds 2 3/4 hours to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3 3/4 hours


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