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Simple Roast Turkey Recipe

Easy Turkey Recipes Are All Around This Site - Here is the Simple Roast Turkey Recipe

We have had several requests for a simple roast turkey recipe. An easy turkey recipe.  Nothing time consuming or complex. Just very good results.

None of the recipes on this site are difficult, and each provides something different and special. But what is the minimum to produce great results?

Here is our list of steps for the simple perfect turkey.

Here is the Information Readers have Requested

turkey in roasting pan

Simple Roast Turkey


Get Ready

Oven Cleaning - Sometimes it is a bad idea

      If you are starting earlier than one month before your turkey dinner, and if you have a self-clean function on your oven clean your oven.

      If you don’t have a self-clean function on your oven, clean your oven.

      If you have less than one month before your turkey dinner don’t use the self-clean function. Repairmen know that self-cleaning puts extra stress on an oven, and if something is going to go wrong self-cleaning can create an immediate problem. Not good if you don’t have time to have the problem fixed before guests arrive.

Gather Equipment


      Get out your instant read thermometer make sure it has a good battery if it uses one and calibrate the thermometer.  If you don’t have an instant read thermometer buy one. They are not expensive, you will use it often, and it will help you to cook your turkey to a safe temperature but not overcook it. Do not rely on a plastic pop-up thermometer.

      While you are at the thermometer store, consider an oven thermometer also. They too are inexpensive and ovens have a reputation of not heating to the temperature you set. While this is not critical it helps to know the true cooking temperature rather than the set cooking temperature.

    Roasting Pan

      Consider investing in a roasting pan with a rack. If you are using the thin disposable roasting pan consider using two nested pans for safety.

    Clean Towels

      Have clean towels available. If you use paper towels be careful that you don’t leave paper pieces clinging to the turkey. Clean cloth towels can help to lift a turkey too, but remember not touch cooked turkey with anything that touched the uncooked bird.

    Cutting Board and Carving Knife

      Cutting a juicy turkey is a tradition, but if everything goes well there will be juice and lots of it.. So a sharp knife, a cutting board with a trough to channel the juice, and some of those towels we spoke of earlier will come in handy.

    Aluminum Foil

      Have aluminum foil ready to tent the breast if it starts to get too brown and to tent the turkey while it rests before carving.

Click here for more information about turkey cooking equipment.


      Buy your turkey. There are lots of choices, but for this simple roast turkey recipe consider a turkey that is enhanced. It will essentially be brined and will already have flavor added, so this choice will save you the time and trouble of brining and adding your own flavor.

The Easy Steps - The to do's and not to do's of the simple roast turkey recipe

Defrost if necessary

    If you bought a frozen turkey you need to defrost it. Defrosting can take up to a week - but if you don't have time to defrost there are safe options.

    Click here for more information about defrosting your turkey.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit 163 degrees Celsius

Remove plastic wrap

    It is best to do this at the sink because some contaminated juices will leak from the plastic wrap.

No need to rinse

    If you rinse your turkey know that you are spreading contaminated juice that must be cleaned up. Your turkey has been thoroughly cleaned during processing.

Remove Giblets from neck and body cavitiesremove giblets

The giblets might come in a bag inside of the turkey.

Pat turkey dry with a towel

Remove giblets from both the neck and body cavities

Flavor the Turkey

    If you obtained an enhanced turkey as suggested, it is already flavored so you don’t have to do anything else. But even for this simple roast turkey recipe you can add aromatics such as a lemon and an onion and sage to the body cavity. And you can salt and pepper the turkey inside the turkey cavity. There are many other ways to add flavor but nothing else is necessary for an enhanced turkey.

Do NOT stuff the turkey

If you want to know why we make this recommendation click here.

Place turkey on a rack in a roasting pan breast up.

    If you do not have a rack lift turkey up from bottom of roasting pan by placing it on cut up onions and carrots and celery.

Place Roasting Pan in the center of the oven

Do NOT baste turkey

It is not necessary to baste a turkey. The flavor does not penetrate the skin, and every time you open the oven door you lose heat from the oven making the cooking time longer and increasing the chances that the turkey will dry out. For this simple roast turkey recipe you started with an enhanced turkey which is sometimes referred to as self brining.

If the breast begins to brown too much tent it loosely with aluminum foil

Cook until done

    Use the charts here for approximate cooking time, but use your thermometer to determine when the turkey is done. Check the temperature at half of the anticipated cooking time to see how it is coming along. If breast is done and the inner thigh of the leg is not done remove the legs from the turkey and finish them separately in the oven. Let the turkey rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving it.

    Click here for turkey cooking times in Fahrenheit or in Celsius.

Allow turkey to rest

Allow your turkey to rest for 15 minutes before carving. During this time cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil.

Carve and Serve

That is all there is to it. Look around the site to find out why some of these recommendations are made.

Click here for information on carving a turkey.

This simple roast turkey recipe will give you very good results without much work. When you have more time or are ready to take control of all of the techniques such as brining and flavoring stop back and explore the options.

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Copyright © 2009 - 2019 The Perfect Turkey
Copyright © 2009 - 2019 The Perfect Turkey
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