How To Cook The Perfect Turkey

This is the simplest method for roasting a turkey.

YIELD:  1 turkey

PREP TIME: 20 mins

COOK TIME: 3 hrs. 30 mins to 4 hrs.


Roasting pan or a roasting dish

Roasting rack

Turkey baster, or brush (optional, if basting)


1 turkey (any size) thawed if frozen

2 cups vegetable broth, water, or low sodium chicken broth

1 cup oil or melted unsalted butter for basting (optional)


1. Prepare for roasting

Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare the turkey for roasting.

30 minutes to an hour before roasting, remove the turkey from the refrigerator. Remove any packing as well as the giblet bag (check in the body cavity and in the neck cavity).

While the oven preheats, place the turkey breast-side up on a roasting rack set in a roasting pan. This reduces the frost from the meat, allowing it to cook faster and more evenly. It also allows the skin to dry out, enabling browning and crisping.

2. Preheat the oven

Heat the oven to 450°F and place an oven rack in the lowest third of the oven. Remove any racks above it.

Before putting your turkey in the oven, season it with salt and pepper if it’s still in the packaging.

Leave your turkey unstuffed and untrussed, as it’s easier and the turkey will cook more uniformly.

3. Fill the roasting pan with liquid ingredients

Pour the broth or water into the roasting pan when ready to roast.

4. Place the turkey in the oven and reduce the temperature.

Reduce the heat to 350°F and place the turkey in the oven.

Roasting the turkey breast-side up is recommended.

Cover the breast meat with aluminum foil if it begins to brown too much close to the end of cooking.

5. Roast the turkey. 

13 minutes per pound is the general rule for cooking a turkey. Prepare your turkey according to the 13-minute-per-pound rule but check its temperature halfway through the cooking period to see how quickly it’s cooking.

6. Baste the turkey every 45 minutes. 

Remove the turkey from the oven after 45 minutes, cover the oven door (don’t let that heat escape), and baste the turkey all over.

To baste, tilt the pan, if necessary, then scoop up the pan juices with a turkey baster or spoon and sprinkle them over the turkey.

You can baste the turkey with melted butter or oil in the last 45 minutes or so of cooking. This helps the skin firm up and turn a lovely rich golden-brown color.

7. Check the temperature. 

About halfway through the estimated cooking time, start monitoring the turkey’s temperature.

Check the temperature in 3 places: breast, outside thigh, and inner thigh.

The temperature of the meat should be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put the turkey back in the oven for another 20 minutes if any part of it is below that temperature.

If necessary, cover the breast flesh with foil to prevent it from overcooking.

8. Rest the turkey before carving. 

Take the turkey out of the oven.

With an oven glove, hold one edge of the roasting rack and tilt the whole pan so the liquids from the turkey drain into the pan.

Then, while the turkey is still on the rack, remove it and place it on a clean cutting board.

Allow the turkey to rest for at least 30 minutes after lightly wrapping it in aluminum foil. The meat firms up as the liquids re-enter the muscle tissue, making the turkey juicier and simpler to slice.

Storage: Leftovers can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months in an airtight container.