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Classic Roast Turkey

Classic Roast Turkey

This is a simple version of the timeless Thanksgiving or holiday classic centerpiece. It's great anytime.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings.


  • 1 (10- to 12-pound) turkey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Baby Bam
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Pan Gravy


  • Position rack in the lower third of oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Fit a roasting rack inside a roasting pan.

  • Transfer the turkey to the kitchen sink and remove its wrapping. Using your hands, remove and discard the neck, gizzards, heart, and liver usually found in a small paper or plastic bag inside the cavity.

  • Rinse the turkey well inside and out under cold running water. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels and transfer the turkey breast side up to the rack in the roasting pan.

  • Season the inside of the turkey with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper and stuff the cavity of the turkey with the onion, carrots, celery, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf.

  • Using kitchen twine, tie the ends of the turkey's legs together so that it looks as if it is trying to cross its legs.

  • Season the outside of the turkey evenly with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and the Baby Bam.

  • Use your hands to rub the butter evenly over the entire turkey. You might have to ask someone to hold the turkey for you while you do this. Wash hands well.

  • Transfer the turkey to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and, with oven mitts or pot holders, carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven. Watch it, this is heavy and now it's hot too!

  • Using a baster, baste the top of the turkey evenly with 1/3 of the chicken broth.

  • Using oven mitts or pot holders, return the turkey to the oven and cook for an additional 1 3/4 to 2 hours, basting twice more during this cooking time with the remaining chicken broth. Always use oven mitts or pot holders for handling the hot roasting pan. If the turkey begins to look too browned, cover the top loosely with aluminum foil until it is done.

  • After 1 3/4 to 2 hours, the turkey should be a nice golden brown color, and the juices should run clear when you insert the tip of a knife at the joint of the leg and thigh.

  • Using oven mitts or pot holders, carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil. Let the turkey sit for about 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Save the drippings in the pan if you plan to make gravy.

  • Have an experienced adult help you transfer the turkey to a carving board and show you how to carve the turkey-then serve.

  • NOTE: If you purchase a frozen turkey, you must defrost it in the refrigerator, and it can take several days to completely defrost, depending on the size of your bird. Make sure you read the instructions on the turkey packaging so that you allow yourself enough time before turkey day! Also, you should never try to defrost a turkey on your kitchen counter or in the kitchen sink-this promotes the growth of harmful bacteria.

Recipe Details