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How to Roast the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

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Roasting a Thanksgiving turkey is easier than it might seem. It just takes some time, so plan your day accordingly. We used a brined turkey in this recipe, so our seasonings are very simple and we added no salt since the brined contained enough salt. (Be sure to check out more of our terrific Thanksgiving recipes!

Supplies Needed to Roast a Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 brined turkey. We are using a 12-pound turkey in our recipe.
  • 1 cup water

Also, keep on hand a small saucepan, heat resistant spoon, roasting pan, pastry brush, turkey baster, foil, and utensils to flip the turkey.

IMPORTANT: Your Thanksgiving turkey is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. You can determine doneness by purchasing and using a meat thermometer. You can expect a 12-pound turkey to take up to 4 hours to cook using this recipe, but because oven temperatures vary, always use a thermometer to ensure doneness.

Roasting a Thanksgiving Turkey Step 1: Preheat Oven

Preheat oven to 425 F

Roasting a Thanksgiving Turkey Step 2: Prepare Butter Mixture

Melt the butter in saucepan over medium heat.

thanksgiving turkey

Turn of the heat, add the pepper and stir.

thanksgiving turkey

Step 3: Prepare the Thanksgiving Turkey

Place the turkey in a roasting pan. We start with breast side down, which is again tradition, but we do it because it allows the juices to run down into the breast meat, creating a moister turkey. We also flip our bird half way through the process, so we have a nicely browned skin on the top and bottom of the turkey.

Start by brushing your turkey with the butter mixture. Brush it all over, top and bottom, under wings…everywhere.

thanksgiving turkey

Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of your roasting pan to help collect juices.

thanksgiving turkey

Step 3: Start Roasting

Now, you can place the Thanksgiving turkey in a 425 F oven. At this point, you don’t need to cover the turkey as we’re going to create a nicely browned skin. Bake at this temperature for about ½ hour.

After ½ hour, remove and baste the turkey with its juices and turn the temperature down to 350 F.

thanksgiving turkey

Cover lightly with foil and return the turkey to the 350 F oven.

thanksgiving turkey

After about 2 hours, we flip the turkey. This allows for nicely browned skin all over the turkey.

thanksgiving turkey

Return the turkey to the oven after flipping and reinsert thermometer.

Again, your Thanksgiving turkey is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. Remove from oven and let stand for about 15-20 minutes before carving.

thanksgiving turkey

Enjoy your incredibly moist and delicious Thanksgiving turkey.

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