This recipe for roast turkey is everything you need to produce a juicy and tender turkey that’s perfectly seasoned under a crispy brown skin.

With just a bit of butter, onion, broth, lemon juice, salt and pepper a whole turkey is super easy to prepare and roast!

Indulge in the rich flavors of a mouthwatering roast turkey, that is extra tender and flavorful!

cut up Roast Turkey on a serving plate with garnish

Easy Holiday Entree!

  • Versatile recipe! No matter the size, this Thanksgiving turkey recipe is the keeper you’ll use again and again and works on any sized turkey and whole chicken, too!
  • Oven roasting a whole turkey can seem intimidating, but this step-by-step guide has the perfect methods, cook times, and temperatures that remove all the guesswork!
  • Use this roast turkey recipe for holiday dinners, large potlucks, or meal prep for the family!
  • Serve turkey breasts, thighs, and legs that are perfect for salads, sandwiches, soups, and casseroles all week long!
ingredients for Roast Turkey Recipe including turkey, butter, onion, broth, and lemon

Ingredients and Variations

Turkey – Buy your favorite fresh or frozen whole turkey and follow the directions here for a delicious result. Remove the giblets and neck and save them to make broth. This same recipe can be used for turkey breasts or drumsticks (skin-on, preferably).

Seasonings – Lemon juice and melted butter add moisture and flavor to the skin and a little broth added to the baking pan with sliced onion infuses the turkey with savory flavor! Feel free to tuck a few sprigs of herbs like sage, thyme, or rosemary around the turkey or directly into the cavity, if desired.

Variations – Bake stuffing right next to the roast turkey or scoop a little into the cavity towards the end of roasting so the stuffing soaks up all those delicious juices. Don’t forget to make homemade gravy and add the drippings, if you can. Add some carrots and baby potatoes to the onions for a quick and easy side dish.

How to Roast a Turkey

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and remove the giblets from the cavity of the turkey.
  2. Whisk lemon and melted butter and brush over the skin. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Tuck the wings under the turkey and tie the legs together.
  4. Place turkey in the roasting pan, breast side up.
  5. Add remaining ingredients (including the giblets, if desired) and any other veggies.
  6. Roast the turkey unstuffed (as per recipe below).
  7. Remove the turkey from the pan and allow it to rest before slicing.

Additional Roasting Times

Size of Turkey*Unstuffed Turkey*Stuffed Turkey
12 – 14 pounds3 to 3 ¾ hours3 ½ to 4 hours
14 – 18 pounds3 ½ to 4 hours4 to 4 ½ hours
18 – 22 pounds3 ¾ to 4 ½ hours4 ½ to 5 hours
22 – 24 pounds4 to 4 ½ hours5 to 5 ½ hours
*Cook times are estimates.

Turkey Cooking Tips

  • For best results, always thaw a turkey in the refrigerator one day for every 4-5 lbs of weight.
  • Place turkey on a rack, or alternately create a ‘rack’ of carrots and celery for the turkey to sit on!
  • Turkey should read 165°F on a meat thermometer (take at the thickest part of the breast away from any bones).
  • Letting the turkey rest once it’s out of the oven allows the juices to recirculate back into the meat, keeping the meat extra moist and juicy!
Roast Turkey in a roasting pan with fresh herbs

Leftover Turkey

The possibilities are endless for ways to use up leftover turkey! Remove the meat from the turkey carcass before storing it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Make a classic leftover turkey casserole, cranberry turkey pinwheels for game day apps, or just add some turkey to a cozy vegetable soup. Freeze portions in zippered bags and use within 3 months.

Other Favorite Entrees!

Have you tried this Roast Turkey Recipe? Leave a comment and rating below!

cut up Roast Turkey on a serving plate with garnish
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Roast Turkey Recipe

Make a delicious roast turkey the easy way with these simple instructions!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Author Holly


  • 10-12 pound whole turkey
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken or turkey broth


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • If present, remove the giblets and neck from the turkey’s cavity and set them aside.
  • Pat the skin dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and melted butter and brush over the skin. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Add ½ of the onion and ½ of a lemon in the cavity.
  • Tuck the wing tips beneath the turkey and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  • Add a rack to a roasting pan and place the turkey, breast side up in the pan. Add the broth (or water), remaining onion, turkey neck, and the giblets to the pan if desired.
  • Place the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 325°F. Roast the unstuffed turkey for 15 to 17 minutes per pound per pound or until the turkey reaches 165°F.
  • Rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.


  • If stuffing, very lightly fill the cavity with chilled stuffing, do not pack the stuffing in.
  • Roast for 20 to 22 minutes per pound or until the turkey and the center of the stuffing reach 165°F.
  • If the skin begins to look too brown, tent a piece of foil over top.
  • Remove the turkey from the roasting pan to rest.
  • Make gravy from the drippings while the turkey rests if desired.
  • Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. The turkey should reach 165°F.
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 70g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 245mg | Sodium: 485mg | Potassium: 756mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 324IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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