How to Roast a Perfect Turkey

Cooking a turkey is far less stressful than it sounds - and with this simple technique, you can use ANY recipe and have the bird turn out beautifully: moist, succulent, and gorgeous.


For the aromatics


  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F.
  2. Remove any giblets, neck pieces, and other innards that may be inside the turkey’s cavity and set them aside. Giblets are great for gravy or as a special treat for your pet. The liver is perfect for pâté and save the neck for making stock or soup.
  3. Place the bird on a V-shaped roasting rack inside a roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Place the aromatics into the turkey’s cavity. Rub the butter under the skin generously as far as you can reach.
  5. Roast the turkey on the lowest level of the oven at 500°F for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, and roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast reads at least 161°F and the thigh reads 180°F. (Yes, I know that salmonella is killed at 165°F, but the temperature will continue to rise once it’s removed from the oven beyond that 165°F, so all is well.) A 14 to 16 pound bird should require an additional 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting, but don’t open the oven to check until at least 1 hour 45 minutes have passed to keep the heat even.
  6. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15-30 minutes before carving. This helps ensure it will be moist, so absolutely do not skip this step!
  7. Discard the aromatics, then carve and serve.