Whole roasted turkey on a serving platter with herbs lemons and cranberries

Roast Turkey Recipe

Servings: 10 - 14
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes


  • 10 - 14 lb. turkey* (fresh or frozen and fully thawed)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into quarters
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 bunch Chopped fresh parsley


  1. Let turkey rest at room temperature 1 hour. Transfer oven rack 1 level below center and preheat oven to 350 degrees near end of resting.

  2. Remove neck and giblets from turkey and remove any pin feathers left behind. Pat outside of turkey well dry with paper towels and dry inside as well. Tuck wings under turkey. Season cavity well with salt and pepper.

  3. In a mixing bowl stir together butter, lemon zest, thyme and rosemary. Using the back end of a wooden spoon and starting at the back end of the turkey, carefully separate the skin from the breast leaving skin intact between breasts, front area and sides. Be careful not to tear skin or butter will melt out as it bakes.

  4. Transfer turkey to a large roasting pan with a roasting rack (if you are looking to buy one I have this one - affiliate link).

  5. Using the end of the spoon again stuff and spread about 1/3 of the butter total into each portion and rub hands over turkey skin to smooth around.

  6. Rub remaining 2/3 of the butter all over turkey, except underside. Season well with salt and pepper.

  7. Stuff onion, garlic and parsley into cavity of turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen twine if you want a better presentation**.

  8. Bake in preheated oven until thickest portion of thigh (without touching bone) registers 165 degrees on a probe thermometer or instant read thermometer, about 2 hours 20 minutes to 3 hours 30 minutes***, while tenting top of turkey with aluminum foil during baking as needed to prevent excessive browning.

  9. Let turkey rest 30 minutes (or up to 60 minutes) then carve****.

Recipe Notes

  • *It takes about 24 hours per 5 lbs of turkey thawing in the refrigerator set at about 40 degrees. I give an extra day just to be safe, thawed turkey can stay in the fridge 2 days before baking.
  • **Trussing with kitchen twine is not a must. In fact some chefs recommend skipping it so air circulates more evenly around turkey thighs (rather than them being pressed up against the breasts) and it cooks more evenly. If you are going for the look of it then truss, if not it's not necessary.
  • ***Bake time will vary based on size of turkey. Bake time will be approximately 14 - 15 minutes per pound, but this is just a guideline, more importantly is the temperature of the turkey always test for doneness in several places of thigh on both sides at thickest portion with an instant read thermometer.
  • ****Wondering how to carve a turkey? HERE is a great video tutorial.