Thanksgiving turkey with corn and cranberries on a white plate and squash in the background
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Easy, No-Fuss Thanksgiving Roasted Turkey

This is one of the simplest ways to make a Thanksgiving turkey that is juicy, tender, perfectly roasted, and flavorful.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Resting Time30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Oven-roasted Turkey, Thanksgiving Turkey, Simple Thanksgiving Turkey
Appliance: oven, Food Thermometer
Servings: 16 people
Author: Raksha Hegde


  • 1 12-20 lb whole turkey
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1 apple quartered
  • 0.75 oz sage leaves
  • 0.75 oz fresh rosemary
  • 0.75 oz fresh thyme

Herb Butter


  • First, remove the thawed turkey from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. 
  • Pre-heat the oven at 325° F. Make space for the turkey so that it can be placed on the oven rack in the center of the oven.
  • Meanwhile, make the herb butter by combining softened butter, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Chop 1 tablespoon of rosemary, sage, and thyme each and add to the butter and blend well. 
    Close-up of someone adding butter to a pan.
  • Remove the turkey from the packaging. The neck and giblets will usually be in the inside of the cavities of the bird. You can either discard them or keep it aside to make the gravy. 
  • Place the turkey on a roasting pan. Make sure you tuck the wings under the bird to prevent them from burning. You can add the vegetables of your choice in the roasting pan such as onion, corn, potatoes, and carrots. 
  • Pat the turkey dry with paper towels so that the herb butter can be applied evenly. If the turkey skin is damp, the butter will slide right off in the oven.
  • Season the inner cavities with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with onions, lemon wedges, apples, and the remaining chopped herbs. Tie the turkey legs with twine. 
  • Loosen the skin on the turkey breast (top) and apply a couple of tablespoons of the herb butter. Melt the rest of the herb butter and with the help of a basting brush, apply it evenly all over the turkey, including the legs and wings. 
  • The turkey is now ready to be roasted in the oven. It takes about 15 minutes for every pound of turkey. So a 12-lb turkey would take about three hours. It is important to use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the roasted turkey. The thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 165° F.
  • To prevent overcooking turkey breast, make a tinfoil tent and cover it once it turns golden brown. This is ideally about halfway through roasting the turkey. 
  • When the roast turkey is cooked well and reaches a nice golden brown color, let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. You can now carve the turkey. Happy Thanksgiving! 
    Thanksgiving turkey with corn and cranberries on a white plate and squash in the background