Roast Turkey Recipe
If you're like most people, the turkey is your favorite part of Christmas dinner. With step-by-step instructions, this recipe is easy and will tell you how to roast a turkey for your festive holiday meal.
If you buy your turkey 1-2 days before Christmas, you can prepare it fresh from the refrigerator. If your turkey is frozen, you will need to thaw it out beforehand. It is not safe to thaw a turkey on the counter at room temperature, so choose an alternative method.
The best way to thaw out the turkey is in the refrigerator. Make a note to remove it from the freezer to begin the process before the Christmas holiday. It takes about 3 days for the average 16 lb. turkey to thaw in the fridge.
If you forget to put it in the refrigerator to thaw, you can place the turkey in a sink filled with cold water. This will take up to 8 hours for the average 16 lb. turkey. You will need to change the water frequently to keep it at a steady temperature.
- 1 whole turkey (16 lbs. for this example)
- 1 stick of butter at room temperature
- Salt & pepper or your choice of seasoning
- Stuffing (dressing) - optional
Place the oven rack in the lowest possible position to allow room for the roaster. Preheat oven to 325°. Remove the turkey neck, giblets etc from the cavity of the turkey. Rinse your turkey in cold water, drain. Coat your roasting pan with no-stick cooking spray.
Place your turkey in the roasting pan and fill the cavity with stuffing if you choose to do this. Do not pack the stuffing tightly! Rub your turkey with the softened butter stick and sprinkle it with the seasonings of your choice (salt, pepper, Accent, etc.) Many turkeys come with a pop-out meat thermometer but be careful. They sometimes malfunction. Play it safe and insert your own meat thermometer into the thigh.
Cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil and place it in the oven. While it's roasting, frequently baste the turkey with the butter and it's own natural juices. Remove the aluminum foil about 1 hour before the turkey is finished roasting. The average roasting time for a 16 lb turkey is up to 5 hours, but it's not done until your meat thermometer reads about 180°.
When your turkey is done, remove the stuffing and let it stand for about 15 minutes to ease the carving process. Transfer the turkey to the serving platter and begin slicing.
- Keep your hands clean, washing them throughout the process or use disposable gloves.
- If you're concerned about the turkey being dry, have a can of turkey stock or broth on hand and baste the turkey with it while it's cooking.
- Consider baking the stuffing in a separate pan. The turkey will roast quicker and this ensures the stuffing is not contaminated.
- Use the drippings for savory turkey gravy. Put the roasting pan right on the stovetop (over two burners if necessary) and make your gravy right in the pan.