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roast turkey on platter

Best Roast Turkey

Best Roast Turkey is flavor packed, juicy on the inside with a buttery skin! Learn how to easily make a turkey with this simple recipe for Thanksgiving or any time of year!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 500kcal
Author Nichole


  • 1 18-22 Pound Whole Turkey* See Note


  • 2 ½ Sticks 1 ¼ Cups Butter, Softened
  • 5 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme, Chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary Chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Sage Chopped
  • Juice of ½ Lemon


  • ½ Medium Lemon Sliced
  • 2 Small Heads Garlic Sliced in half horizontally (not peeled)
  • ½ Medium Yellow Onion, Cut in half (not peeled)
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme
  • 3 Sprigs Sage
  • 2 Sprigs Rosemary
  • Turkey Gravy For Serving, Optional


  • **One hour before cooking, remove the thawed turkey from the refrigerator and set on a large baking sheet to allow the turkey to come to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Remove the turkey from its packaging. Pull the neck and giblets out from the cavity and discard (or save to make gravy/stock if preferred).
  • Using paper towels, thoroughly pat dry all sides of the turkey as well as inside the turkey cavity.
  • Lightly salt & pepper the outside and inside of the turkey to preference.
  • In a medium bowl use a fork to mash together the butter, minced garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, sage and lemon juice until thoroughly combined.
  • Use your hands to rub about ¼ of the butter mixture in the cavity of the turkey.
  • Next, gently loosen the skin from the turkey breast using your fingers, being careful not to tear the skin.
  • Use your hands to place ½ of the remaining butter mixture under the skin. Use your hands to gently massage the butter around.
  • Rub the remaining butter mixture over the entire turkey.
  • Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the sliced lemon, garlic heads, onion half, and sprigs of thyme, rosemary, and sage.
  • If desired, tie the legs of the turkey together with kitchen string.
  • Carefully lift the turkey and place onto a roasting rack inside of a roasting pan.
  • Cover the turkey loosely with a large sheet of non-stick foil. Place in the preheated oven and roast for about 15-20 minutes per pound of turkey.
  • About 30 minutes before the turkey will be done, remove the foil quickly and allow the turkey to keep roasting.
  • Once the turkey is ready to come out of the oven, use a meat thermometer to ensure that the turkey as reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and cover loosely with a sheet of foil. Allow the turkey to sit for 20 minutes before moving to a platter and carving.



NOTE ON TURKEY SIZE:  Within the post there is a chart with turkey cooking times, please read it to find out how long to cook your turkey if it is smaller than 18-20 pounds.
NOTE ON HERBS:  I use fresh herbs, but dried are ok for the herb butter as well.  Substitute 1 teaspoon of dried herbs for 1 Tablespoon of fresh.
PLAN AHEAD:  There is a chart within the post for thawing times for a turkey.  Please read it and keep in mind it takes anywhere from 2-5 days to thaw, depending on turkey size.
PLAN FOR THE DAY OF:  The turkey will need to be removed from the refrigerator and placed on a large rimmed baking sheet (in its packaging) for one hour to come to room temperature before roasting.  Don't skip this step unless you must, it's important for a tender turkey. (This is reflected in the "prep time" listed).


Serving: 1Pound | Calories: 500kcal