James Carrier
Allow 3/4 pound uncooked turkey per person, or 1 pound if you want leftovers

This top-rated turkey recipe drew raves from our users, who proclaimed it "the best turkey ever". Fresh ingredients, including lemon, rosemary, and garlic, contribute to the mouthwatering flavor.

How to Make It

Step 1

Remove and discard leg truss from turkey. Pull off and discard any lumps of fat. Remove giblets and neck (they're often packed in neck or body cavity) and save for classic gravy. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry.

Step 2

Fill body cavity loosely with rosemary sprigs, garlic, onion, and lemons; if they don't all fit, tuck remaining into neck cavity. Fold skin flap under to hold in place. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, chopped rosemary, lemon peel, and pepper. Rub mixture all over turkey.

Step 3

Place turkey, breast up, on a V-shaped rack in a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan (or one that is at least 2 in. longer and wider than the bird). Insert a meat thermometer straight down through thickest part of breast to the bone. (If using an instant-read thermometer, insert when checking temperature.)

Step 4

Roast in a 325° or 350° regular or convection oven until thermometer registers 160°. (See below for times and temperatures.)

Step 5

Remove herbs and vegetables from cavities and save for other uses (see notes) or discard. Transfer turkey to a platter. Let stand in a warm place, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, then carve. If thigh joints are still pink (common in an oven-roasted bird), cut drumsticks from thighs, place thighs in a baking pan, and bake in a 450° oven until no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes, or put on a microwave-safe plate and cook in a microwave oven at full power (100%) for 1 to 3 minutes.

Step 6

Nutritional analysis per 1/4 pound boned cooked turkey with skin, based on percentages of white and dark meat in an average bird.

Step 7

Oven-roasted turkey: temperatures and times:

Step 8

For a 10-13 lb. turkey (weight with giblets): Bake in a 350° oven for 1 1/2-2 1/4 hr.

Step 9

For a 14-23 lb. turkey (weight with giblets): Bake in a 325° oven for 2-3 hr.

Step 10

For a 24-27 lb. turkey (weight with giblets): Bake in a 325° oven for 3-3 3/4 hr.

Step 11

For a 28-30 lb turkey (weight with giblets): Bake in a 325° oven for 3 1/2-4 1/2 hr.

Step 12

Times are for unstuffed birds. A stuffed bird may cook at the same rate as an unstuffed one; however, be prepared to allow 30 to 50 minutes longer.

Ratings & Reviews

TrudiDav's Review

July 15, 2013
I've made this recipe many times and each time it has been an excellent, very moist and yummy bird. Made it again tonight with a seven pound bone-in turkey breast that cooked in less than two hours. I did use rosemary but also added some thyme and sage, I dotted the outside of the breast with herb leaves to make it pretty. This is a very simple recipe and it comes out great every time, this would be a nice 'first turkey' recipe for a beginner cook. I strained the pan drippings and made an thin sauce with just a bit of diluted cornstarch and boiled for a few minutes until it slightly thickened.

jameyadams's Review

November 13, 2011
I have made this turkey since I first saw the recipe in Sunset magazine in 2002. It's my go-to turkey recipe. It's always wonderful!

Misskittygirl's Review

November 20, 2010
The best turkey I have ever made. Making it again this year!

Retajo's Review

November 28, 2009
Best Turkey I every roasted. This recipe is a keeper! The kids loved it and the skin which my kids fight over was a hit as well.

beckela's Review

November 26, 2008
We'll be making this for the 3rd time since this recipe was published in 2002. It's hands-down, the best turkey, ever!! Can hardly wait for Thanksgiving dinner. My mouth is already watering!!

OesiOesi's Review

November 23, 2011