How to Roast a Turkey Recipe

How to Roast a Turkey Recipe

In addition to his new, encyclopedic Cooking, James Peterson has collected tips, culinary advice (how to season a pan, sharpen a knife, freeze clear ice cubes), and basic recipes in What's a Cook to Do. He gives step-by-step carving advice and includes a no-frills roasting recipe that exists at the opposite end of the spectrum from James Beard's chatty recipe for his own favorite bird. Great for a beginner or an old hand that simply doesn't want to fuss too much with the turkey, this is a building block of the Thanksgiving world.


  1. 1.

    Rest the turkey on the neck and giblets in a roasting pan to keep the turkey from sticking. Let the turkey come to room temperature for 4 hours before roasting.

  2. 2.

    Tie the drumsticks together to keep the turkey looking neat.

  3. 3.

    Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  4. 4.

    Fold a triple-thick triangular sheet of aluminum foil just large enough to cover the turkey breast without covering the thighs. Smear one side of the foil with butter and set it on the turkey breast butter side down.

  5. 5.

    Roast until the thighs are well browned, about an hour, and remove the foil. Start checking the internal temperature by inserting an instant-read thermometer between the thigh and the breast. If the temperature is above l00°F and the breast is not yet brown, raise oven temperature to 425°F.

  6. 6.

    Roast turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the meat between the thigh and the breast reads about 147°F. Cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil and let rest in a warm place for at least 20 minutes before carving.

  7. 7.


  8. 8.

    • Start the roasting process by taking the turkey out of the refrigerator for several hours before roasting to let it come to room temperature. It will roast more quickly and evenly
  9. 9.

  10. 10.

  11. Cover the breast with a buttered sheet of aluminum foil for the first 40 minutes of roasting to slow the cooking so it is done at the same time as the thighs
  • 11.