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a roasted thanksgiving turkey on a pan with fresh citrus

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Learn how to cook a turkey with this Easy Thanksgiving Turkey recipe! It's the best roast turkey recipe with herb butter, plus tips for baking a turkey.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 450kcal
Author Ashley C.


  • 1 fresh turkey 12-15 pounds
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme, rosemary and sage (bouquet garni)
  • 1 whole lemon halved
  • 1 yellow onion quartered
  • 1 head garlic halved crosswise

Herb Butter

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh sage finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary finely chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Remove the turkey from its packaging and place it on a large roasting pan. Clean the inside of the turkey, remove the giblets and then pay the bird dry with paper towels.
  • Generously seasoning the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the herb bunch, lemon halves, onion and garlic.

For the herb butter:

  • In a small mixing bowl, mix together the softened butter and herbs until well combined.
  • Rub the outside of the turkey all over with the herb butter, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Truss the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
  • Roast the turkey at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and continue cooking for 2 to 2 1/2 hours (depending on the size), or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Slice turkey and serve.


  • You can substitute all of the fresh herbs for 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning.


Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 58g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 214mg | Sodium: 302mg | Potassium: 611mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 402IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg