Easy Roasted Turkey

Ever go to Target for batteries and greeting cards, and come away with something entirely different? In my case, yes. All the time. Very rarely, though, is it a 12-pound turkey for just 68¢ per pound. Can you say bargain?

Thawing, dressing, roasting, basting and carving this tasty turkey was a learning experience, and with the help of my husband, a fairly simple one. The turkey turned out amazingly tender, crisp and delicious and if you haven’t made one before, I highly recommend this easy-to-follow recipe from Real Simple, which is also below.

Post-Thanksgiving, this was a fun and easy project and a learning experience for our future Thanksgiving feasts. If you’re planning on making a turkey for Christmas, or if you just want to pick up a bird and experiment like we did, this recipe with super simple guidelines and basic ingredients would be perfect for you.

The turkey was wonderfully tender, flavorful and moist, and served with hot gravy, roasted potatoes and vegetables, our finished product was a celebration in and of itself!

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PrintPrint Recipe

Easy Roasted Turkey

Yield: Serves 8 (with leftovers)

Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes


1 12-pound turkey, thawed if frozen
12 sprigs fresh thyme
2 medium onions, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
kosher salt
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (if needed)


Heat oven to 375° F. Working on a baking sheet, remove the giblets and neck from the cavity. Reserve the neck and discard the giblets. Using a paper towel, pat the turkey dry of juices. Stuff with the thyme and half the onions.

Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Tuck the wing tips underneath the body (this will prevent them from burning).

Rub the turkey all over with the butter and season with 1 teaspoon salt, making sure to reach the crevices of the legs and wings. Be careful not to tear the delicate skin.

Place the turkey neck, carrots, celery, and remaining onions in a large flameproof roasting pan. Put a roasting rack in the pan and place the turkey on top of it.

Roast the turkey, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. (Basting will not make the meat moister, but it will produce an evenly browned skin.)

If the turkey begins to darken and there is still a substantial amount of cooking time left, tent it loosely with foil. If the vegetables begin to scorch, add some broth to the pan.

Continue roasting until the thickest part of a thigh registers 165° F, 2½ to 3 hours. Tilt the turkey to empty the juices into the pan. Transfer the turkey to a carving board, tent with foil, and let rest for at least 25 minutes before carving.


Adapted from Real Simple


27 Responses to “Easy Roasted Turkey”

  1. #
    Katrina — January 10, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    Whoa! Thanks for the instructions for this. This is so helpful!!

  2. #
    Miranda @ Mangoes and Chutney — January 10, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    Georgia, this turkey looks absolutely beautiful. Well done!

  3. #
    Jenn's Food Journey — January 10, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    Bob the turkey turned out lovely! Don’t you just love it when that happens :) I love that you showed us the picture of it thawing in the bathtub too. Most people won’t admit how they do it…I love your honesty!! lol

  4. #
    Pam — January 10, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

    Way to go! Your turkey looks great and what a deal on it!

  5. #
    Deborah — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    I have never roasted a turkey, although I keep saying I’m going to! I’m bookmarking this recipe!

  6. #
    Blackbookkitchendiaries — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    that is one good looking bird:) you did a great job.. i really love how beautiful it looks. thanks for sharing this post.

  7. #
    StephenC — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    Your turkey looks absolutely beautiful. I did mine this year a different way: I removed the back bone and separtated the leg/thigh portions. Roasted this way it came out very well and cooked in less time than a whole bird. Thanks for sharing.

  8. #
    Georgia — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    That’s a great idea, Stephen. I’ll have to keep that technique in mind next time we do this for just the two of us! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. #
    Annalise — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    Yum! Made me want to lick the screen. I’ve never roasted my own turkey, maybe I’ll try it for Christmas this year!

  10. #
    Elina (Russian Bites) — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    Haha, the turkey in the bathtub is hilarious! My favorite part of the the roast turkey/chicken are all the veggies that caramelize in their juices. Yum! :)

  11. #
    emily — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    I found a similar deal last Wednesday and roasted a turkey the same day. What an experience! Yours looks LOVELY. That skin looks perfectly golden.

  12. #
    Chocolate Freckles — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    That looks like a perfectly cooked bird!!!! Wow the skin is so crispy!!! Do you want to come and cook my turkey for Christmas!! :P !

  13. #
    Chocolate Freckles — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    That looks like a perfectly cooked bird!!!! Wow the skin is so crispy!!! Do you want to come and cook my turkey for Christmas!! :P !

  14. #
    Zoe — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    Your turkey is so perfect! I almost drool onto my computer screen…

  15. #
    Amsatterly — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    The skin on your turkey looks so crispy. I couldn’t be home for Turkey day this year, so I’m thinking that I might cook a turkey at Xmas time. Love your photos!

  16. #
    coolblogger — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    So yumm and pics are awesome

  17. #
    Erin — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    How funny! I made the exact same thing last night. Real simple really is simple!

  18. #
    Pam — January 10, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    Nicely done! Your turkey turned out beautiful.

  19. #
    Betty @ Scrambledhenfruit — January 10, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    Gorgeous turkey! The best part of cooking a turkey though, is the big container of leftover turkey meat which provides meat for sandwiches and soup for days!

  20. #
    Amy @ Serve At Once — January 10, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    What a beautiful turkey! You’re right–this is a great time to experiment between the big holidays. So frugal, and so wise. Nicely done!

  21. #
    Georgia — January 10, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, Betty. I’m looking forward to getting creative with the leftovers!

  22. #
    Angie — January 10, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    I have never roast a turkey … sad huh? Maybe I should just get one and experiment with it…the skin of your roasted turkey really shines through the screen! Beautifully done!

  23. #
    Nelly — January 10, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    I came across your blog and found so many awesome and amazing recipes. This roasted turkey is amazing ~!!! Thank you for the recipe and I’ll definitely try it out :)

    Regards from Indonesia ^^

  24. #
    Georgia — January 10, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    Thanks for your kind comment, Nelly. I hope you do give this turkey a try!

  25. #
    Monet — January 10, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    I just started eating meat again a few months ago, and I have to admit that seeing all of these big birds is VERY intimidating. It looks like you turned to one of my trusted home and kitchen sources (Real Simple) and ended up with a wonderful looking and tasting bird! Beautiful job, my dear. I’m duly impressed. Thank you so much for sharing. I hope the rest of your week is full of joy!

  26. #
    Evan @swEEts — January 10, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

    Oh Georgia, this looks amazing. And I am totally with you.. I can go into Target for one thing and end up coming out with waaay more than I had bargained for! Good find on the turkey though :)

  27. #
    Jennifurla — January 10, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

    SCREW TURKEY’S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i FAILED BIG TIME THIS YEAR, next year it is ham for the family – yours looks lovely though!

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