Best (+ Easiest) Way To Roast A Whole Turkey

Too much turkey advice this Thanksgiving? — Here’s to keeping it simple for the best-tasting bird ever. Happy Holidays!

turkeyLayne’s Best Roast Turkey 

  • 1 turkey, any size
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper, herbs, spices of your choice
  • 2 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, water, or other liquid

You’ll need: 

  • Roasting pan
  • Roasting rack (or something to lift the turkey off the pan)
  • Turkey baster or ladle (for basting)


  1. When the turkey arrives, remove packaging and bag of giblets. Place turkey in a large roasting pan and rub with salt, pepper and seasonings of your choice. Keep the turkey uncovered in the fridge to allow the skin to dry out. Bring it out to room temperature 30 to 45 minutes before you’re ready to roast. Do not stuff or truss the turkey.
  2. Set up the oven rack so turkey will fit in bottom third of oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place turkey breast side up on the roasting rack, which sits in the roasting pan.
  3. Add liquid to the roasting pan.
  4. Place the turkey in the oven and turn the temperature down to 350 degrees F.  Tent the breast meat with foil toward the end of cooking if it starts getting too browned.

Cooking times: The rule of thumb for cooking a turkey is 10 to 15 minutes per pound. This time is based on a fresh or fully defrosted turkey. For example a 16-pound turkey will cook in about 3 1/2 hours.

Figure 13-minutes-per-pound, however use a cooking thermometer to check breast, outer thigh and inside thigh. The meat should be at least 165 degrees F when the turkey is done. If any of those areas are under 165 degrees F, place the turkey back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Cover the breast meat with foil to prevent overcooking.

Tip: Every 45 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven, close the oven door to maintain oven temperature, and baste the turkey all over. To baste, tilt the pan and use a baster or ladle to scoop up the liquids and drizzle them on top of the turkey.

Getting it ready for the table: Remove roasting pan from oven, tent the turkey with foil and let it rest for 30 minutes. Then lift turkey to a carving board and save pan juices for gravy. To carve the turkey, remove wings and thighs, then carve the breast meat into slices. Separate thighs into thighs and drumsticks. Serve and enjoy with all the trimmings!

Food safety alert: Don’t leave leftover turkey sit out unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours!

For more healthy recipes and the way to longevity, pick up a copy of Layne’s award winning book: Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy, available on and This book makes the perfect holiday gift!

Layne Lieberman, MS, RD, CDN, is an award-winning registered dietitian, educator and entrepreneur. She is author of the book Beyond the Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets of the Super-Healthy. Read her blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and The Huffington Post.