Easy Oven Roasted Turkey – Super Healthy Kids

This is THE turkey recipe you need if you want a perfectly crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside turkey! This Easy Oven Roasted Turkey recipe is so straightforward that you really can’t mess it up. Make the perfect turkey for your holiday table this year.

Growing up, my dad always cooked the turkey on Thanksgiving. I remember him rubbing our turkey with butter to keep the turkey moist. So, when I started being in charge of making the turkey, I knew that I wanted a recipe that used the same method because it reminded me of watching my dad make the turkey on Thanksgiving mornings. Plus, rubbing the outside of the turkey with butter helps to seal in the juices keeping the meat moist, while making the outside crisp and yummy.

oven roasted  turkey on a platter  with fresh sage, oranges, on a white platter

Number One Tip for Moist Turkey Meat

A big turning point in my ability to cook poultry without it ending up dry was to start using a thermometer! Until I used a meat thermometer, I had dry meat 100% of the time. Once I started using the thermometer, my meat was suddenly amazing. There is literally no other way to know your meat is all the way cooked through, unless you can read the temperature!  My very favorite thermometer is from Thermoworks. I use the Thermapen One thermometer the most. I have had it for 5 + years and works so well. Money well spent for perfect turkey! This prevents overcooking and ruining your birds.

Tips for Buying and Preparing Your Turkey

Finding the Right Turkey

  • Frozen vs. Fresh – The experts say that there really isn’t a difference in quality or flavor of frozen versus fresh. Turkeys are flash frozen after processing to preserve them, and “fresh” turkeys can be many days old by the time you buy them.
  • The Right Size – It’s best to aim for about one pound of turkey per person when serving a smaller bird. Larger turkeys have large bones and less edible meat, so a pound-and-a-half per person is a safer bet.  This way you won’t run out and you will likely have leftovers. Just make sure that you know the size of your roasting pan so that your turkey will fit in it!
  • Avoid Pre-Stuffed – The USDA doesn’t recommend buying pre-stuffed turkeys because they can be a food safety risk.  Buy a regular turkey and make the stuffing on the side.

Wooden board with whole raw turkey on grey background

Preparing Your Turkey

  • Thawing. Aim for 24 hours in the fridge for every 5 pounds of turkey. If you bought a bigger bird, it will likely need at least 3 days in the fridge.
  • Brining. Depending on the type of turkey you buy, brining might not be needed. High quality brands will produce a tender, moist turkey without brining. If you are going to brine your turkey, now is the time. If you go with a wet brine, you can submerge a frozen turkey right away.
  • Temper. About one hour before you plan to cook your turkey, remove the turkey from the fridge. It will cook more evenly when the meat is closer to room temperature.

Steps for Oven Roasting Your Turkey

  • Temper. It is the big day! Make sure to take your turkey out of the fridge an hour before you want to start cooking.
  • Preheat Oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You will have to adjust the racks in your oven so that the turkey is sitting in the center. Usually this means moving them down or removing a rack.
  • Remove packaging and giblets. Remove any packaging from the turkey, and remove the neck and giblets.
  • Dry the turkey. Pat the outside of turkey until very dry with paper towel. Try to pat the inside of the turkey as dry as you can with paper towel also.
  • Mix herb butter. Combine the butter, juice of one lemon, chopped sage, rosemary, thyme, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Spread butter. Using a wooden spoon, carefully loosen and lift the skin above the breasts (on the top of the turkey) and spread a few tablespoons of the herb butter underneath.
  • Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. You can choose to stuff it with roughly chopped onion and more herbs if you want.
  • Place the turkey in a large roasting pan with a rack. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings of the turkey under the turkey for a pretty presentation.
  • Brush the remaining herb butter all over the outside of the turkey. Place a tin foil tent on the turkey to prevent it from getting brown too fast.
  • Roast in your preheated oven at 350°F for about 13 minutes per pound, or until the thigh and breast in the thickest portions get to 165° F with a thermometer. For a 15 pound turkey, this will take around 3 hours – plus or minus. Check the internal temperature of the turkey about halfway through cooking. Remove the foil tent for the last hour of cooking to brown the outside of the turkey.
  • Rest. Remove from oven when done and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Roasted Cut Up Turkey Platter For Thanksgiving

Favorite Thanksgiving Sides

Roasted Cut Up Turkey Platter For Thanksgiving with All the Sides

  • 15 pound whole turkey
  • 1 cup butter, unsalted room temperature
  • 1 medium lemon juiced
  • 3 tablesoonss fresh sage chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Thaw turkey in the fridge if frozen. It takes about 24 hours per 5 lbs of turkey thawing in the fridge. You might want to give yourself an extra day just to be safe, thawed turkey can stay in the fridge 2 days before roasting. (A 15 pound turkey will take about 3 days to thaw in the fridge from frozen)

  • Remove your turkey from the fridge and let sit at room temperature, 1 hour before you want to start roasting it.

  • Make sure your oven racks are lowered so that the turkey will sit one level below the center. Preheat oven to 350° F.

  • Remove any packaging from the turkey, and remove the neck and giblets. Pat the outside of turkey until very dry with paper towel. Try to pat the inside of the turkey as dry as you can with paper towel also.

  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, juice of one lemon, chopped sage, rosemary, thyme, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.

  • Using a wooden spoon, carefully loosen and lift the skin above the breasts (on the top of the turkey) and smooth a few tablespoons of the herb butter underneath.

  • Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. You can choose to stuff it with roughly chopped onion and more herbs if you want.

  • Place the turkey in a large roasting pan with a rack. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings of the turkey under the turkey for a pretty presentation.

  • Brush the remaining herb butter all over the outside of the turkey. Place a tin foil tent on the turkey to prevent it from getting brown too fast.

  • Roast in your preheated oven at 350°F for about 13 minutes per pound, or until the thigh and breast in the thickest portions get to 165° F with a thermometer. For a 15 pound turkey, this will take around 3 hours – plus or minus. Check the internal temperature of the turkey about halfway through cooking. Remove the foil tent for the last hour of cooking to brown the outside of the turkey.

  • Remove from oven when done and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 372mg | Potassium: 379mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 341IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg

Natalie Monson

I’m a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie