How To Cook a Traditional Holiday Turkey

How To Cook a Traditional Holiday Turkey


*NOTE: This method is for fresh, never frozen Turkeys. It does not account for defrosting time, or effects of freezing on the turkey itself.


Equipment: Roasting pan with metal rack, meat thermometer


The Night Before

Season the turkey both inside the cavity and outside, and add a handful of fresh herbs to the cavity to leave overnight.


The Day of

  • Remove turkey from the refrigerator and let it sit for 1 hour at room temperature. Pre-heat the oven to 325°F for an 18-25lb bird, 350° for below 18lb.
  • Spray the bottom of the roasting pan and metal rack with non-stick cooking spray, and place the turkey breast side down in the pan.
  • Cook for approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, breast side down.
  • Remove the pan from the oven, and increase oven temperature to 375°F. Turn the turkey to rest with the breast upwards, and put it back into the now hotter oven.
  • Cook at 375°F, basting often, until the skin is golden brown and a meat thermometer registers 180°F in the thickest part of the thigh.
  • Remove from oven and allow to rest before carving.