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Simple Roast Turkey

Nothing beats a simple roast turkey for any holiday dinner. Easter dinner, Christmas, Thanksgiving or even just "because" are the perfect reasons to make a simple roast turkey.


Looking for more methods for preparing your Thanksgiving bird? Check out The Top 41 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes for more great ideas!

Cooking Time4 hr


  • 12 pounds turkey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar


  1. Remove the package containing the giblets and neck from the cavities of the turkey (you may have to release the legs from a band of skin or a wire in order to remove the giblets and neck).
  2. Rinse the turkey, inside and out, and dry it with paper towels.
  3. Trim off any excess fat.
  4. Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
  5. Transfer turkey to a rack in a large roasting pan.
  6. Return the legs to the band of skin or wire. Fold the wings back and underneath the bird.
  7. Pour the water and 1/2 cup sherry into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  8. Combine remaining sherry, garlic, black pepper, poultry seasoning, paprika, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl; brush over the skin of the turkey.
  9. Completely enclose the turkey in aluminum foil, crimping the foil around the edges of the pan to seal.
  10. Bake for 3 to 4 hours. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, remove foil and baste with pan juices.
  11. When turkey is done, a thermometer inserted in the thigh will read 180 to 185F degrees, and the drumsticks will move easily in the sockets.
  12. Remove turkey from the oven, and allow it to sit, loosely covered with foil, for 20 minutes before carving.

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It seems I am always posting on roasted turkey. Each time I have more tips to add. I think I should submit the recipe recipe to the website! I have some photos to contribute this time o what the turkey looks like with the bacon on it. I wrap the turkey in tin foil and cook it like that until an hour before it is done. For the last hour I cover it in streaky bacon and it crisps up the skinl Truly yummy.

The second tip (which is now above the first! See below) is to cover the turkey with bacon. Streaky bacon works best as it has the most fat and that is what we are looking for to "baste" the turkey. If the fat bothers you then don't eat the bacon once the turkey is cooked! But I wouldn't leave that part out as it is very yummy. Once the turkey is covered with the bacon, roast as usual. The bacon crisps up and serves as a "shield" for the turkey, keeping in the moisture and the fat from the bacon bastes the turkey as well. About half an hour before the turkey is ready, take it out of the oven and remove the bacon. Put the turkey back in the oven to finish off and brown the skin.

I have two good tips to make a succulent, not dry, turkey. Firstly, gently separate the skin from the turkey breast with your finger and make a "pocket". Stuff this pocket with butter. It is nice to flavor the butter with rosemary or sage (or even your own favorite herb, it doesn't matter) but it is not necessary. This will help keep the turkey meat moist when roasting, especially the breast which tends to dry out the most.


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