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    How to Roast the Perfect Turkey

    The bird that brings families together, creates lifelong memories and brings stories and laughter to the table. That bird can cause so much stress and anxiety over the holidays, when the entire family’s expectations are focused on this centerpiece… Fret Thou Not!! We have you covered. Just follow this step by step “How To” for the perfect turkey and everybody’s gonna dig in with happy faces… MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

    side view of roasted turkey on a white platter and garnished with fresh cranberries, sliced pomegranate, a pear, sage and parsley

    Sometimes some things come into your life with your other half. Jas came into my life along with this big bird and all the new festivities and traditions. That’s the beauty of mixed-culture couples. We have double the festivals, double the traditions, double the occasions and, yes, double the food from different parts of the world. It’s all fun!!

    I still remember my first Turkey feast with endless sides on my first Christmas in 2013. We started the day opening gifts and sipping eggnogs or bloody Marys. Then breakfast of eggs scrambled with some of the previous night’s ham. And then, kind of lulled by those morning drinks, I could feel the activity happening in the kitchen… the Beiser men are already cooking. YES… ALL BEISER MEN ARE EXCELLENT COOKS! They cook all year long, but they are the main kitchen boss on holidays. We women just sit out with our drinks and chitchat and adore our men in kitchen… such is life!

    Anyways, this is no ordinary day. They have a lot of work ahead of them, with all the sides and that huge turkey to take care of. We will give you some Beiser methods to make this year’s Turkey. Here it goes…

    Tips for the Perfect Turkey

    end view of roasted turkey on a white platter and garnished with fresh cranberries, sliced pomegranate, pears, sage and parsley

    Get about 1.5 pounds of turkey per person. This should give you a nice amount of leftovers.

    If you buy a frozen turkey, allow it to thaw in the fridge for about 1 day per 3-4 pounds of turkey.

    Don’t wash your turkey, simply pat dry with paper towels before preparing.

    Preparing your Perfect Turkey

    First, get your oven pre-heating to 325°F. Remove the gizzards and pat your turkey dry. Then, generously rub butter inside the cavity and all over the skin. While holding the turkey cavity side up, have your assistant (yes, you will want one of those) sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Place your turkey in the roasting pan breast side up. Go ahead and sprinkle more salt and pepper on top, we’re not watching our sodium today!

    stuffed raw turkey in aluminum pan topped with fresh thyme, sage and rosemary

    Then comes the stuffing. Yes, sorry. There is an increased risk of food poisoning if you stuff your turkey, so it is generally not recommended. But these Beisers are very serious about their holiday food traditions. Spoon your stuffing into the bird, but don’t pack it down. There are many different stuffing variations, but we’ll save those for another post. For today, go with whatever type you prefer.

    Now, for that extra special touch, top your turkey with fresh rosemary, sage and thyme. Yes, whole. There is a great reason to do it this way. When these whole herbs get roasted and dried out we are going to crumble them into our gravy… yum, another future post!

    Roasting Your Turkey

    overhead view of roasted turkey on a white platter and garnished with fresh cranberries, sliced pomegranate, pears, sage and parsley

    Below is approximate cooking times, but they will vary based on your oven and the starting temperature of the turkey. These numbers are for an unstuffed turkey, add 30 minutes if stuffed. Use a meat thermometer. You will know it’s done when the the thermometer reads 165°F between the breast and thigh.

    6-8 lbs: 2.5-3 hours
    8-12 lbs: 3-4 hours
    12-16 lbs: 4-5 hours
    16-20 lbs: 5-5.5 hours
    20-24 lbs: 5.5-6 hours

    end view of roasted turkey on a white platter and garnished with fresh cranberries, sliced pomegranate, pears, sage and parsley

    Baste the turkey every half hour or so.

    Once the turkey is done, remove from oven and let sit 20-30 minutes before carving.

    The Perfect Turkey (with sides) on my Gypsy Plate… Merry Christmas!

    sliced turkey, stuffing, green beans, gravy topped mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce on the gypsy plate

    Try these great side dishes with your turkey!
    Lazy Sweet Potato Mash
    Fruity Nutty Crispy Brussels Sprouts
    Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel
    Thanksgiving Kale Salad
    Butternut Squash Blossom
    Southern Squash Casserole

    overhead view of roasted turkey on a white platter and garnished with fresh cranberries, sliced pomegranate, pears, sage and parsley

    How to Roast the Perfect Turkey

    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
    Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes

    This herbed roast turkey is the perfect centerpiece for your holiday spread. Tender and succulent, the fresh herbs will take your turkey to a whole new level!


    • 12 lb turkey
    • 1 stick butter
    • Fresh rosemary
    • Fresh sage
    • Fresh thyme
    • Salt and pepper


    1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
    2. Remove giblets from turkey and pat turkey dry with paper towels.
    3. Rub butter inside cavity and all over skin. Add salt and pepper to cavity and skin as well. Arrange turkey breast side up in roasting pan.
    4. Stuff turkey with your favorite stuffing (optional).
    5. Arrange sage, thyme and rosemary atop turkey.
    6. Roast turkey until internal temperature reaches 165°F, basting occasionally.
    7. Remove turkey from oven and allow to rest 20-30 minutes before carving.
    Nutrition Information
    Yield 12 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 891Total Fat 37gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 505mgSodium 522mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 130g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

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    long pin of roast turkey
    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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