Simply perfect roast turkey

    5 hours

    Look no further if you want a simple roast turkey recipe for your Christmas dinner. Seasoned with nothing but salt and pepper, and basted with turkey stock, the flavours of the turkey really stand out. Stuff with your favourite stuffing.

    508 people made this

    Serves: 24 

    • 1 large whole turkey
    • 1.5kg prepared stuffing
    • 125g unsalted butter, softened
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 1.5L turkey stock

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:4hr  ›  Extra time:30min  ›  Ready in:5hr 

    1. Preheat oven to 170 C / Gas mark 3. Place rack in the lowest position of the oven.
    2. Remove the turkey neck and giblets, if included, and pat dry with kitchen roll. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in the roasting tin. Loosely fill the body cavity with stuffing. Rub the skin with the softened butter, and season with salt and pepper. Position an aluminium foil tent over the turkey.
    3. Place turkey in the oven, and pour 1/3 of the turkey stock into the bottom of the roasting tin. Baste all over every 30 minutes with the juices on the bottom of the tin. Whenever the dripping evaporates, add stock to moisten, about 250ml to 500ml at a time. Remove aluminium foil after 2 1/2 hours. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh reads 74 degrees C, about 3.5-4 hours.
    4. Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, and let it stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

    Turkey tips

    For fail-safe tips and turkey cooking times see our guide to cooking turkey. Also don't forget our turkey gravy recipes.

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    Reviews in English (353)


    This is the turkey recipe I used when I roasted my first-ever 19lb bird three years ago. It turned out perfectly then and has every year since. My version calls for placing the turkey on a v-shaped rack in the roasting pan. This allows air to circulate under the bird and should address any issues related to the bottom not cooking as thoroughly as the top or being soggy. I have never had to turn the bird over. Other hints: truss the wings under the bird with baking string or wrap in aluminum foil to keep from over-browning. For the rest of the turkey, I place the aluminum foil tightly over the breast-portion only. Then, I remove the foil on the breast 1 hour before the bird is done (my 19lb birds, stuffed, tend to roast in about 5 hours, so I remove at the 4 hour mark). The breast is always beautifully brown and not overdone; very juicy! Baste as directed (every 30 minutes) with turkey or chicken stock. When you check the temperature, be sure you're not hitting the bone; keep it in the fleshy part of the thigh meat. I also check the internal temperature of the stuffing to ensure it's at 160. Standing time is *important.* I rest mine at least 30 minutes, up to 45. It won't get cold--keeps it juicy! I use good quality boxed or homemade chicken stock instead of turkey stock. This is such an easy recipe. You don't need to over-think it or second-guess it. It's worked for me every single time. And...the drippings make delicious pan gravy! Enjoy!  -  15 Nov 2005  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    OH MY GOSH... what a shock to see *my* secret recipe on the internet... lol. I've always done my turkey mostly this way. I also put butter under the skin as some reviewers do... and use chicken broth. Oh!! and big ol chunks of onions and celery around, under and in the bird. But (I don't recommend this method) I put my bird in on 250 degrees late late Wednesday night... don't baste at all, get up early and remove foil, baste REALLY well, turn up the heat to 375 until brown, basting often. Always excellent!! Frees up my oven, we wake up to the smell of *Thanksgiving* and it really sets a great mood for the day. Have done this for years!!  -  21 Nov 2006  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I used this recipe for our Thanksgiving turkey and my family loved it! I put 1/4 cup of butter between the breast meat and the skin, then after each basting I brushed the entire turkey with melted butter. Not the greatest method for calorie counting, but I've never had a turkey so moist. It was incredible!  -  08 Dec 2002  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)