How to Roast Turkey Perfectly

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 12 hours
  • Yield: 8-16 servings, depending upon size of turkey 1x
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


Roasting the perfect holiday turkey is a cinch.  You just need to know a couple of steps that I happily share in this post so it comes out juicy.


  • 1 fresh or frozen turkey, weight is dependent upon number of guests
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • Several sprigs of fresh herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, tied in a bundle with kitchen twine


  • 8 cups hot tap water
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 pound kosher salt
  • 8 pounds ice
  • 1 gallon cold water


  1. Thaw turkey if frozen. Allow 1 day for every 2 pounds of turkey.
  2. Eight to twelve hours prior to cooking, combine the hot water, sugar and salt in a medium-sized cooler. Stir to dissolve completely.
  3. Add the ice and cold water. Place turkey in the brine covering completely. If required, add more cold water to cover. If the turkey floats, weight it down with a resealable plastic bag filled with cold water.
  4. Brine for 8 – 12 hours. Check the temperature of brine to ensure 40˚F is maintained. If required, chill the brine by adding cold packs or ice placed in resealable plastic bags to the brine.
  5. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
  6. Preheat oven to 500˚F.
  7. Loosely fill the cavity of the turkey with onion, celery, carrot and the herb bundle.
  8. Fashion a heat shield from aluminum foil large enough to cover the breast when folded in half. Place aluminum foil over breast and form around the breast. Spray the underside of the shield, the side that will be in contact with the turkey beast, with cooking spray and set aside.
  9. Place the turkey (without the heat shield) in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Check that the skin on the breast is evenly browned.  If not cook for another 5 – 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the turkey from oven when evenly browned.
  11. Reduce oven temperature to 350˚F.
  12. Place the heat shield over the breast, insert a probe thermometer through the aluminum foil into the thickest part of the breast and place the turkey back in the oven.
  13. Set the probe thermometer for 160˚F.
  14. When thermometer has reached 160˚F and the thigh meat is at 175˚F, remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  15. Carve and serve.