Classic Roast Turkey

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Classic Roast Turkey

Category: Recipes - Main Dishes

Servings: Makes one 12- to 14-pound turkey.

Classic Roast Turkey

Recipe by Alison Ladman


  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 12- to 14-pound turkey
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh sage
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme


  1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, sugar and black pepper. Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey cavity. Use paper towels to pat the turkey dry, inside and out. Rub the salt mixture all over the turkey skin and inside the cavity. Place in a roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Rinse off the turkey, inside and out, then thoroughly dry with paper towels. Rub the butter under the skin of the turkey. Fit a roasting rack into the roasting pan and mist it with cooking spray. Set the turkey, breast side down, on the rack. Stuff the rosemary, sage and thyme into the cavity. Roast for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove the turkey from the oven and lower the temperature to 325 degrees.
  5. Using 2 pairs of sturdy tongs (or one pair of tongs and a long-handled spoon inserted into the cavity), or washable pot holders, flip the turkey over so that the bird is breast side up. Return to the oven and continue cooking.
  6. Baste the turkey with any drippings that collect in the pan every 20 to 30 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked to 160 degrees at the breast and 175 degrees at the thigh, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the turkey to a carving board or serving platter and cover first with a layer of foil, then with several layers of clean kitchen towels. Allow the turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving and serving. If desired, use the drippings to make pan gravy.


Pan Gravy

Makes about 3 cups. Recipe by Alison Ladman

Drippings from roasting a turkey

Butter, melted (as needed)

1/2 cup white wine

2 cups low-sodium turkey or chicken broth or stock

3 to 4 tablespoons Wondra (instant) flour

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Carefully transfer the turkey drippings from a roasting pan into a measuring cup. Do not scrape or clean the pan. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to settle. Once the drippings have settled, measure out 1/2 cup of the fat (that will be the top layer in the cup). If you have more than 1/2 cup fat, pour some off and discard. If you do not have enough, add butter to make the difference.

Return the 1/2 cup fat and all the liquid drippings to the roasting pan and set the pan over medium heat (you likely will need to use 2 burners). Add the white wine and scrap the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Whisk in the broth or stock and bring to a simmer, whisking continuously. Sprinkle in the Wondra flour, continuing to whisk, and cook over medium heat until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, before serving strain through a mesh strainer.

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