Simple Roast Turkey

Simple Roast Turkey Recipe

Many Thanksgivings at my house have proved the high-heat method to be ideal. A 15-pound turkey at room temperature takes two hours to roast. However, it may take several hours for the turkey to reach room temperature. While the turkey is sitting out, cover it loosely with a towel, otherwise the skin will dry out. I prefer a 15-pound turkey as it isn’t too heavy for me to handle. It usually gives lots of good leftovers and is generally available.–Barbara Kafka

LC If You Want To Lose A Few Pounds Note

We were referring to your turkey losing a few pounds, not you. But now that we have your attention, let us explain. We tend to request a 12- to 14-pound bird simply because that’s what we’re used to and that’s the size that fits readily in our roasting pan and even, if we need to feed a crowd, will fit side by side in the oven with another 12- to 14-pounder. No matter what size your hen, you can blast it at high heat. Just check out the handy roasting chart below for rough roasting times.

Simple Roast Turkey Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Serves 10 to 15


  • One 15-pound turkey, thawed, if necessary, and at room temperature, wing tips removed, reserving giblets and neck for gravy, and the liver for stuffing
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup water, or turkey or chicken stock, homemade or canned
  • Basic giblet gravy, optional


  • 1. Place oven rack on second level from bottom of oven. Heat oven to 500°F (260°C). [Editor’s Note: If you haven’t scrubbed that volcanic-looking burnt-on apple pie filling from the floor of the oven yet, now would be a good time to do so.]
  • 2. Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat it dry. Sprinkle the outside with pepper. If stuffing the bird, stuff both cavities, securing the openings with long metal skewers. Do not truss the turkey.
  • 3. Place the turkey in an 18-by-13-by-2-inch roasting pan, breast side up. Put it in the oven legs first. After 20 minutes, wiggle the turkey around with a sturdy spatula to keep from it from sticking to the pan. Roast until the leg joint near the backbone wiggles easily, about 2 hours. Remove the turkey to a large platter. Let sit 20 minutes before carving.
  • 4. Pour off the excess fat from the juices in the roasting pan so you are left with just a slick of pan juices. Place the pan on top of the stove, setting it over 2 burners, if necessary. Add the water or stock and bring to a boll while scraping the bottom of the pan vigorously with a wooden spoon, loosening all the crisp burnt-on bits, which will add intensity to the gravy. Let reduce by half. Serve the jus on the side in a sauce-boat or add it to a giblet gravy.

    Turkey Cooking Chart

    Here are more roasting tips from Barbara.
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