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overhead view of the best roast turkey recipe on a platter surrounded with orange slices, rosemary, and fresh cranberries

Perfect Roasted Turkey

This will be the Best Roast Turkey Recipe you ever eat! Crisp and golden on the outside, infused with citrus butter and herbs, perfectly juicy and moist on the inside. Here I'm sharing my 3 secrets to perfect roast turkey every time.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Brine time 18 hours
Total Time 22 hours 15 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 13kcal


  • Roasting pan with Rack
  • Brining bag
  • Oven thermometer


Turkey Brine

  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 1 ½ cups fine sea salt
  • 2 cups honey or brown sugar
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 3 oranges
  • 5 garlic cloves pressed or minced
  • 3 tablespoons tri color peppercorns
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 18 lb turkey

Roasted Turkey

  • 1 18 lb brined turkey
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 2 fresh rosemary springs leaves removed and finely minced
  • 3 leaves fresh sage finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed, finely chopped


For the brine

  • Remove the rosemary leaves off the sprigs. Peel the oranges being careful not to get the pith. A vegetable peeler works great.
  • Combine apple cider, water, salt, honey, rosemary leaves, orange peels, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Allow it to cool and immerse the turkey into it. Store it in the fridge. Brine for 16-18 hours.
  • After the brining process, rinse the turkey very well under cold water.

For the turkey

  • Heat the oven to 275.
  • Place the turkey breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan.
  • Cover completely with heavy duty aluminum foil. Roast the turkey for 10 minutes per pound.
  • While the turkey is roasting, combine the butter, orange zest, and rosemary leaves and mix well so all is combined.
  • After the first stage of roasting, remove the turkey from the oven, remove the foil and rub the butter mixture all over the skin.
  • Raise the temperature of the oven to 350.
  • Insert an oven proof meat thermometer into the side of the breast of the turkey.
  • Return the turkey to the oven, uncovered.
  • Baste with the juices every 30 minutes until the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees and the skin is golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest 15 minutes before serving.


  • If you don’t have a pot big enough for all the liquid in the brine, start with just 1 gallon of water. Once you’ve boiled and cooled it, and you have your bird in the brining bag and container, you can add the rest of the water.
  • The long prep time includes the brining time, which is 16-18 hours. The cook time will vary depending upon the weight of your turkey.
  • An oven thermometer is KEY.
  • You may have heard a thermometer has to go into the thigh. Our oven came with a built-in thermometer, and it's instructions say to stick the probe into the breast. It's worked every time.
  • There are 2 stages of cooking. The first will be 10 minutes per pound, the second stage will be with your trusty thermometer. In my experience, the timing has turned out to be another 3-5 minutes per pound. 
  • Let the turkey rest, loosely covered when it's finished, for about 15 minutes before you carve it. Roasting brings all the juices to the surface, letting it rest allows the juices to soak back into the turkey resulting in an ultimately juicy turkey.


Calories: 13kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 0.5mg