Turkey Guide

The basics for preparing and roasting your turkey:


Two pounds per person will feed everyone well and leave you with some leftovers. Want lots of leftovers? Get more!

  • 5 guests: 10-lb. turkey
  • 8 guests: 16-lb. turkey
  • 12 guests: 24-lb. turkey


  • Remove turkey from the bag.
  • Remove neck and giblets from the body cavity.
  • Rinse bird inside and out with cold water.
  • Brine if desired.
  • Pat inside and out with paper towels.
  • Rub inside and out with salt and other desired seasonings. Herbs commonly used for turkey are sage, marjoram, thyme and rosemary.
  • If desired, stuff loosely.
  • If unstuffed, place your choice of onions, carrots, celery, herbs, garlic, apples and lemons inside the turkey.
  • Tuck wing tips under the shoulders and tie legs together with twine (optional).


Brining can contribute more flavor and moistness to your roasted turkey. It is entirely optional.

  • Dissolve 1 cup kosher salt and 1/4 cup sugar in 2 cups hot water, then add 14 cups ice water to make 1 gallon. Add herbs and flavoring components of your choice, if desired.
  • Place thawed and cleaned turkey in large container and add enough brine to completely cover it, plus another inch or two.
  • Refrigerate for 10-12 hours.
  • Remove turkey from brine, rinse under cold water, and continue with seasoning and prepping and  roasting instructions. (A brined turkey needs no additional salt).


  • Preheat oven to 450˚F. Roast turkey for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325˚F.
  • Baste with drippings every 30-40 minutes while roasting. If pan is dry, add stock and/or butter.
  • Check temperature with meat thermometer in thickest part of thigh, without touching bone, three-quarters through the recommended cooking time.
  • If the turkey is nicely browned, but not yet cooked to 165˚F, cover loosely with foil.
  • When temperature reaches 165˚F in the thickest part of the thigh and the stuffing, remove turkey from oven. Tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  • Use drippings in roasting pan for making gravy.
  • For carving instruction, see our How to Carve a Turkey video. 

8-12 lb. turkey: Roast 2 3/4-3 hours unstuffed, 3-3 1/2 hours stuffed

12-14 lb. turkey: Roast 3-3 1/4 hours unstuffed, 3 1/2-4 hours stuffed

14-18 lb. turkey: Roast 3 1/4-4 1/4 hours unstuffed, 4-4 1/2 hours stuffed

18-20 lb. turkey: Roast 4 1/4-4 1/2 hours unstuffed, 4 1/2-4 3/4 hours stuffed

20-24 lb. turkey: Roast 4 1/2-5 hours unstuffed, 4 3/4-5 1/4 hours stuffed