Roasted Turkey and Gravy Recipe

Make this oven-roasted turkey and homemade gravy the star of your Thanksgiving dinner.

Winter 2015

  • Roasted Turkey
    Roasted Turkey takes center stage on the Thanksgiving Day table.
    Photo by Brian Chase
  • Roasted Turkey

Yield: About 10 servings

Use these simple instructions to roast the perfect turkey for your Thanksgiving holiday this year.


• 1 turkey, thawed (about 15 pounds)
• 1 lemon, cut in half
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 onion, quartered
• 4 stalks celery, cut into thirds including tops
• 2 carrots, cut into thirds
• Fresh parsley sprigs
• Fresh rosemary sprigs
• Butter
• Salt and pepper, to taste

• Drippings from turkey
• 1/4 cup cornstarch
• Water
• Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

For turkey:
2. Remove neck and giblets from turkey; save for another use or discard. Rinse turkey inside and out with water, and pat dry with paper towels. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine, if they aren’t already.

3. Rub lemon halves inside turkey cavity, followed by salt. Place onion, celery, carrots, and a few parsley and rosemary sprigs in cavity. Close the cavity with metal skewers, or cover with foil. Tie a string around body of turkey to hold wings close to body.

4. Place a few more sprigs of parsley and rosemary in neck opening, and cover the opening with surrounding turkey skin. Close with skewers.

5. Rub butter over entire outside surface of turkey. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

6. Place turkey, breast side down, on a rack in a roaster pan. Tuck a few more sprigs of fresh parsley and rosemary under the wings.

7. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F, and cook for an additional 2 hours. Reduce oven temperature to 225 F, and continue cooking until done, about another hour or so. Check for doneness, and when the turkey is about 5 minutes from being done, increase the oven temperature to 500 F. Carefully turn the turkey over so the breast is on top, and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the breast.

8. Remove turkey to a platter and tent loosely with foil. Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Discard contents from cavity.

For gravy:
9. While the turkey is resting, place the roasting pan with drippings on the stove and ladle off any excess fat. Heat drippings over medium heat.

10. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with enough water to make a thickener, beating well to remove any lumps. Slowly add a little of the thickener to the pan of drippings, stirring constantly. Continue adding and stirring in thickener, a little at a time, until gravy reaches desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper.

Don't over complicate the dishes at your Thanksgiving holiday this year. Use this and other recipes featured in our Thanksgiving Dinner Menu to simplify your main dish and sides.

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