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Full Thanksgiving turkey made for dinner with rosemary

Whole Roast Turkey

  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Total Time: 4 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 portions 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


A Whole Roast Turkey is the most important dish of your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. Serve with your favourite trimmings!


  • 11kg (24lbs) turkey 
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 57g (¼ cup) butter, at room temperature


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/355°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey cavity. (These are usually found in a plastic bag. Check out these Giblet Stock and Giblet Gravy recipes to see how to make best use of them.)
  3. Place the orange halves inside the turkey. 
  4. Rub butter evenly all over the turkey. 
  5. Season with salt and pepper to your preference. 
  6. After 2 hours of cooking, remove the turkey from the oven and baste with the pan juices all over and place back in the oven. Repeat this process every 30 minutes until cooked. 
  7. When the turkey has been cooked, remove from the oven and let it rest for between 20 and 40 minutes before carving, depending on how patient you are. 
  8. Serve with the usual Thanksgiving and Christmas side dishes. Enjoy!


  • For best results, you should brine the turkey first, as this yields a much juicier result with less chance of drying out the meat if you overcook it. Check out this Apple Cider Brine and Buttermilk Brine. Once brined, drain the turkey first and pat dry with paper towels, then proceed with the recipe.
  • If you have brined a turkey (with sugar in the brine), chances are that its skin will brown quicker, but the meat will still need the original cooking time. In this case, when the perfect colour has been achieved, cover the turkey with tin foil and place back in the oven for the remaining cooking time. 
  • To get a prettier look to your turkey, you can tie the legs together with a bit of string.
  • Don’t forget to save the carcass, which you can make beautiful turkey stock with!
  • Got leftovers? Check out these leftover turkey recipes!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: whole roast turkey, roast turkey recipe, thanksgiving turkey, christmas turkey recipe, easy roast turkey recipe