The Bird is the Word

On Thanksgiving, a perfectly prepared moist turkey is a make-or-break indicator of a successful meal. But how big should your turkey be to feed your entire family? A good rule-of-thumb is to plan for 1 pound of turkey for each person. Want some extra turkey for leftovers? Add a few pounds to your turkey purchase.

herb roasted chicken

How to properly thaw your Thanksgiving Turkey

Plan ahead to thaw the bird. Count on approximately 24 hours of thaw time in the fridge for every 4 to 5 pounds of bird. For a quicker thaw, place the wrapped turkey in the sink, breast side down, with cold water completely covering the bird. Change the water every 30 minutes until thawed. Estimate 30 minutes per pound to thaw with this method.

Herbs, Roasted Turkey
Holiday meals, Turkey, Thanksgiving
Yield: Serves 6 to 8 with leftovers
Herb Roasted Turkey

Herb Roasted Turkey

Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 2 H & 30 MInactive time: 60 HourTotal time: 63 Hour
When it comes to preparing Thanksgiving dinner, getting the turkey right is a big deal! My Herb Roasted Turkey recipe is so moist, juicy, and flavorful, and best of all, it turns out amazing each and every time. Taking the time to thaw, prepare, brine, and dress your turkey correctly always pays off!


  • 1 (12-pound) turkey
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole lemons, scrubbed and cut into fourths
  • 4 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch coins
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into chunks


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the giblets from inside of your turkey. Rinse both turkey cavities with cold water. Pat dry.
  2. Remove excess skin and fat from the turkey openings and from the wing tips under the bird. Allow the turkey to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Rub the inside of the bird with oil, then oil underneath the skin and on the outside of the bird. Place the cut lemons, rosemary sprigs and thyme sprigs inside the bird. Tie (AKA “truss”) the legs together and place the bird on a roasting rack, breast side up.
  4. Combine the sea salt, black pepper, minced rosemary, and minced thyme in a bowl. Using your fingers, pull the breast skin out from the bird a bit. Spread the herb mixture under the skin and on the outside of the bird.
  5. Scatter the carrots, celery, and onion around the bottom of the roasting pan.
  6. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the thigh—careful not to let it touch the bone. Place the turkey in the oven, legs facing toward the back. Baste the bird every 30 to 40 minutes with the pan drippings.
  7. When the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Increasing the heat will help the turkey skin brown. If the skin is already nicely browned, you don’t need to increase the heat.
  8. Continue roasting the turkey until the internal temperature at the thigh reaches 170 degrees. Depending on the size of the turkey, total roasting time should be 2 to 2 ½ hours. Remove your turkey from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes before serving.
Carving tips
  1. I like to start by carving the legs and thighs in one piece and then separating them. Next, remove the breast in one piece then slice. Finally, remove the wings. Place the turkey slices and pieces decoratively on your serving platter.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @blameitonbiscotti on instagram and hashtag it # thanksgivingturkey
October 20, 2021 — Mary DiSomma