Roast Turkey - ☺♥

Roast Turkey

This is a standard set of instructions for times and temperature for different turkey weights. What makes it good is the information I provide about the combination of the brining process and the roasting with the breast side down … and no internal stuffing. Of course, I also provide the recipe for great turkey gravy.

Brine a thawed turkey, below 40ºF, in a solution of one cup of kosher salt per gallon of water. Keep the turkey submerged. A five gallon plastic pail is a good choice of container for a bird 12 lbs. or less. For larger birds I use a cooler, lots of brine and non-reactive weights to hold the turkey under the brine. Brine for one to two days based on the size of the turkey (12 to 24 lbs.), with the giblets removed first. Oh, do not brine for longer than two days, else the saltiness will ruin the taste of the bird.

Roast the turkey at 325ºF breast side down on a roasting rack in a large roaster to assure getting moist tender breast meat. Invert the turkey for the last thirty minutes of roasting time to get a golden surface on the breast skin. Follow the chart below for roasting times.


Whole Turkey Cooked at 325º F


8 to 12 pounds

12 to 14 pounds

14 to 18 pounds

18 to 20 pounds

20 to 24 pounds

24 to 30 pounds


2¾ to 3 hours

3 to 3¾ hours

3¾ to 4¼ hours

4¼ to 4½ hours

4½ to 5 hours

5 to 5¼ hours


3 to 3½ hours

3½ to 4 hours

4 to 4¼ hours

4¼ to 4¾ hours

4¾ to 5¼ hours

5¼ to 6¼ hours

The giblets can be simmered for one hour in water and the water used later when making the gravy. We chop the cooked giblets and feed the pieces to our cats, who love them.

To make the gravy, first remove the fat from the roasting pan using a baster or by pouring off the liquid into a large bowl and using a ladle to skim the fat off the top. We lucky folks use a clear plastic separator container with a spout that comes from the bottom of the container, which makes fat removal very simple, as you can pour out the juice yet leave the fat in the separator. Return the defatted juice to the roaster.

The next step calls for the addition of chicken broth. As roast turkey is typically served with mashed potatoes the best way to get the chicken broth is to cook the raw potato pieces in chicken broth and then use that broth when making the gravy. That accomplishes capture of some vitamin C from the potatoes and also potato starch and flavor. In short, this method of cooking the potatoes leads to superior tasting mashed potatoes and superior gravy in taste and consistency.

Add one to two 14 oz. cans of chicken broth and heat to simmering temperature while using a wooden spoon or spatula to deglaze the pan and capture the drippings to help flavor the gravy. Adjust the volume with water or chicken broth based on the size of the turkey and the amount of drippings. Reserve one cup of water or chicken broth and mix in it a combination of flour and corn starch, perhaps two tablespoons of each for gravy for a 12 lb. turkey and proportionately more if the liquid volume for the gravy is higher.

Mix the flour and corn starch and water completely and then add it all at once to the gravy that has been somewhat cooled by the addition of the water/chicken broth. Bring the temperature to a boil on high heat while constantly stirring the gravy with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat and adjust the seasoning as shown below.

If you brined the turkey do not under any circumstances use salt in the gravy. Use only pepper. If you did not brine the turkey use one teaspoon of salt along with ½ teaspoon of pepper and taste the gravy. Adjust as necessary based on the quantity of gravy prepared.

The time you spent making the gravy is the amount of time the roasted turkey needed to rest prior to carving. Keep the gravy in one or more gravy boats in a warm oven while carving the turkey. Serve and enjoy.