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How to make the best Oven Baked Turkey

Ready for the Holidays? Crush it this year by making the best oven-baked turkey you have ever had with my Sage Butter Roasted Turkey recipe.

I made my first roasted turkey back in Hawaii. At the time, it did not occur to me how long the process was until I was presented with the enormous turkey but I enjoyed it and learned a lot from doing it for my first time. Also, I realized that the key to making a juicy, and delicious turkey is the stuffing. Make sure to put stuffing ingredients that contain at least 50% to 75% water like onions, and apples. The juice gets soaked up by the turkey which makes it juicy.

Pro tip:

One more thing, putting sage butter under the skin helps in keeping the meat moist and tasty. The sage aroma made the house smelling really delicious, hehe. The ingredients of this mouthwatering dish are easily accessible at your local grocery store. Now, join me, and let’s roast a turkey!

Easy Turkey Recipe - How to bake Turkey in the Oven


  • 12 lb whole turkey (I used the Butterball all-natural brand)
  • 3-4 quarts water (for thawing)

Turkey Stuffing

  • 3 stalks lemongrass, tie firmly in a knot
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced (I used the sweet onion. Any type of onions work just fine)
  • 2 small apples, sliced (I prefer the organic gala apples. Any type of apples work just fine)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

Sage Butter

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 bushels fresh sage, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

Black Pepper and Salt Mixture

  • 1/3 cup freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup coarse kosher salt (or rock salt works just fine)

Items You’ll Need

  • 1 roasting pan, 17″x12″
  • 1 roasting or wire rack
  • An oven thermometer
  • A spatula
  • Some paper towel


Thaw the turkey:

Thawing turkey

Thaw the turkey in cold water for 10-12 hours the day before. Place it in the fridge after thawing until ready to use.

Preheat the oven:

preheat oven instructions for turkey

The following day, preheat the oven to 300°F/148°C if using the CONVECTION MODE. If using a CONVENTIONAL oven, preheat to 375°F/190°C.

Prep the stuffing:

Prepare the stuffing ingredients by slicing them and putting them in a mixing bowl. Put aside for later. To make the sage butter, place the softened unsalted butter in a separate mixing bowl. Add the chopped fresh sage and the minced garlic. Mix well to combine. Set aside for later. In a cup, mix the freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt. Then set aside for later use.

Prep the Turkey:

prepping turkey

Put the thawed turkey on a cutting board and pat dry using a paper towel (you may rinse the turkey if you prefer). Rub the salt and pepper mixture inside the cavity. Carefully cut the fat under the skin to make an opening (front and back). Make sure you DO NOT puncture the skin. Generously put the sage butter under the turkey’s skin. Then rub the salt and pepper mixture all over the turkey. Put the remaining sage butter inside the cavity. Then stuff the cavity with the stuffing ingredients. Do not forget to stuff the neck area too. Insert the excess skin into the neck to prevent spillage. Pour and rub some extra virgin olive oil all over the turkey.

Cook the Turkey:

placing turkey in the oven to cook

Transfer the turkey to a roasting pan with a roasting or wire rack. Put it in the preheated oven and begin roasting for 3 hours at 300°F/148°C when using CONVECTION mode (if using a CONVENTIONAL oven, roast for 3 hours at 375°F/190°C). Check the turkey every hour and rotate the pan if using a CONVENTIONAL oven to get an even color (NO need to do this if using CONVECTION mode). Pour more olive oil as needed so the turkey does not dry out. Roast again for 2 more hours. After 2 hours check the turkey again and add more olive oil and salt and black pepper mixture as needed. After 3 hours pull the turkey. Insert the oven thermometer to check the temperature. Make sure it registers at 180°F/82°C. Then remove the turkey from the oven. You may eat or discard the stuffing as a personal preference. Serve warm with your favorite side dishes like mashed potato, gravy, stuffing, etc. Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this Classic American Recipe check out my video on how to make Pasta Salad.

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Sarah Johnson
Sarah Johnson
Sarah Johnson

Super moist! I never thought to put lemon grass in my turkey. Great Recipe!