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Basic Roast Turkey With Sage


Basic Roast Turkey

Basic Roasted Turkey

Basic Roast Turkey Image © Diana Rattray

I used fresh sage leaves to make this  turkey look extra-special, but basil leaves could be substituted. 

Use a blunt wooden spoon handle or similar utensil to loosen the skin over most of the turkey breast. Then tuck some fresh herb leaves under the skin.
More Roasted Turkey Recipes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: Serves 8


  • 1 turkey, about 14 to 18 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh sage leaves, optional
  • dried rubbed sage
  • dried leaf thyme
  • chicken broth or water


Heat oven to 425°.

Rinse turkey with cold water and pat dry. Place on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub all over with butter and put several whole sage leaves under the skin, if desired. Sprinkle all over and in the cavity with salt and pepper. Sprinkle lightly with dried sage and thyme. With twine, secure the wings close to the body and secure the legs together. See this tutorial about trussing a chicken. Pour about 1/2 inch of chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 325°.

Cover the turkey with foil and roast for about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours longer, until a meat thermometer or oven probe registers 175° to 180° in the inner part of a thigh (not touching bone) or about 165° in the thickest part of the breast. If stuffed, the turkey stuffing must reach at least 165° in the center. Remove the foil about 30 minutes before the turkey is done.

Photo: Diana Rattray

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