How to Make a Roast Turkey

Thanksgiving tradition calls for a roast turkey recipe, and even with all the fun new ways to mix things up, it's hard to beat a classic. Roasting a big bird is also one of the easiest ways to feed a large crowd. We've got roast turkey recipes to try, along with the gear you'll need, ways to baste a turkey and how-to turkey cooking videos.
THE BASICS
roast turkey

There's nothing like the aromas that waft from the oven when you're making a Thanksgiving turkey recipe, kicking off the anticipation for the holiday meal. Choose your recipe first, then watch how-to cooking videos for test kitchen turkey tips and more.

 
GEAR UP

To make roast turkey for Thanksgiving, you'll need a roasting pan, roasting rack, heavy-duty foil and instant-read meat thermometer, plus something to help baste the bird like a bulb baster, cheesecloth, basting brush or large spoon.

 
FOUR WAYS TO BASTE A TURKEY
roasting baste

Use cheesecloth. Cheesecloth cuts back on the number of basting applications. Soak it in the basting liquid (try the classic combination of melted butter and white wine) and drape it over the bird before roasting. Baste the cheesecloth with the pan drippings once it begins to dry out. Discard the cheesecloth during the last 15 minutes of roasting to let the turkey skin brown and get crisp.

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Use a basting brush. The bristles will get into every nook and cranny of the bird.

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Use a bulb turkey baster. A baster -- which fits easily between the slats of a roasting rack without disturbing the turkey -- will suck up the pan juices. Squirt the juices all over the turkey.

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Use a large spoon. Every kitchen has one! Scoop up the juices and drizzle over the bird. Whichever method you use, the breast needs the most attention.

HAVE IT YOUR WAY

Think of roast turkey as a blank canvas waiting to be painted. Here are just a few of the unlimited ways to boost flavor:

Buffalo-Style
roasting turkey your way

Baste with a mixture of butter and hot sauce during the last hour of cooking.

Herbs and Wine
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Tuck a paste of herb butter and garlic under the skin and add splashes of wine to the roasting pan for basting.

Good 'n' Fruity
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Baste with fruit juice, then slather with a glaze of preserves during the last half hour of cooking.

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