Perfect Roast Turkey


  • 1 Turkey, 16-20 pounds (previously brined in a salt bath) 
  • 1 Yellow Onion, quartered
  • 2 Celery Stalks, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 4 Parsley Sprigs
  • 3 Tbs. Herbs de Provence 
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 3 Sticks Unsalted Butter
  • One Bottle Dry White Wine, such as Chardonnay
  • 1 Piece Large Cheesecloth
  • Kitchen Twine 


  1. Remove neck and giblets from the turkey. Rinse turkey inside and out, pat dry with paper towels, and let stand at room temperature for one hour.
  2. Place  the oven rack in bottom third of oven and heat oven to 425°F.
  3. Melt the butter and mix with the bottle of white wine to make basting solution.
  4. Place half of the Herbs de Provence, onion, celery, and parsley in the body cavity of the turkey. Truss the turkey with kitchen twine. Brush the outside of the turkey with the basting solution. Sprinkle remaining Herbs de Provence along with salt and pepper to taste on the outside of the turkey.
  5. Place the turkey breast side down on a buttered roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes, basting half-way through.
  6. During the high-temp roasting period, fold the cheesecloth in fourths (making a multi-ply piece large enough to cover the turkey) and soak in the basting solution.
  7. After the 30-minute high-temp roasting period, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Remove the turkey. Use a pair of large tongs or heat-resistant kitchen mitts to turn the turkey over to be positioned breast-side up on the roasting rack. Wring the excess liquid out of the cheesecloth and place the cheesecloth over the breast of the turkey. (It should go down the sides and can cover some of the legs.)
  8. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast (careful to stay away from the bone). Place the turkey back into the oven for a low-temp roasting period. Baste the turkey every 30-minutes with basting solution. Roast until the breast meat reaches a temperature of 165°F (approximately 175°F in the thigh), following time and temperature guidelines to ensure safe cooking for the turkey. (I recommend downloading this linked chart.)
  9. Once turkey has reached the fully cooked temperature, remove it from the oven, discard the cheesecloth, and place on serving platter or cutting board. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and rest for 30 minutes before carving.
Amy Parker
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