turkey recipe
Find out just how to make a turkey dinner for Christmas. Pictured, a Hurricane Katrina evacuee takes a turkey breast out of its packaging on Nov. 23, 2005 in Camp Springs, Maryland.  Alex Wong/Getty Images

For some, it’s not enough to have turkey only on Thanksgiving. If you’re planning to cook a holiday bird for Christmas dinner 2018, we have the easiest four-step recipe for you to follow.

The following recipe, cook times, tips, and ingredients are a culmination of Butterball and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service's (FSIS) guidelines, as well as our own findings. This guide is for roasting a whole, unstuffed turkey.


  • A fresh or frozen whole turkey (Follow this guide to figure out how many pounds you'll need.)
  • Vegetable oil (2-3 tablespoons)


  • Shallow roasting pan (2.5 inches deep)
  • Meat thermometer
  • Carving knife
  • Cutting board
  • Baster (Optional)
  • Tin foil (Optional)

Oven Cook Times:

The following cook times are provided by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. This guide is for unstuffed turkeys.

  • 4-8 lbs. - 1 1/2 to 3 1/4 hours
  • 8-12 lbs. - 2 3/4 to 3 hours
  • 12-14 lbs. - 3 to 3 3/4 hours
  • 14-18 lbs. - 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
  • 18-20 lbs. - 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
  • 20-24 lbs. - 4 1/2 to 5 hours


1. To begin, set your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, you can begin to prep your turkey. You’ll want to start this recipe with a properly-thawed turkey.

2. To get your bird ready for roasting, remove any packaging or innards. Place the bird breast side up into the roasting pan. Then, take your vegetable oil and generously pour it over top of the bird.

(Tip: You can use your baster to cover the bird with the oil and its own juices several times throughout the cooking process. Don’t do it too much, though, as opening the oven door too many times can severely slow down the cooking process.)

3. Once your oven is pre-heated to the correct temperature, you can put your bird into the oven to begin cooking. You’ll know the turkey is done and safe to eat once it has an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit .

(Tip: If you notice certain parts of the turkey getting overcooked during the roasting process, you can place tin foil on the more exposed areas.)

4. Allow your turkey to rest on the counter for 10 minutes before cutting. Slicing your turkey too soon will make the bird lose its delicious juices. Then, eat and enjoy! Merry Christmas.