Being in charge of cooking the Christmas turkey is a big responsibility. With its long cook time and large size, the job may seem overwhelming, but we’re happy to say that with this recipe, the challenge will be much easier to tackle.

Below is a full guide on how to roast a turkey in an oven for Christmas 2017 dinner, as well as a list of all the ingredients and tools you’ll need. All necessary cook times are listed below.


  • 1 fresh, frozen whole turkey (1 person per pound. More on that here.)
  • Vegetable oil
  • A shallow roasting pan (Make sure its big enough to fit your bird.)
  • Basting brush
  • Baster
  • Meat thermometer
  • Carving knife
  • Tin foil (optional)


1. Prepping your turkey is the first, and usually the most overlooked, step. First and foremost, you need to make your your bird is properly thawed. (Follow the USDA’s guidelines on how to that here.) Now is also the time to pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Next, you’re going to have to prepare your turkey for roasting. It’s very important to remove any packaging as well as pre-packaged or loose giblets from inside the bird before placing it into the oven. You can either keep the giblets for gravy or simply toss them.

3. Next, take your bird and place it breast side up into the roasting pan. Then, dip your basting brush into a small bowl of vegetable oil and lightly brush it onto the bird. This is important because it’s going to give your turkey that crispy flavor everyone loves.

4. Then, pour a small amount of water (about one cup) to the bottom of the roasting pan.

5. Now your bird is ready to start cooking. If your oven is pre-heated to the temperature stated above, you can insert your turkey. (Look below for a full list cook times as it varies by poundage.)

6. It’s important to baste your turkey while it’s cooking. You don’t want to eat a dry bird, after all! You can use your baster and the water at the bottom of the roasting pan to do this. Do not baste your turkey more than one every 45 minutes.

Note: If you have a large turkey, it’s worth it to place tin foil on its more exposed, less thick regions halfway through cooking to avoid those sections from drying out.

7. You’ll know your turkey is done roasting when its thickest part reads at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, according to USDA regulations.

8. Finally, allow your turkey to rest outside the oven for at least 10 minutes before carving. Then serve and enjoy your Christmas dinner!

Cook Times
The following guide is for unstuffed birds. The time is listed in hours.

  • 4 to 6 lb. breast — 1 1/2 to 2 1/4
  • 6 to 8 lb. breast — 2 1/4 to 3 1/4
  • 8 to 12 lbs. — 2 3/4 to 3
  • 12 to 14 lbs. — 3 to 3 3/4
  • 14 to 18 lbs. — 3 3/4 to 4 1/4
  • 18 to 20 lbs. — 4 1/4 to 4 1/2
  • 20 to 24 lbs. — 4 1/2 to 5