How To Roast Turkey

Make this Thanksgiving one to remember with our classic Roast Turkey recipe. With its durable cookwell and large interior, your NESCO 18 Qt. Roaster holds up to a 22-pound turkey to feed the entire family. The perfect Thanksgiving doesn’t have to take you hours in the kitchen. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying tender, juicy meat that goes perfectly with Grandma’s gravy.

Your Key Ingredient

NESCO 18 Qt. Roaster Oven

Grocery Ingredients

One 14 to 22-pound turkey, fresh or frozen
Poultry seasoning
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp browning sauce such as Kitchen Bouquet® (optional)


How to Thaw Turkey

Completely thaw turkey before roasting. The National Turkey Foundation recommends thawing in the refrigerator. Allow about one day for every five pounds of turkey. For example, a 20-pound turkey would thaw for 4 days.

  1. Place turkey in original wrapping in a shallow pan. Rinse in cold water before roasting.
  2. To thaw turkey quicker, keep it in original wrapping, place in sink with COLD water. The COLD water must be changed every 30 minutes and must completely cover the bird. For example, a 20-pound turkey would thaw in 10 hours

How to Roast Turkey

  1. Preheat 18 Qt. NESCO® Roaster Oven to 400° F. If you have a 12 Qt. NESCO®, a maximum 14-pound turkey is recommended. Cooking times (per pound) remain the same.
  2. Clean and rinse turkey. Pat dry. Remove neck and giblets. If desired, prepare separately.
  3. Place turkey on rack. Use a pastry brush to spread mixture of butter and browning sauce evenly over turkey skin. Season with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  4. Determine length of roasting time, normally 15 to 20 minutes per pound. A stuffed turkey will add 30 to 45 minutes to total roasting time. Stuff cavity, if desired. Cover. Roast one hour at 400° F.
  5. With baster, remove any liquid and fat from cavity of bird and cookwell. Set aside to make gravy. Brush bird with basting liquid or butter mixture. Reduce temperature to 350° F. Roast for remainder of cooking time.
  6. Use baster, to remove any liquid from cavity of bird and from cookwell when cooking time is about half-way through. If dry, baste turkey with basting liquids. If turkey isn’t as brown as you like it, increase temperature to 400° F. Roast remaining portion of time.
  7. Use lift handles on rack to remove turkey. Be careful – rack will be hot. Set turkey on a platter or cutting board. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. If turkey is done early, reduce temperature to 200° F until serving time. Note: Roast turkey until internal temperature of meat reaches 180° F on meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh muscle.
  8. Save juice to make gravy or as a base for soup. Variation: For extra flavor, add 1/4 cup apple or orange juice concentrate to butter basting mixture. If you choose not to stuff it, a sliced onion or a little garlic inside cavity of turkey also gives it a nice flavor. For complete information, please check