1. If your turkey is frozen, thaw in the refrigerator or in cold water. When the turkey is completely thawed and ready to cook, remove and discard the wrapper. Then preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Remove the neck from the body cavity and the giblets from the neck cavity. Then drain the juices and blot the cavities with clean paper towels to remove excess liquid.
3. Just before roasting, stuff the neck and body cavities lightly, if desired. DO NOT OVERSTUFF. Then turn the wings back to hold the neck skin in place and return legs to a tucked position. No trussing is necessary.
4. A handy turkey lifter comes with some brands of turkey. Place this special string cradle on a flat rack in a 2-inch deep, open roasting pan, then place the turkey, breast side up, on top and bring the loops up around the turkey. Do this before putting the turkey in the oven. When the turkey is ready to be carved, use the loops as handles to lift the turkey from the pan.
5. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lower part of the thigh next to the body, not touching the bone.
6. Brush the skin with cooking oil or spray with cooking spray to prevent the skin from drying. Further basting is unnecessary.
7. Wash preparation utensils and your hands in hot, soapy water following contact with uncooked turkey and juices. Make sure to thoroughly clean work surfaces to avoid cross contamination.
8. Roast at 325 degrees. For approximate cooking times, see our Roasting section. When the skin is light golden brown, about 2/3 done, shield the breast loosely with a piece of lightweight foil to prevent overcooking.
9. Check for doneness 30 minutes before turkey is expected to be done. Turkey is fully cooked when the thigh’s internal temperature is 180 degrees. The thickest part of the breast should read 170 degrees and the center of the stuffing should be 165 degrees.
10. When done, let the turkey stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.