Perfect Roast Turkey With Bacon

Perfect roast turkey with bacon recipe

​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic

Cook: 5 hrs
Total: 5 hrs
Servings: 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
761 Calories
34g Fat
21g Carbs
90g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 761
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 43%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 309mg 103%
Sodium 3547mg 154%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 90g
Calcium 78mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Roasting is simple: you put what is being roasted into a hot oven and cook it until it is done. For some reason—a desire for juicy white meat and a reasonable fear of less-than-cooked poultry flesh—roasting a holiday turkey has been turned into something way, way more complicated that it needs to be. Find an easy and supremely delicious way to roast your turkey below.


  • 1 (8- to 12-pound) turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt per pound of turkey
  • Optional: 2 leaves sage
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1/2 pound bacon, pancetta, or prosciutto (thinly sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups ​broth (chicken, or tawny port or turkey stock)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for roast turkey with bacon
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  2. Rub the turkey all over with the salt. It will seem like a lot of salt. It's okay, most of it will fall off before it ever sees the inside of the oven. Rub some under the skin on the breast and thighs, and all over the bird and inside the cavities.

    Rub turkey with salt
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  3. Put the turkey in a large bowl or roasting pan, cover, and chill for 24 to 72 hours. This pre-salting will help the bird be flavorful and hold onto its own natural juices when you roast it.

    Wrap turkey
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic 
  4. A day before you plan to cook the turkey, uncover it, pour off any juices in the bottom of the bowl or pan, pat it dry, and chill uncovered. Leaving the turkey uncovered will help the skin dry out a bit which will help you get that wonderfully crispy skin we all love on a roasted bird.

    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F. Pat the turkey dry. If using the sage, work the sage leaves under the skin on the breasts and thighs.

    Pat turkey dry
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  6. Rub the turkey all over with the butter.

    Rub with butter
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  7. Place the celery stalks in the roasting pan—these will keep the turkey raised off the bottom of the pan without the hassle of a roasting rack, but you can also use one instead.

    Place celery in roasting pan
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  8. Lay the bacon, pancetta, or prosciutto all over the turkey breast. They will help protect the white meat from getting overcooked, naturally baste the meat as it cooks, and provide the chef with a lovely little snack before having to carve the bird.

    Lay bacon down
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  9. Put 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the pan and put the whole thing in the oven.

    Add water to pan
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  10. After 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350 F and gently baste the turkey, being careful to not disturb the bacon, with 1/2 cup of the port or stock. Repeat basting every half hour, using the pan juices when you run out of port or stock.

    Add stock
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  11. Roast until a thermometer reads 170 F at the base of the thigh or 160 F at the thickest part of the breast.

    Take temperature
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  12. Remove turkey from the oven, tent with foil, and let sit in a warm place for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before carving. This time will allow the meat to finish cooking, let the juices settle back into the meat, and give you time to make the gravy and finish up the rest of the meal.

    Cover with foil
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  13. Carve, serve, and enjoy!

    Carve and serve
    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic