6 to 8 cups prepared bread stuffing, cornbread stuffing or other stuffing of your choice
4 to 6 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and position the oven rack to the lowest level.
Remove the giblet package and neck from inside the bird. Set these aside for giblet gravy. Check both the neck cavity and body cavity for giblets; often these are stored in both places.
Pat the turkey dry both inside and out with paper towels. If desired, the turkey may be rinsed inside and out with cold running water and patted dry.
Rub the neck and body cavities generously with salt.
Prepare stuffing according to recipe or package directions. Place the stuffing in a microwave-safe bowl and heat at full power for 6 to 8 minutes, until it reaches 120 to 130 degrees. Loosely pack the body and neck cavities with the stuffing.
Close the neck cavity and secure with skewers or toothpicks. Close the body cavity and secure with skewers. Fold the wing tips under the back of the turkey. Tuck the legs under the band of skin near the tail, or tie together with heavy string.
Place the prepared turkey, breast-side-up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, and generously brush the skin with melted butter or vegetable oil.
If an oven-safe meat thermometer is used, insert it in the center of the inside thigh muscle, making sure the bulb does not touch bone.
Roast uncovered according to the stuffed turkey roasting chart for your size turkey, or until the temperature as measured in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 175 to 180 degrees and the stuffing has reached 160 to 165 degrees.
When the bird is two-thirds done, cut the band of skin or string between the legs so thighs will cook evenly.
Remove turkey from the oven, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 20 minutes before carving. Remove the stuffing before carving.
Always stuff the turkey just before roasting – never ahead of time.
Never pack the turkey with stuffing straight from the refrigerator. It should be at least room temperature, and preferably hot. Warm it in the oven or the microwave just before using.
Take the temperature of the stuffing by plunging the stem of the thermometer deep into the body cavity. The stuffing must reach 160 to 165 degrees in order to be safe. If the turkey tests done before the stuffing, remove the turkey from the oven, scoop the stuffing into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees while the turkey rests before carving.
Basting is not necessary if using a turkey labeled "pre-basted," or self-basting," but can be done, if desired.
Try to match the size of the pan to the size of your turkey. If the pan is too deep it will shield the thickest part of the turkey thighs from the heat causing them to cook unevenly.
The turkey breast can be tented with aluminum foil (shiny side out) to prevent it from browning too fast or overcooking. Remove the foil during the last 45 minutes of roasting. The back part of the oven is usually the hottest, so placing the turkey with the legs toward the back and breast toward the oven front may also be helpful.
Best results will be obtained if heat is able to circulate completely around the turkey, so be careful not to overcrowd the oven with other dishes baking at the same time.
A turkey can be roasted at a higher oven temperature (see High-Heat Roasted Turkey) but, for safety sake, do not use a temperature lower than 325 degrees.