Main Dishes Recipes

How to Roast Half a Turkey

Let’s talk turkey! With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’re already thinking about what to do for dinner. I know first-hand that roasting an entire turkey can seem intimidating though. What size turkey do you need? Fresh or frozen? If you buy frozen, how much time will it take to thaw? How long do you need to roast it? How do you carve the turkey?

Luckily, Canadian Turkey has all the info you need, helpful resources, and how-to videos gathered in one place with their Whole Bird How-Tos. Easily figure out what size you need, thawing time, and cooking time with the simple to use Whole Bird Turkey Calculator.

Many families do the big traditional get together and roasted turkey dinner with all the fixings, but of course this isn’t always the case. What do you do when you’re celebrating the holiday with just one or two friends or family members? A whole turkey makes sense for a large family dinner, but when you’re planning a smaller celebration, even the biggest turkey fan can have a hard time polishing off an entire bird with leftovers on their own. For smaller families, roasting a half turkey is just as delicious and festive as serving a whole bird.

For smaller families, empty nesters, or romantic couples, roasting a half turkey is just as delicious and festive as serving a whole bird. Here's how!

The simplest way to do this is to buy one whole fresh or frozen turkey and ask the butcher to cut it in half for you. If you buy fresh, freeze the other half for next time, or if it’s already frozen, just defrost the half you need and leave the other half in the freezer for next time.

Classic Roasted Half Turkey

Canadian Turkey
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Servings 4


For turkey

  • ½ turkey 3-4kg
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 6 large carrots
  • one bunch fresh rosemary
  • 3 large garlic cloves unpeeled
  • ½ cup white wine optional
  • ½ cup chicken broth 1 cup if omitting wine

For rub

  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tbsp ground rosemary
  • 1/2 tbsp ground thyme


  • If your bird is frozen, place it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost.
  • Pat the bird dry with paper towels.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Rub both sides of the turkey with olive oil.
  • Combine all spices to make a rub. Sprinkle generously onto both sides of the bird.
  • Slice your onions roughly into 1-inch rounds. Peel and wash the carrots.
  • Pour wine and chicken broth into your roasting pan. Line the bottom with onions, whole carrots, unpeeled garlic cloves, and rosemary sprigs. Place the bird on top of all the vegetables, cut side down.
  • Cook the turkey for 1 ½ - 2 hours until cooked through. Test for doneness with a meat thermometer. Turkey should reach an internal temperature of 170°F (77°C) in the breast and 180°F (82°C) in the thigh.
  • Remove turkey from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.
  • Enjoy!


Make quick and easy homemade gravy to serve with your bird: Take your pan drippings and skim all but a few tablespoons of the fat away. Pour into a saucepan. Unpeel the garlic. Add the garlic and half the cooked onion to the saucepan. Blend with a hand blender. Combine 1 tbsp cornstarch with ½ glass of milk until dissolved. Add to the saucepan. Stir over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat until mixture thickens and serve in a gravy boat.
Whether you’re serving dinner to the entire extended family or enjoying a quiet dinner for two, turkey is the star of any holiday table. There are so many options in addition to a traditional whole bird, making turkey the perfect centrepiece for your Thanksgiving tradition no matter your circumstances.

For smaller families, empty nesters, or romantic couples, roasting a half turkey is just as delicious and festive as serving a whole bird. Here's how!

Wondering what to do with leftovers? Canadian Turkey has you covered there too! Check out their Recipe Page for unique turkey recipes and delicious ideas for leftovers.

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. Your experience may differ.

Leave a Comment


  • The turkey mango salad sounds like a delicious way to use up any left overs – that is, if there are left overs.

  • The Canadian Turkey that would provide a great meal solution for my family is TURKEY, BROCCOLI & ALMOND SALAD because it has all the ingredients my family love.

  • A wonderful coloured salad like TURKEY NICOISE SALAD WITH SUNDRIED TOMATO DRESSING is a perfect way to ensure even the pickiest of eaters will eat and enjoy the vegetables they should have in their diet.The flavour of turkey is perfect with its stronger flavour, to balance our the taste of some of the more intensely flavoured veggies.

  • MY favorite recipe would be the turkey club BUT without the spicy mayo because I already have to take pills for acid reflux lol

  • I love having turkey and after you roast a really big one the best part is that you can cut up the rest and put it in the freezer. This really helps with meals that you have to prepare in a hurry because it is so easy to simply add the pre-cooked turkey from your freezer to pasta for a quick and healthy meal

  • The Canadian Turkey that would provide a great meal solution for my family is The Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Turkey Wraps. It ‘s delicious and healthy!

  • Shredded turkey tacos? Yummo! I like freezing turkey leftovers to throw in stirfrys for unexpected company who sometimes show up at our house.

    I was told by a ‘only chicken eating’ child that it was the best chicken he had ever had. I said thank you! I can help with poultry awareness later on 🙂

  • I like the sounds of SWEET & SPICY OVEN-FRIED TURKEY DRUMMETTES as a meal solution for our family because the drumsticks fit into our budget and the kids love them. Also we all love a little spicy!! 🙂

  • I like the turkey tortilla recipe. I think that would work for our family because there are always lots of leftovers and this would be a different way to use them.

  • The TURKEY, BROCCOLI & ALMOND SALAD sounds scrumptious.We love salads and are always looking for a new and delicious way to have one.Thank you for all of these fabulous recipes. 🙂

  • The turkey wraps are a meal solution for us because they are quick and easy to make. And can be wrapped and taken on the go.

  • The BBQ Turkey Club would be a great solution for bagged lunches for our family. Always looking for ways to use left-overs for lunches and this sounds so yummy!

  • Wow! the BBQ Turkey Club with Spicy Mayo picture is making me so hungry! I would love to try this one and I think everyone in my family would love it. Sandwiches aren’t just for lunch and especially with all those ingredients!

  • Slow cooker Turkey Breast would be great because we are camping this year and this would make cooking our turkey so easy since we don’t have an oven.

  • The Thai Turkey Wonton Cups are a beautiful and healthy dish for my family because it’s low in fat and the turkey is nutritious! The wontons are a fun and interesting shape!

  • I love turkey but not my husband, so I would make something like the TURKEY & MUSHROOM NOODLE CASSEROLE and then he would eat it!!

  • I absolutely love the SWEET & SPICY OVEN-FRIED TURKEY DRUMMETTES. Simple, easy and baked, not fried. Perfect way to enjoy a tasty meal even during the week with less calories and lots of flavour

  • I love the smoked turkey wrap. It is a healthy option for my family because the recipe uses spinach tortillas and and light cream cheese. A great healthy meal without being to filling

  • We love turkey and eat it a lot year round, not just thanksgiving, I love it because it’s great and can be used for other meals for days on end. We love making turkey noodle soup, turkey quesadillas, turkey Rubens, anything you can think of and we put turkey in it.

  • My favourite turkey meal is roasted turkey with vegetables. Its a great meal solution as all 5 of my kids eat it, and i can make yummy soup with the leftovers

  • The HONEY-SRIRACHA TURKEY & BLUE CHEESE QUICHETTES would be a meal we would enjoy combined with a salad. The recipe makes enough that there would be leftovers for my hubby’s lunches.

  • I like the idea of barbecue-ing a whole turkey! I’ve only ever had them roasted in the oven but bbq’ing it looks really simple and delicious! Our family loves bbq so we might need to try this 🙂

  • After roasting a turkey and enjoying it as the first meal solution, there are so much more solutions that can be made with turkey from that point on. Usually, I start a hearty turkey soup and then perhaps a turkey stir-fry. The possibilities are endless.

  • Love the turkey tortilla recipe, there are always lots of turkey left overs to freeze. We always make turkey soup, sandwiches and a turkey pot pie.

  • As the weather cools off I love to make Turkey Soup and/or Turkey pot pie. I love the fact that I can serve my family turkey and vegetables all in one dish and they absolutely love it! Easy and nutritional, life is good!

  • Turkey Taco Pizza would be a great idea for our family because we all love pizza and I know this would all be “gobbled up” .. LOL .. with no leftovers.

  • My turkey meal the basic turkey stuffed with delicious stuffing, provides lots of left overs that I love to make into other things. Pot pies our my favourite turkey solution.