How to roast a turkey in a Dutch oven

Dutch-Oven Turkey

2 tablespoons canola oil

Three large onions: two sliced into half-inch-thick rings and one quartered

Six large sprigs of fresh rosemary (can substitute 6 tablespoons dried rosemary)

Six sprigs of sage

Six sprigs of thyme

One 12-pound whole turkey, thawed, with giblets removed (size of turkey depends on size of oven)

One apple, quartered

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

2 cups chicken stock

Parchment paper, as needed

  1. Select a turkey that will fit in your camp-style cast-iron Dutch oven. You’ll want to leave about 1-inch space surrounding the turkey when placed in the oven. (We used a rare 20-inch Maca Dutch oven in the video above.) If you’re having a hard time fitting your turkey within the Dutch oven you’re working with, consider using a spatchcock method to roast the turkey.
  2. Place the quartered onion and apple into the turkey cavity. Rub the turkey with canola oil.
  3. Prepare the Dutch oven by covering the bottom of the oven with two onions sliced into half-inch-thick rings. Fold rosemary sprigs in half and lay around the outside edge of the bottom of the oven. Sprinkle fresh sage and thyme across the top of the onions.
  4. Place turkey in oven on top of herbs and onions.
  5. Sprinkle top of turkey with salt and pepper.
  6. Add chicken stock and cover oven.
  7. Roast turkey at 400 degrees for 30 minutes to brown the skin of the turkey. (We covered the 20-inch oven lid with hot charcoals, and made a ring of 18 hot coals underneath.)
  8. After 30 minutes, remove coals from oven lid and add fresh coals, reducing the temperature to 350 degrees. (We made a double ring of hot charcoal around the lid of the 20-inch oven.)
  9. Using an instant-read thermometer, check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the turkey (breast/thigh) every 30 minutes. Rotate oven and lid in opposite directions and replace charcoal as needed. If one area of the turkey is browning faster than other areas, cover with parchment paper.
  10. When the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 160 degrees, remove all charcoal. Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes before serving to allow internal temperature to rise to 165 degrees. Total roasting time should be about 2 hours.

Special thanks to Leslie and Steve Lovett of


  1. I also cook homemade bread in a dutch oven. I have a couple variations, but it works great. And, if you’re not at a campfire, don’t hesitate to slide it in an oven!!

  2. I have a 14inch Aluminum Dutch Oven. After removing the extras from the bird I create a pocket on each side of the breast of the Turkey. Then, I take a quarter pound of butter cutting length wise to form a wedge. That is inserted under the skin in the pocket. Then the Bird is wrapped three times in foil — ending on the top. Place it un-stuffed into the oven and place on 22 heated coals on the lid & 22 on underneath. In one and a half hours open the foil so the skin can brown. Because of the wind I had to make more coals but in 2 1/2 hours it was done. The Turkey boils in its own juices. We went to take the turkey out of the foil and had trouble. Using a pair of tongs, I grabbed a leg and got a cleaned off bone. VERY Tender. P.S. When starting my charcoals in the stack I use a few pieces of LUMP charcoal as it ignites faster. Then, I add coals only half way up. When flames can be seen I add the coals to the top. Watch the cooking time if only Lump coals are used as it burns with a much hotter temp.

  3. Placing the turkey on a wooden cutting board isn’t a wise move.

    The fresh sprigs are pretty, but expensive on a scout budget.

    Check with ALL scouts and adults before adding onion. Many don’t like it, some have problems digesting it, and it can overwhelm the rest of the tastes. Best to use sparingly or not at all.

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