Turkey Cooking Tips

These turkey cooking tips provide a reference point for all the basics of cooking turkey: buying, thawing, cleaning and resting!

For many cooks, roasting is the best way to cook a turkey. The oven temperature stays constant while basting and checking the internal temperature is much easier to do. If you live on the adventurous side then grilling, deep frying and even rotisserie might be fun to try.

Mother giving young son kitchen tips

When buying a turkey, whether it is a turkey breast or whole turkey, the rule of thumb is to by 1 to 1 1/2 lb per person. Check your guest list for the number of people you are serving and adjust your turkey weight to fit your needs.

Cleaning a turkey

  • Remove the neck and giblets from inside the cavity.
  • Rinse the turkey thoroughly with cold water, inside and out.
  • Pat the turkey dry with paper towels, inside and out.

Thawing a turkey

The safest way to make sure it is thawed completely:

  • Place the turkey in the refrigerator.
  • Allow to thaw 1 day per 5 lbs. of turkey.

The second best way is to submerge the turkey in water:

  • Leave the turkey in the wrapper.
  • Cover the turkey with cold water.
  • If necessary, weight the turkey down to make sure it stays completely covered.
  • Change the water every 30 minutes.
  • The general submerging rule is 30 minutes per pound to completely thaw the bird.

More Turkey Cooking Tips

Use a roasting pan that fits the turkey size. The pan should be 3 to 4 inches deep with 2 inches open on each side the turkey. If it's too wide the juices will evaporate too quickly.Also be careful with the weight of the pan. Make sure you can safely lift the pan with the bird in and out of the oven.

When glazing a turkey never add the glaze until the turkey is almost done usually the last 30 to 45 minutes of roasting time. If you glaze the turkey to soon any sugars in the glaze will caramelize and cause the skin to darken and become hard.

Allow a turkey to rest 20 to 50 minutes after being removed from the oven lets the cooked meat relax. This in turn keeps the juices in the meat when carved instead of running out on to the cutting board or platter.

After carving the turkey, place it on a platter that has been warmed in the oven. This ensures that the turkey stays warm and moist for all your guests to enjoy.

We hope these turkey cooking tips have been helpful.

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