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How to Cook a Turkey

From prepping and basting to roasting and carving, get all the tips you need for your bird.

How to Roast Your Turkey

VIDEO: See How to Cook a Turkey >>

Cooking a turkey is actually surprisingly easy. To prepare the turkey for roasting in the oven, first remove the giblets (and save for gravy or stuffing). Next, rinse the bird inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.

  • If you are stuffing the bird, stuff it loosely, allowing about ½ to ¾ cup stuffing per pound of turkey.
  • Brush the skin with melted butter or oil. Tie drumsticks together with string (for stuffed birds only).
  • Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point towards the body, and should not touch the bone.
  • Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven. To determine how long to cook a turkey, use this chart to estimate the time required for baking.
  • Bake until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but helps promote even browning.
  • The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (75 degrees C) at the thigh.

Get roasting times, recipes, turkey tips, and videos!

Other Cooking Methods

Roasting a turkey is the easiest cooking method: the oven remains a constant temperature, and it's easy to baste the turkey and check the internal temperature periodically. But for the adventurous, grilling or deep-frying a turkey provides a different experience and frees up your oven for other dishes.

Learn more about these cooking methods:

Ready to Eat

The only reliable test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin. The turkey is done when the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (75 degrees C) at the thigh.

If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing. The stuffing should be 165 degrees F as well. When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20 minutes.

Finishing Touches

After resting at room temperature, the juices are redistributed throughout the turkey and the meat stands up to carving better--the juices stay in the slices, rather than on your countertop.

Transfer the turkey to a cutting board to rest and use the drippings in the roasting pan to make gravy. Use a sharp knife for carving and serve the meat on a warmed platter.

Have more questions? Get the answers to the most commonly asked Thanksgiving Cooking Questions.

Find all your favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

    Becca Broadbent 
    Oct. 12, 2009 10:15 am
    I don't have access to a meat thermometer, is there anything to be done about making sure it's done?
    Oct. 17, 2009 9:33 am
    Becca, my mother went by the rule that the turkey was done when the juices running from deep in the thigh is clear. In my experience this has been true.
    Nov. 4, 2009 5:36 am
    Should the turkey be cooked breast up or breast down?
    Nov. 7, 2009 10:04 am
    Double D, If you are a stickler for having the perfect looking bird to pull from the oven and put on the table, bake it breast up. If you're like me and are more concerned with the flavor (I carve mine in the kitchen and bring the meat to the table) then I recommend breast down. I have experimented with both, and it always seems more moist, even the next day, when cooked breast down.
    Nov. 7, 2009 10:07 am
    I also have found the baking bags to be wonderful replacements for the foil. Although, if the bag rests on the skin while it's cooking, it will stick and mess up the "centerpiece display" turkey. Maybe uses a few tooth picks to keep the bag away from the bird if appearance is a concern for you.
    Nov. 7, 2009 11:02 am
    I need a recipe for cooking a 14 lb turkey that will be really tastey this is only my second turkey I've ever cooked. All recipes would be greatful
    Nov. 8, 2009 4:22 pm
    Last year I brined my first turkey and it had no flavor, it even seem to lose that great turkey taste!! I don't know what I did wrong but it was the worst turkey I have ever made??? I would like to try again this year but dont want to end up with a blah turkey again?? Any suggestions??
    Nov. 15, 2009 12:49 pm
    This is my first year making thanksgiving dinner i have no clue even where to start cooking a stuffed turkey any help?
    Nov. 16, 2009 12:28 pm
    Hey you first-timers, way back when I was a young girl starting out, I was sooooo nervous about making my first turkey. My mother-in-law taught me a neat trick that I still use to this day. I take a generous amount of mayonaise and slather it well, and add sage, pepper, & salt to the top and it turns out perfect. I ave since played a round a bit with it and combine spices IN the mayo and slather it then, works very well too. Cook the turkey covered until the last hour of cook time. I am now 46 and have NEVER had a dry bird. Good luck everyone!
    Nov. 17, 2009 12:54 pm
    I just purchased a new convection oven. I have never roasted a turkey using convection before and am wondering how much of a difference time wise there is. I normally cook a 20 lb-er, stuffed. Any ideas or pros and cons?
    Nov. 17, 2009 3:44 pm
    I do not cook my turkey at 350 degrees it is too hot and dries out the bird. I cook it at 300 to 325 and use a foil tent and use only butter instead of oil. I also cook it 20 minutes to the pound and 20 minutes over. I do not like to make my stuffing in the bird. Does anyone have a really great homemade stuffing recipe or can recommend one? Thanks!
    Nov. 17, 2009 3:45 pm
    NOELL4F, you might want to try roasting a chicken in before Thanksgiving to see how it works.
    Nov. 18, 2009 1:14 am
    An easy way to cook a turkey is turn your oven on 500 deg till the temp light goes out, then put your turkey in for an hour. Then turn off the oven - leave the turkey in for 5hrs. Comes out juicy and done, it's hard to believe but true.
    Nov. 18, 2009 7:01 am
    I learned a wonderful tip years ago to make the juciest turkey you will eat, and will never cook my turkey any other way... Cook the bird upside down. All of the jucies from the dark meat goes down into the breast and makes the it so tender and mouth watering turkey ever!
    Nov. 18, 2009 9:23 am
    This year will be my first time cooking a turkey for my family, we have always gone to other family members homes but this year i decided to have out own celebration.....the video was very helpful. If anyone has any advise for me please email me at thanks......
    Nov. 18, 2009 10:27 am
    Thank you so much!
    Nov. 18, 2009 11:04 am
    I have been cooking for a long time and come from a long list of women who have also been cooking for a long - as we all have, I'm sure - and when it come to meat- I am convinced - the trick is in the temperture. Slow cooking meat brings about all of the juicy flavor. For a turkey 300 to 325 - tops!
    a girl in AZ 
    Nov. 19, 2009 9:44 am
    For the first time, I am cooking the turkey for our family dinner. Unfortunately, the turkey we have is prebasted w/ broth and salt, so brining is not an option, according to most sources. If it's prebasted, what should I do to make it moist? When my mother cooked the turkey she used the oven bag method, which usually resulted in a dry turkey-the most disappointing part of the meal. I may have limited choices because of the turkey I have, but would flavor injecting be a good choice for a turkey that has already been injected? Would a butter rub be best? Suggestions much appreciated.
    Nov. 20, 2009 8:09 am
    I've been cooking thanksgiving dinner for about 10 yrs now and have discovered to get the bottom cooked u have to cook it breast side down first for about 2hrs - then breast side up the last 2hrs. I normally get a 10-12lb turkey & separate the skin from the breast & baste that way - always juicy & full of flavor & seasoning - use butter all of the time, never oil - its worked with all meat cooked this way for the past 3 yrs - thank God as my step mother constantly complained - UGH - good luck ladies =)
    Nov. 20, 2009 11:19 am
    I am using an electric roaster this year for the first time. How long per pound and does anyone have any seasoning hints?
    Jem Holmes 
    Nov. 20, 2009 7:45 pm
    Best stuffing is done in the slow cooker! Have cooked turkey for years and this is by far the best. Crumbs, sausage, celery, onion, poultry seasoning, thyme, sage mix it together, add 1 TBSP Turkey Boullion (paste sold in a jar by the spices) moisten the stuffing with chicken broth (low sodium). 1- 1.2 hours on low. add broth as it cooks to ensure a moist stuffing.
    Jem Holmes 
    Nov. 20, 2009 7:46 pm
    forgot to add that the sausage, onion, celery should be sauted first.
    Nov. 20, 2009 8:49 pm
    I have been roasting turkeys for over 20 years. I've used the oven bags as well as the roasting pan with tented foil over the turkey. Last year I once again used the roasting bag and I unintentionally put the turkey in upside down. Didn't realize my mistake until the turkey was through cooking. It was the moistest turkey we've ever had! I will cook my turkey upside down again this year - on purpose!
    Nov. 21, 2009 5:40 am
    This will be my first thanksgiving dinner on my own. I was wondering if anyone had ever cooked a turkey in an electric roaster? Im not planning on cooking a larger bird, so I was trying to make it as easy as possible on myself! I have 4 kids, so easy is better! Any advice would be great! Thanks so much. Happy thanksgiving and cooking!
    Nov. 21, 2009 5:47 am
    Every year, my dad and I always wake up in the morning to start making the turkey, this will be the 2nd year that I haven't been back home for thanksgiving..what my dad had taught me was to keep the turkey moist was to pour chicken broth and baste the turkey every hour in it that way it would be moist when done and ready to eat.
    Nov. 21, 2009 7:29 am
    Okay folks, let me add my 2-cent's worth. As a chef, I've cooked a lot of turkeys, and planned a lot of Thanksgiving dinners. This year we're having about 30 over to eat. Yes, it is important for everything to come out just perfect; however, if you make yourself sick worrying about it, then it's not going to be a fun time... at least not for you. I could go over all the things I do to make Thanksgiving a success; however, this site has just about everything you need. Start by planning the menu: Decide what you need and the ingredients needed to make all your dishes. Make a shopping list and have fun getting all the ingredients. Get your house ready, clean the place up, and even set the table a day or two in advance. Make things that can be made in advance; like cranberry sauce, pumpkin pies, etc. Get the turkey in the brine the day before, and then go to bed. Wake up, get in your kitchen and just plain have fun. If you're planning on eating at 3:00PM, have a list of your dishes
    Nov. 21, 2009 11:08 am
    Sous Andy, with all due respect...and i do respect you as a chef, however; I'm guessing you have no children or you have a nanny. I would make myself sick worry about doing all the things you just mentioned. With my two kids running around and another on the way and cooking for Thanksgiving...I'm thinking my table would look awfull if I set it a few days before. :) lol I'm going to follow some of these quick and helpfull tips ...such as cooking breast side down to keep the uices instead of brining..(no room) great tip!! I will make the most out of it and give my kids some fun "helpfull" things to do. But all in all I'm guessing you may have more fun than the average home chef :) Happy Thanksgiving!!
    Nov. 21, 2009 2:58 pm
    I agree with Sous Andy. I always begin with lists--a list for my menu, then grocery list, then what I can do ahead of time and on what day to do it. That way, I can enjoy my guests and not have to worry about the little things. Don't try and and remember everything in your head, people. Do the lists! And like Andy, relax. If you're happy, your guests and family will be happier, too. I'm pusing 60 so have done a lot of turkeys. They're not that difficult. Happy Holidays!
    Nov. 21, 2009 6:11 pm
    I agree with Dee - relax and have fun. We have a small house and kitchen yet we routinely host our large family (more than 20). To get everything done, I have to cook things the day before and finish on Thanksgiving. Without the lists Dee mentions (and Sous Andy before), we wouldn't get it done and on the table. For all you first timers, relax. Thanksgiving is for family time! When I started out I stressed big time about everything being perfect but my family cares more about the fact that we put on "the day" and enjoy being together than having the perfect meal. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
    Kim A. 
    Nov. 22, 2009 6:12 am
    Coming from a family of 9, Thanksgiving was always a big to-do in our house, as well as my Mom's favorite holiday. So when I moved out and started doing my own at the age of 18, I was a bit intimidated for my first Thanksgiving. But I went with my Mom's recipes and it all worked out great. We use the giblets in both our stuffing and our gravy so if your not into them, go with your own recipe, there's a lot of good ones on this site also. I buy chicken gizzards because theres never enough in the turkey, I cook them in chicken broth. The biggest trick is: Do most all of your prep work a day or two in advance. Get all your chopping and slicing and dicing out of the way, you won't have time on the day of the Holiday. I always found the most important ingredients were onion and celery. I was dismayed to move to California and couldn't find Brownberry Sage and Onion croutons but now that I'm back in the midwest, I have everything I need for my perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Oh..and a side tric
    Nov. 22, 2009 2:08 pm
    I purchased an electric roaster about 4 years back so that my singe oven would not be monopolied by my turkey. It is the BEST thing I ever did. I always use the roaster, usually set up on my dryer! I rub my bird with butter, put some broth in the bottom of the pan and baste every half hour after the first hour.I always cook the bird breast down, then turn it over the last 30 minutes to brown. I add some poulty rub to the broth. Cook the bird for 20 minutes per pan in the roaster. Have fun, it isn't hard! (Oh, and I will sometimes just put a halfed apple and or orange in the bird prior to roasting.
    Nov. 22, 2009 2:12 pm
    Sorry, my typos above: Single oven, and 20 minutes per pound. I love my roaster and highly recommend one at Thanksgiving -plus, you can cook the bird directly at work if your workplace is having a feast.
    Nov. 22, 2009 6:04 pm
    I would like to roast my 17 lb. turkey overnight. Any suggestions? Good idea about roasting breast side down.
    Nov. 23, 2009 4:16 am
    Andy is right. Plan, but have fun. The things that can be done ahead save time and your sanity. Stuffing is a no brainer. Even really good stuffing is something that can be made ahead of time. Pumpkin pie, green bean casserole and candied potatoes can all be madee ahead and reheated perfectly - no nanny required. I have a small kitchen and pull it off every year. Of course. I do use a seperate steam coooker for the turkey. But even before,I still pulled it off. email me if you need help, as I am going to be alone with the hubby this Tday. I already made my 4 loaves of sourdough french bread. (in fact, I have starter going out of my mind. so if you are in California - in El Dorado County- I can pass some on!! we are by ourselves this TDay. !
    Nov. 23, 2009 9:41 am
    This will sound crazy, but last year I ran across an article by someone on the web who roasts the turkey breast side down, and then turns it over to brown the last 30 minutes or so. The idea is that the juices run into the breast and keep it moist and tender. It works! I'm doing it again this year.
    Nov. 23, 2009 11:36 am
    This site is great! Just tumbled accross it this morning in an attempt to learn how to make a good turkey, and I love all the advice I've gotten just scrolling down everyone's comments. This is our FIRST Thanksgiving at our house, and my first attempt at a turkey, and I am stressed beyond belief. Since my husband can't take off, we're not travelling to visit family and instead having some friends/hubby's coworkers over. There was going to be about 8 of us, but all of a sudden, there is going to be 18! and I will be at home by myself and our two toddlers that day trying to get everything done :) Someone is bringing pumpkin pie and one other people mentionned a green bean casserole, but other than that, I'm on my own :) I have desserts prepared in advance, but what about mashed potatoes for example, can that be reheated? Seems like it would be as good. Anyway, Denise! You mentionned something to someone about emailing you for help! Can I do that too ;) ? sourdough french bread sound
    Nov. 23, 2009 12:19 pm
    Does anyone know how long to cook a 12 pound stuffed turkey breast? Thanks! (This is in addition to the 26 pound turkey, now you know everyone goes for the white meat!)
    Nov. 23, 2009 12:57 pm
    I would like to offer my spanish speaking employees turkey making instructions. Last year I bought everyone turkeys and my spanish speaking employees looked at me like I had lost my mind. They didnt know how to cook it. Can anyone help?
    Nov. 23, 2009 2:06 pm
    To sadietoo - yes,mashed potatoes can be reheated, even in the microwave. Best is if you can bring them to room temperature and then after you take the turkey out of the oven, put them in the oven to re-heat. Ditto for sweet potatoes.
    Nov. 23, 2009 4:33 pm
    Pam, My husband always cooked our turkey overnight- He would place it on a rack and put musherooms, onions, peppers and about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan, (great base for the Gravy) Cover with aluminum foil, bake at 200 -225 an hour before you want to serve it, remove foil- turn oven to 400 and brown the skin- The only problem with it is the turkey falls off the bone lol
    Nov. 23, 2009 6:37 pm
    Want a great TASTING and great LOOKING turkey? Use kitchen bouquet. You get near the gravy. It is in a little bottle and looks like brown food coloring. It will give your turkey great flavor and make it picture perfect. Just use it as you would oil or butter. Infact i use it on my turkey with butter pepper and sage. Stuffing tip- if you want giblet flavor but dont want giblet chunks. Place in blender with chicken broth and make a paste. Then mix in with your stuffing.
    Deborah J. 
    Nov. 23, 2009 9:48 pm
    I get stressed getting ready for Thanksgiving but I try to remember that I am doing this for the ones that I love and that helps me do what I have to do. Thanksgiving is for thinking of all the things we are thankful for and I am thankful for having love ones and for having a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. Remember to reach out to those who might not have what you have. Invite someone over who might not have a hot meal. You will be blessed beyond belief.
    Nov. 23, 2009 9:58 pm
    Hi, for my family the best stuffing is: 1 lb ground beef , 1 lb ground pork , 1 cup raisins,1 cup pecans and 1 cup of each one diced carrot,celery,onion, ham, and to taste salt, honey and brown sugar. 1) Brown both meats then add everything but the honey and brown sugar, if need it add little bit of water and simmer for about 30 min then brown sugar and honey to your taste.
    Nov. 24, 2009 6:20 am
    I am a listmaker..even to setting the time to begin each dish. It is a compliment that all our family (with add-ons) want to come home for this special day. So we set up tables, use china and take 3 days to get ready and 3 days to clean up! I expect about 30-35 this year, and I do get stressed sometimes, but everyone pitches in and tho my kitchen is small (oh how I would love a big one) everyone from age 92 to little ones are welcome. Have a blessed Thanksgiving, everyone...this is a great site to help with all your fixins.
    Nov. 24, 2009 6:31 am
    Just to be clear.. what does 20 minute per pound mean exactly.. and how should I baste the turkey after its already been cooking?
    Nov. 24, 2009 9:42 am
    dose stuffing the turkey change any thing about cooking up side down? This is my first year cooking a turkey and would like to make it great. It's a fresh 24lb bird.And is butter so much better than oil? and why?
    Nov. 24, 2009 9:44 am
    I was all so told to rub butter between skin and the meat??? dose this help?
    Nov. 24, 2009 10:35 am
    Nov. 24, 2009 10:41 am
    Does it make a difference if I brown my turkey first before I start cooking or is it better to brown it after? I've had people tell me browing first is best and others that browning last is best. Had anyone tried both ways and had better results with either way?
    Nov. 24, 2009 12:18 pm
    Question: I am cooking my first turkey this year using the Rosemary Roasted Turkey Recipe on here. I want a juicy turkey so will start out cooking breast down, but when you cook breast down, do you still use a rack? is a rack a must have? Thanks!
    Vi's daughter 
    Nov. 24, 2009 4:05 pm
    for the past several years I have cooked my turkey at 450 an it has been very moist. I season a 15 lb turkey with 2 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 black pepper, sprinkling in cavities and on the skin. I also rotate the turkey in the oven when it is half done. Let stand for 30 minutes before carving. I also cook my mashed potatoes and stuffing in crock pots, they turn out delicious and it frees up my oven and I get to enjoy the football games and family.
    Nov. 24, 2009 4:43 pm
    My friend is a chef and I asked him once about cooking a Turkey overnight. He highly recommended I do not do this because it is unsafe. He said the lowest recommnded temperature to roast a turkey would 325 degrees. He said slow cooking it at a lower temperature is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and if the turkey is stuffed the danger is even greater.
    Nov. 24, 2009 4:52 pm
    I want to try cooking my turkey breast down this year, do i do it for the same time or does it need to cook longer or shorter?
    Nov. 24, 2009 8:43 pm
    I do a lot of smoking and have cooked several turkeys at a maximum temperature of 200. I have never had a problem with bacteria in the smoker or oven. Bacteria is killed at when cooked at 150 degrees for 10 minutes. Most turkey recipes are called for an internal temp of 165 but if you are cooking a turkey overnight at 200-225 it will reach a temp of 190-200. Most of mine that I cook will reach 190 and with the proper length of time the meat will be tender, juicy, and delicious, falling of the bone. Be wise though, if you don't feel comfortable cooking at lower temps then don't. You don't want to put your family at risk. God bless and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
    Nov. 25, 2009 6:55 am
    I am a nurse and have to work til 1 am the night before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving day. Can I cook my Turkey at a lower temperature all night so it is ready in the morning.
    Nov. 25, 2009 9:23 am
    Last year I made my first turkey and I just used an oven bag and rubbed Emeril's turkey rub on it and it came out perfect. I don't remember what temp I cooked it on but it was juicy and delicious so that's what I'm doing this year. :) Good luck!
    Nov. 25, 2009 9:59 am
    This might sound weird but I always coat the outside of the turkey with Apricot yoghurt (and the usual seasoning) before cooking. Learnt it from my Mum. Have also used Peach or Mango when I couldn't find Apricot and it works well. I use a big roasting pan and, along with a little white wine and some chicken broth, I add 7-Up or Sprite to the juice on the bottom of the pan. The yoghurt seals in the flavor and sweetens, and the soda helps to tenderize (so I've been told). It works every time. I cook at 325 for 4-5 hrs, uncovering for the last hour to brown and crisp the skin. I've been told my turkeys are the best.
    Nov. 25, 2009 4:08 pm
    I really need some advise please, I have a 43lb turkey that I am cooking for thanksgiving and I have no idea how long to cook it for. Any help? Also do you think it would be okay to stuff it? Thanks in advance.
    Nov. 25, 2009 5:10 pm
    For the first time this year, we're roasting the turkey on Wednesday and reheating in gravy on Thursday. Sure is nice to get the mess out of the way ahead of time, and since we have friends who've been doing this for years, we decided to give it a try.
    Nov. 25, 2009 7:43 pm
    Noreen, A few years back I cooked a 37 Lb. turkey and it took 7 1/2 hours. I also had to remove juice from the roaster every couple of hours or the juice would have boiled over. Had an abundance of gravy tho!
    Nov. 25, 2009 7:53 pm
    hi everyone...sounds weird but years ago someone told me to peel a onion..i hate onions...and put it whole inside the was my first one!!! in a brown paper bag rolled o the end!! well it was the best turkey i have ever had!! 350 20 min er pound browned perfect!! took out onion and son will never eat anyhing touched by a onion you cant tell it but...jucey VERY VERY TENDER AND JUICEY!!!
    Nov. 25, 2009 9:13 pm
    Can I cook a stuffed turkey upside down?
    Nov. 26, 2009 2:35 am
    ltognoli re: "spanish speaking employees" I just had to comment, just had this conversation with a friend, we don't make turkeys, we start on our Christmas Tamales! I am making a turkey for only the 3rd time in my life just because I'm too tired to make tamales. Now THAT's work! Thanks to all for your great advise, it'll be nice to just pop dinner in the oven and just wait for it to cook!
    Nov. 26, 2009 4:57 am
    Has anyone ever tried the french cooking method of placing your turkey in a paper bag? Does a real good job, real tasty too!
    Nov. 26, 2009 9:42 am
    I have been using the same method for several years now that I saw someone else post. I was reticent at first because it seems like a crazy idea, but it makes the best turkey. Preheat to 500, make sure you have plenty of liquid in your pan because it's going to steam, cook turkey for 1 hr then turn off the oven & DO NOT open the door!!! I usually do this around 10pm & then just let it sit in the oven until morning. My turkey always comes out perfect, usually falling off the bone, but I plate mine sliced so it's no problem here.
    Nov. 26, 2009 5:43 pm
    You guys are great! I actually got more info that I understood from here...thanks!!
    Dec. 15, 2009 6:22 am
    Out of all these methods, I found the most reliable way for a moist turkey is to deep-fry it. We did both a roasted and a deep fried for Thanksgiving, but the deep-fried went first. A site that is all about it is Bonus is the left overs (if you have any) are great.
    Dec. 20, 2009 11:59 am
    Denise in El Dorado County CA! Saw your note about a sourdough starter and I would love to get some from you... I have never made sourdough bread before, love it & know a little about the starter process but would appreciate learning directly from someone w/ experience. I am in Placerville & can be reached at Thanks everyone for the spirited discussion about how to roast the best bird!
    Dec. 20, 2009 7:05 pm
    So I am making my first Turkey for Christmas and I want to do it in My roaster I got for Christmas last year. Igot great tips but I don't have a bag do I need it is there any way to do it with out the bag????
    Dec. 21, 2009 5:17 pm
    Quick question about brining! I'm interested in a recipe that uses champagne, apples and an herb rub for roasting. I also like the sound of the citrus turkey brine I just looked up on this site. Do I combine both methods? I'm worried that I'll end up with a salty turkey. I mean, is brining meant to stand alone or are you supposed to add more seasoning the next day when your're ready to roast your turkey? And if I don't have a bag will this affect the flavor at all? I'm a little nervous, this is my first turkey!
    Dec. 21, 2009 5:22 pm
    This will be my very first turkey. Im doing the "A Simply Perfect Roast Turkey" recipe from this site. Which is basically just basting every half hour and using a foil tent. I will not be stuffing my turkey. My big question is how long will a 9lb turkey take using this method? The only complaints people had with this one is the timing being way off. Anyone know???
    Dec. 25, 2009 9:19 am
    I always stuff my turkey with sliced onion and celery. It keeps the turkey very moist.
    Dec. 25, 2009 12:32 pm
    I always cook the turkey till it smells done, then take it out. Maybe it's luck but it's always been great. Does anyone else do this?
    Dec. 25, 2009 12:34 pm
    To the person asking about a bag, I've never used one. They may work great but it can also work just fine without in my experience.
    Dec. 27, 2009 5:40 am
    One tip about brining your turkey. Because there was no space in my refrigerator, I Mixed my brine solution & poured it over the turkey in a 5 gallon industrial type water cooler,followed by a 5lb bag of ice cubes. After 10 hrs the cube were still keeping the turkey cold. I read all of the hints and I'll try some of them. Thanks.
    Dec. 31, 2009 7:30 pm
    hi! i just made my turkey last night for a new year dinner. it is soooo great for a 1st timer such as i.this site really helped me a lot. thanks for the people behind this site. by the way, i'm from the Philippines and a turkey on the media noche is so rare. i just took the risk in makinig one and all is worth it, everyone in the family enjoyed it. keep it up guys. i'll use more of your recipes. MABUHAY (",)
    Dec. 31, 2009 11:53 pm
    Hi every one, I would like to try the brown paper bag method, help please. Thanks
    Apr. 4, 2010 6:35 am
    I use an electric roaster and preheat to 450. fill the bottom with chicken stock and pour a little over the turkey. Turn heat back to 325 and cover. Let it go for the required time. You will have a brown moist turkey. I got mine 5 years ago and it now travels for the holidays. Everyone wants to borrow it and your kitchen stays cool and your oven is free. GREAT TURKEY
    Aug. 12, 2010 10:37 pm
    T U R K E Y
    Aug. 18, 2010 5:44 pm
    dvargas wrote: My friend is a chef and I asked him once about cooking a Turkey overnight. He highly recommended I do not do this because it is unsafe. He said the lowest recommnded temperature to roast a turkey would 325 degrees. He said slow cooking it at a lower temperature is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and if the turkey is stuffed the danger is even greater. My reply: That is absolutely untrue. As long as the internal temperature of the bird reaches 165 degrees, all harmful bacteria will be killed. You could cook the thing at 170 if you cook it long enough! Angelcdp wrote: I always cook the turkey till it smells done, then take it out. Maybe it's luck but it's always been great. Does anyone else do this? My reply: No! Thats really not a great method for cooking anything. The turkey could smell great after 2 hours but still be raw inside. Pick up a kitchen thermometer and stick it in the thickest parts of the breast and thigh till' it reads 165.
    Sep. 19, 2010 4:06 am
    Great hints but where is the required internal temp for a turkey to be done? I have a probe in my oven which works great but I need to recommended temp. HELP!
    Sep. 20, 2010 2:18 pm
    Hi lcasy. Cook turkey to an internal temp of 165 degrees F. (Insert the probe where the thigh meets the body, not touching the bone.)
    Oct. 11, 2010 7:32 am
    is it safe to stuff a turkey and cook it the night before and then leave it in the oven all night.
    Nov. 3, 2010 8:12 pm
    Ive read about the whole cooking breastside down thing,but i wanted to know if ill need to cover it and will to place it on a rack or in a roasting pan without one?
    Nov. 6, 2010 10:22 am
    I woud like to know, I bought a roasting pan that goes on the counter top that I make the turkey in. Ony it doesn't get stays very, very ight. Does anyone know how I can get my turkey to turn brown and look good?? Thank you al!!!
    Nov. 8, 2010 1:51 am
    Last year a friend and I did our first Turkey and it turned out PERFECT! We had a 15lb bird that I brined overnight in a ratio of 1 cup kosher salt to 1 gallon of water and a large thing of honey. Since we were pretty much unprepared and limited to what we could get (residing in S. Korea) we put the turkey in a pan, coated it with a mixture of a little bit of honey and (we didn't do a ham) some pineapple juice. We added basil under the skin and put slices of pineapple inside of the turkey. Then we poured about 1/2 in. of pineapple juice into the bottom of the pan (don't do this if you want normal gravy). Korean ovens are alot smaller than your average american oven so our bird took about 8hrs to cook. We did 1hr at 400*F then the rest of the time at 250*F until it was done. Since we didn't have a thermometer, when we could see the meat pulling away from the bone we used the "juices run clear" technique and it was done. It wasn't dry AT ALL even for microwaved leftovers the next few day
    Nov. 8, 2010 7:38 pm
    Can you bake the turkey ahead of time and reheat? If so, how do you go about that?
    Nov. 13, 2010 4:59 am
    I am baking my turkey for tomorrow today and I am cooking and slicing it today. After slicing it, I will put some broth on the turkey to keep it moist. Reheat in a shallow pansin a preheated 325 degree F. oven. Cover loosely if required to stay moist. It takes about 30 minutes per inch of depth.
    Nov. 13, 2010 5:00 am
    I am cooking my turkey too in a reynolds oven bag. Its so easy and keeps the turkey so moist! No need to baste it every 1/2 hr.
    Nov. 15, 2010 9:49 am
    TRACY MARTIN Here is a great stuffing recipe, I do not know if it is traditional or normal I just know that my MOM made it my whole childhood and it is the only one I make so it is all I have to go off of. So start with: boil one whole chicken in seasoning of choice I use garlic, onion powder, pepper. once done let cool and shred all meat set aside(save broth). bake 4 boxes of jiffy brand cornbread. place cornbread in crockpot, add sage(your taste preference) to broth then pour over cornbread to make it pasty not watery, two eggs mix them in well helps to keep it together then add chopped onion and celery amount is up to you, last add the shredded chicken and turn on the crock pot. I cook it until it is done to my likeing cripy on top and still moist. I know taht this recipe is not well written or explained just mix it all up and taste it then add more seasoning if needed. I love it my kids love it and everyone that I have ever shared it with loved it. Hope you enjoy it a
    Geri W 
    Nov. 15, 2010 5:40 pm
    I'm here looking for ideas on cooking my turkey the day before but I see some concerns about getting to the table hot. Last year, to my families amusement, I made a project timeline with the final goal to serve the food hot at a certain time. I used a spreadsheet and worked backwards using 15 minute intervals in the columns. I listed everything from starting the turkey to cutting the veggies and setting the table. I assigned help to anyone who was around. It worked great and was way fun and easier than just looking at a list.
    Nov. 16, 2010 7:53 am
    Can I make my stuffing the day before and then stuff the turkey with it before turkey is baked or must I keep stuffing separate when I reheat it?
    Nov. 16, 2010 10:43 am
    How many of you prefer brining to just ordinary seasoning & roasting? Anyone out there that has tried both and likes one better and why?
    Nov. 16, 2010 10:14 pm
    pmkleinjan: I had this problem a few years ago. I kept waiting for the thing to brown and it was totally done and 190 degrees. The next year, I used a kitchen torch. Works great!
    Nov. 17, 2010 6:58 am
    These "turkey tips" are leaving out the most important tip. Always..ALWAYS....cook your turkey breast side down. The fat from the dark meat runs into the breast for extra juicy turkey every time.
    Nov. 17, 2010 7:53 am
    I've been making turkeys for years using the oven bags. I've always used a disposable roasting pan and the turkey has rested on the bottom of the pan. It always taste great--but the dark meat rests in the juices and is a bit messy. This year I have a beautiful roasting pan with a rack. Can I set the turkey in the reynolds bag on the rack? Anyone do this?
    Nov. 17, 2010 7:59 am
    With any roast, I always start (preheat) at a very high temp to like 425-500 for about 30 mins or so, or until I hear sizzling to seal the juices in, then turn oven down to 325. (breast side up)Always, always turns out perfect! & I have been doing this for many years. Make sure you let sit for 20 or so mins so the juices run through, & makes for easier carving!
    Nov. 17, 2010 9:17 am
    For years I have been using a large grocery bag, oiled on the inside to roast my turkey. I use large paper clips to fold and seal the end. I cook it at 400 degrees for about 2 hours. (Check with thermometer). When almost 165, I tear open the top for the last 15 minutes. The turkey is moist and the juice for gravy is mostly contained in the bag.
    Nov. 17, 2010 12:48 pm
    In my experience, you should start cooking the turkey with the breast side down. then, after about an hour of cooking, flip it over to breast side up and continue cooking. You can also place bacon slices on the turned-up breast to add flavor and maintain moisture. As for cooking a stuffed bird, I would recommend you heat the stuffing in the microwave first. This will give the stuffing a head start, and it won't slow down the interior cooking of the bird.
    Nov. 17, 2010 12:52 pm
    And the FDA and every food safety expert in the world says DO NOT WASH YOUR BIRD. You will most likely end up contaminating your sink, your counters, your faucet, the floor, etc. The bacteria will die in the overn. No need to wash the bird first.
    Nov. 17, 2010 1:32 pm
    I have used the "Perfect Turkey" recipe from this site for 3 always comes out succulent. Even the leftovers are moist days later. I double up oven baking bags to brine overnight in the fridge. (I don't use the oven bags to cook in though.) The meat isn't salty, so don't be afraid to use the full amount of kosher salt. I do flip the bird breast up at the end like the recipe calls for. I follow the recipe with a few tweaks...I add lots of fresh sage inside the cavity (thyme is good but sage smells and tastes like Thanksgiving to me) & sprinkle a little no-salt poultry seasoning on the outside. If I have some fresh yams & apples, I'll chunk up a couple inside the bird too with the other veggies. Be sure to use a good wine that you'd drink...the gravy is to die for. I pureed some of the carrots, onions & celery to add to the gravy drippings. Resting before you carve is really, really important. The juices go back into the meat. Make your gravy and bake your rolls while it's rest
    Nov. 17, 2010 1:44 pm's better to stuff your bird with veggies & herbs & cook your stuffing separately for safety.
    Nov. 17, 2010 1:49 pm
    clewis, I've brined for 3 years. Will brine again this year. See my notes above.
    Nov. 17, 2010 2:50 pm
    In response to brooke. Last year I made my turkey in an electric roaster and it turned out great. I even made it over night and it was so good and juicy.
    Judy A 
    Nov. 17, 2010 3:15 pm
    Almost every turkey recipe I've seen this year says to roast @ 350. Folks are in such a hurry these days but some things should not be rushed. Higher temperatures toughen & dry out meat! 300 to 325 PLEASE!! I'd like to try roasting upside down part of the time then turning it breast up....I cook a 20+ lb. bird which barely fits in my roasting the heck does one go about turning a hot, 20 lb. bird which is stuck to the sides of the roasting pan over without a major disaster? Maybe I should just cook it breast down for the whole time. One tip for doneness: when the leg wiggles easily is what my mama always said before the days of instant read thermometers or built in tender timers...but really, meat thermometers are dirt cheap! Go buy one!
    Nov. 17, 2010 3:25 pm
    Hi, we've recently found out we are allergic to sage, so my mom's recipe I've always used and loved is no longer...Does anyone have a traditional stuffing recipe without sage or poultry seasoning?
    Auntie Pat 
    Nov. 17, 2010 7:06 pm
    For those that want a "traditional" turkey, but not the USA version, try from another country. This year we are making a Greek turkey just for the variety of it. The "Greek" part is the stuffing which has citrus zest and juices from tangerines, oranges and lemons, ground pork and beef, chestnuts, pinenuts, rice, raisins, brandy, buter and broth. No Sage! The rest of the recipe is traditional for everyone. Also, Rachel Ray suggested using two 10-pound birds instead of a 20-pounder to save your cooking time. Good idea. Also, you can cut up the one bird and display the other one until more meat is needed.
    Nov. 17, 2010 7:41 pm
    Teresa, there is a recipe for Rosemary Roasted turkey on this site that does not use sage. Another idea, thyme always tastes delicious with any chicken or turkey.
    Nov. 18, 2010 4:04 am
    I anm using a fresh turkey this year about 15 pounds does anyone have any tips. Is there any different way to brine handle roast.I'm a little nervous.
    Nov. 18, 2010 6:28 am
    I'm too am using an electric roaster for the first time this year to save oven space. What do I do to get a moist, yet still nicely browned bird in a roaster?
    Nov. 18, 2010 7:47 am
    Must turkey's now a days have a popper already inserted to tell you it is done.
    Nov. 18, 2010 9:13 am
    This recipe is very simple and provides great results. Follow the directions and keep it simple. Your turkey will come out moist and flavorful! Cooking a turkey is simple. I am amazed at the folks who try all of these exotic ways to cook a turkey that end up tasting really lousy! Keep it simple folks.. it will also keep down the stress!!!
    Nov. 18, 2010 9:50 am
    I am doing an 18 pound turkey in my electric roaster and want to use a cooking bag. I have to take the lining out of the roaster to make it fit. Will this work?
    Nov. 18, 2010 5:40 pm
    Heyy everyone! Im cooking a 19 pound turkey this year! I helped last year and I cant find the recipe so I need help!! I remember we used celery and onions and used butter to keep it moist. But I dont know how long or what temp. to cook the turkey on? SO can someone pleaseee help we're doing our Thanksgiving this weekend so Im at a lost! Any more tips thankss everyone!
    Nov. 19, 2010 8:23 am
    I always use a bag for my turkey and it never comes out dry, make sure you are looking at the temp and getting it out at 165. I also iject a mixture of wine/sprite/citrus and put butter under the skin. Periodically "plucking"mthe bag will keep it from sticking (and yes the sprite sounds wierd but its a tip I got years ago and it really seams to work) :)
    Nov. 19, 2010 9:28 am
    Just a few days ago I read that if you cook the turkey the day before you should debone it I can't find that tip now
    Nov. 19, 2010 4:49 pm
    I saw that a question was asked about a convection oven, but it was not answered. I also have a convection oven but need to know at what temperature to cook a turkey ( 22 lbs) and for how long.
    Nov. 19, 2010 4:57 pm
    No bag needed in the electric roaster. Remember to take bird from freezer in advance and allow to thaw IN THE REFRIGERATOR. Check instructions on turkey bag for length of time needed to thaw. Put enough water UNDER the liner pan until the liner just barely lifts and rocks in place. Press pan down with your hand to push out any excess water now and wipe it up. Too much water will make it splash out and make a mess. Turn roaster to 500 degrees so it can begin preheating while you prepare the turkey. Remove giblets to cook separately. Peel large yellow onion then cut in quarters. Cut base of celery about 3-4 inches long. Use the tops for other recipes. Wash base thoroughly but do not separate into stalks. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the turkey. Put the chunks of onion and celery inside the turkey. Now is the time, too, to insert 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh sage, thyme, and rosemary if desired. Rub all over skin with butter or vegetable oil. Sprinkle bird with salt and pepper
    Nov. 19, 2010 5:00 pm
    Oops, should have said if you DON"T WANT a brown-top turkey, cover with foil. Sorry. Still yummy!
    Nov. 20, 2010 9:05 am
    Can I use a cooking bag in my electric roaster for my turkey. Is there any advantage to using one?
    Nov. 21, 2010 4:46 am
    This will be my second turkey. Don't want to talk about the first one. So here is my question: Where, exactly, is the thigh?
    Nov. 21, 2010 8:12 am
    Brine your turkey for around 24 hours. I make a brine of water, salt, brown sugar, apple juice, cranberry juice, lemon juice, garlic powder, nutmeg, onion powder, molasses, and cloves. Boil the water, juices, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, nutmeg, and molasses until all the salt, sugar and powders are completely dissolved. Add your onions and let completely cool before submerging your turkey. I do mine in a large ice chest. Remember to keep adding ice to keep the brine temp at around 40 degrees. I then BBQ my turkey using my secret method that I invented 20 years ago. It's so almost need goggles to carve it.
    Nov. 21, 2010 9:27 am
    ChloeTheLab...the thigh is right above and attached to the drum stick.
    Nov. 22, 2010 5:18 am
    No one seemed to answer the question about cooking a turkey in a convection oven.. am also interested in how long you would cook a 20lb bird in one
    Nov. 22, 2010 1:00 pm
    If you want the moistest turkey, try microwaving the bird. We have been doing that for 18 years and all of our guests say that they have NEVER had turkey that moist. After the bird is cooked, we put it in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes to brown the skin. It looks as good or better than one cooked only in the oven. Try it, trust me you'll be amazed!!!
    susie Boniger 
    Nov. 23, 2010 5:06 am
    we cook our turkey in an electric roaster in a turkey bag any suggestions on how to have a crispy skin do i open the bag at the end of the cooking time and for how long any help is appreciated
    Nov. 23, 2010 10:54 am
    I am going to brine my turkey. How long should I cook it in the rosater and what tempature?
    Del F 
    Nov. 23, 2010 11:53 am
    I like to stuff my turkey with apple and onion wedges that have been tossed with a little cinnamon and cloves ,brush the outside with melted butter and honey.Roast at 325 20 minutes per pound Basting every 30 minutes with more butter and honey. Old Celtic way of roasting poultry.
    Nov. 23, 2010 3:48 pm
    I brine my turkey for 24hours, no more. I will not taste right if you do. Then I preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slather the bird with butter, put fresh sage under the skin with more butter. Fill the cavity with apples, onions, and celery. Place the bird on a rack. Put more apples and onions in pan, with white wine. Put the bird in the oven and watch it carefully until it starts to brown. This 400 degree oven seals the skin and seals in all the juices (kind of like searing a steak) . Take out of the oven, turn oven down to 325 degrees. Cover turkey and legs with bacon. Put tin foil tent over turkey and put back in oven until the bird is done. My mother has been doing this for 30 years and I have now done this for 5 years. It is the best turkey I have ever had and everyone always wants to know how I get my bird so juicy. Good luck!
    Nov. 23, 2010 7:39 pm
    Great idea to roast the bird breast down, am going to definitely try it. My secret is to blend seasonings into softened butter, make a roll in saran wrap and freeze it. The day I make the bird I unwrap the butter, cut slices of it and shove it under the skin of the bird everywhere I can reach. Excellent flavor and it self bastes itself. Can't wait to try it upside down this year! Thanks everyone and have a wonderful holiday!
    Nov. 23, 2010 10:10 pm
    cdowns, this is my 2nd time doing a turkey and the first one came out good, everyone loved it....I seasoned it with garlic (about 20 cloves), 1/2 cup of oil, of oregano and sazon for color and adobo everything is half a cup..and I added sofrito you can get this in the supermarket...I put all these ingredients in a blender. First the garlic and the oil..then I add the rest of the ingredients.Rub this all over the turkey also make small holes into the turkey and season in there too also under the skin that gives a lot of flavor. After you have season the turkey then spread butter all over..With this tip I'm sure your tukey will come out delicious good luck.
    Nov. 24, 2010 12:53 am
    Nov. 24, 2010 9:58 am
    Here is a tip for mom's...our family has a tradition we adopted by accident when my oldest two children were 3 and 4 and got lonely with me locked in the kitchen: Let the kids make a dish. Some sides are super kid friendly to make. Banana Pudding is a great kid friendly dish and the bananas can easily be cut with a plastic butter knife.(my 8 year old has a secret ingrediant...Bananas lol) But with us having five kids in ages 18 to 8 we "cycle" the kids out, each has a dish they have made for years, and we get the added bonus of one on one time before the big event. The kids love it and the one time I offered to do it all, even Daddy got upset! Don't stress...the food is the iceing for the holidays,the family is the cake ;)Have fun, enjoy yourself and no matter what it WILL be perfect.
    Nov. 24, 2010 11:58 am
    Okay so some tips I love 1. Cook breast down then switching to breast side up (wish me luck flipping the bird over) 2. Fill cavity with onions, carrots, and celery 3. The day before, melt butter and add spices to the butter, then freeze butter again... The day of, cut slices of butter with the added spices and put all over under the skin The only thing that wasn't clear was whether or not to have foil from the beginning and then take off the last 30 minutes.... or place foil over bird sometime in the middle of cooking (I'm guessing after it gets flipped over to breast side up) and then taking it off 30 mins before cooking is done. Also, no basting? And should I add a can of chicken broth to the bottom on the pan under the rack for some more moisture? Still, I am excited to see how my 11lb'er comes out tomorrow! I am thinking this is pretty simple. I made my first turkey for Christmas last year and it wasn't a huge failure, it tasted alright, but I didn't cook
    Megan Peter 
    Nov. 24, 2010 12:31 pm
    I actually got this recipe last year from several old timers that have dealt with trying to cook a wild turkey. If anyone knows anything about wild game, know that it is usually dry and tough, it's how it's cooked that makes the magic. Since we like to eat at noon, we usually start the bird at 6am. You'll need: 4-5 large apples, 2 med. onions, 2 packages of bacon, 1 turkey 1. Slice up about 4-5 large apples. Slice onions (optional). 2. Chop about half a package of bacon into three pieces per slice. 3. Cook bacon and onions together until cooked through, but NOT crispy 4. Take your *cleaned* bird and fill the cavity with the cooked onions and bacon, as well as the sliced apples. 5. Tie the legs of the bird together 6. Take the rest of the bacon and wrapped the slices of bacon around the turkey's legs, and drape them over the back, and everywhere that there is exposed turkey. 7. Cover with foil and roast the recommend amount of time (see top of page for chart), at 300. For
    Nov. 24, 2010 8:57 pm
    Freaking out a little. It is 11pm and I'm cooking my first turkey tomorrow. I'm sure everything will be fine but I want to thank you all for the comments...I think you will all have saved the day for me tomorrow. Either that, or we'll all enjoy the ham that my mil is making too. :)
    Nov. 24, 2010 9:57 pm
    I'm using a bag for my turkey this year and read the directions after I put it in. Do I have to flour the inside of the bag? Should I put liquid in there ? I did put butter and seasoning all over it. Is that enough?
    Nov. 25, 2010 5:26 am
    I really hope Doittome is kidding. And, I hope I don't know you, if you aren't because if I have eaten at your house I think I will be sick. If you were kidding...roflmao. "I like to wash my turkey In the bath tub with me" ewww! "to get that magazine bronze look rub a good amount of copper tone spf 4 on it," HAHAHA!!
    Nov. 25, 2010 5:47 am
    mjolnirman - "to get that magazine bronze look rub a good amount of copper tone spf 4 on it" hahahahahaha you totally made my morning!!
    Nov. 25, 2010 5:59 am
    I had to toss my roasting rack last year and did not remember until this morning. duh. Anybody have any suggestions on how I can McGiver a rack for my turkey?
    Nov. 25, 2010 6:33 am
    Based on comments here, I am considering trying breast down cooking @ 325* this year. Does this work with a stuffed bird too?
    Nov. 25, 2010 8:05 am
    To Lori .. If you brine your turkey, it will be juicy any way you place it. However, if you don’t brine, start with the breast side down. The steam from the pan will keep the breast meat nice and moist, especially if you use a short stock underneath the bird while cooking. At half way point, turn it over so you end up with crispy skin. If you have a full sized V-rack to use during the cooking process, I prefer to keep the breast towards the front of the oven so the direct heat conducted along the back wall of the oven doesn’t dry the breast out while the rest of the turkey cooks. This method is extremely important if you use a convection air oven because the heat fan usually sits directly in the center of the back oven wall and blows toward the center where the food is.
    Nov. 25, 2010 8:10 am
    to lillulu - I strongly dis-advise against using any other item or engineered method for a rack. Most items are not as food safe as people may think and could contaminate the food during long cooking times under heat and pressure. However, if you do chose to create a rack be sure to completely wrap everything you use tightly in food safe aluminum foil.
    Nov. 25, 2010 8:23 am
    to Darlene- I partially answered the question about the convection oven above to Lori. Cooking times really depends on the weight and overall size of the turkey. However, the main point to consider about convection ovens is the fact that they cook with forced air towards the center of the oven. So your cooking time can be shorter. With a full sized turkey this usually means you can reduce the overall cooking time by about 2 to 5 minutes per pound.
    Nov. 25, 2010 9:58 am
    lillulu, use a cookie cooling rack!
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:26 am
    I learned a LONG time ago to not stuff your turkey in the traditional method. It sucks moisture out of the bird while creates longer cooking time for the stuffing to be a safe temp. You wind up with a dried up turkey and a pile of gross stuffing with all the turkeys juice. Loosely fill turkey cavity with chopped onions/lemon slices/celery and herbs (for example).Discard that once turkey is done. I truly despise stuffing cooked inside of bird, it's gross, gloppy and plain ol' nasty. Yuk. Brining is the only way I go with Turkey/whole chicken/Pork butt, etc. Adds moisture and flavor but rinse aftewards to get rid of majority of salt. I think a brined bird cooks a bit faster, however, you have to seriously overcook to mess it up. I also start with a hot oven (450)for 30 minutes and then turn it down to 335 degrees for the remainder time. I start with the breast side down (loosely covered w/foil) and flip over during last 30 minutes(uncovered)of cook time. I've had nothing but success in t
    Nov. 25, 2010 9:32 pm
    to CantHelpMyself. I agree with cooking the stuffing in a separate dish for all the reasons you stated and a few other personal preferences you didn't list. I also agree with most of you statement about brining. Except I have a suggestion. Try this the next time you use a brine, and I swear you will love the results and never do it differently! 1st measure the amount of water you need to completely cover your dish before you mix the brine. Then take about 1/4th of the water and slowly simmer the salt until it completely dissolves into to water. Then pour the remaining cold water with ice in it to bring the temperature of the solution down before you place your meat into the brine. The reason I say this is because if you have to "rinse" the salt off of the meat after you brine, then you haven't really brined the meat at all. Brining actually makes your meat more moist by the salt opening the pours of the meat and allowing it to absorb the water. If the salt is not completely d
    Nov. 26, 2010 7:27 am
    To Emrald: I only said to rinse off the brine for people that don't bother to dissolve the salt per your instructions (is how I do as well). I personally don't rinse, although...after patting dry I leave the turkey sit at bottom level of fridge (in a clean pan lined with paper towels), covered with a clean towel for a few hours (or overnight) to get rid of excess moisture before I put any butter compound, etc. under or on top of the skin. Of course not everybody has the time or prepares for that step. But, yes, you really should pat off as much moisture as possible before seasoning/roasting. Sorry if my directions confused anybody...I just assume most people don't quite understand what brining is about or the correct way to accomplish bad :) I've actually brined for over 24 hours with excellent results. I don't go overboard with kosher salt vs water ratio, always add some brn sugar, peppercorns, bayleafs, fresh rosesmary/thyme and lemon slices. I make sure my bird (or whatever
    Nov. 26, 2010 6:57 pm
    7) after 2 hours flipped the bird right side up -- sprayed the breast with olive oil and dusted with Bell's 8) basted with blend of pan juice and my mixture every 30 minutes 9) after 3 hours with the skin turning brown -- I covered the breast, legs and wings with aluminum foil 10) after testing the temperature -- removed and tented with aluminum foil -- 30 or so minutes until dinner Total roasting time -- 4 hours -- everyone thought that it was unbelievably moist and tender
    Nov. 26, 2010 7:11 pm
    Sorry somehow the fist part of my post was lost: It was all about brining and roasting I started with a frozen 15 pounder -- defrosted in cold water 1) brined for 16 hours using the fire and spice apple sage mix 2) after draining I saved the herbs and spices in the brine mix -- and used them as part of my basting concoction -- olive oil with Bells Poultry Seasoning and then the left over bringing herbs and spices 3) sprayed the bird with olive oil and dusted with Bells 4) placed bird breastside down in steel pan on a rack in preheated 325 gas oven 5) after 1 hour based with olive oil concoction -- basted every 30 minutes 6) as soon as the pan had accumulated juices -- used the pan juices and concoction together for basting the rest is as above
    Nov. 27, 2010 8:42 pm
    I was sick for Thanksgiving, so I am cooking our 21 lb. turkey tonight. I am using my tried and true recipe: slather the bird in Mayonnaise, poultry and Italian seasoning, stuff cavities with whole oranges and lemons, put bird in paper bag and roast in 350 oven for first two hours, then turn it down to 300 degrees for three more hours. Should be perfect!
    Nov. 28, 2010 9:19 am
    I read this article and all of the comments the night before cooking my first turkey. Definitely, cook the bird breast down!! The meat is so juicy, despite not having time to brine it. Also, I put celery and apple inside the bird, which gave it a nice flavor. Thanks for all the comments and information.
    Dec. 19, 2010 8:31 pm
    This will be my first turke and I'm hispanic so we don't cook turkey in my country I hope everything come out good.
    Dec. 21, 2010 2:14 pm
    I cooked my first turkey after Thanksgiving following the cooking part of the instructions only. I did not brine it, but coated the bird inside and out with a mixture of mayonnaise & Princess House's Miracle Chicken Blend, a cup of water in the pan and it was PERFECT! I did however cook it in Princess House's Lasagna baking pan. I do not sell Princess House, just a fan of their product :)
    Dec. 22, 2010 12:31 pm
    Here are a few tips that have worked for me. fill the cavity with celery, apples (cut up) and fresh garlic. Now here is how to keep it moist. Make sure to cover turkey generously with real cow butter as we say in the south. Then sprinkle bird with garlic powder( not salt). Now here is the secret. Take a package of hickory smoked bacon strips. Cover the entire turkey from front to back with bacon. May need toothpicks to hold on. The bacon will baste the turkey and leave the breast moist and juicy. When the bacon is completely crispy (about 3-3 1/2 hours at 325, the turkey is done. let sit for 30 minites to cool before carving.
    Dec. 26, 2010 10:35 am
    Anyone can cook a good turkey these days-- no skill involved. Today's turkeys are all injected with an 8% solution of water, salt, sugar and other ingredients to keep them moist and flavorful no matter how bad a cook you are. I just stick mine in the over-- zero preparation except removing the neck & giblets, and cook according to the time table above (or on the bag). No bag. No foil. No spices. No oil or butter or basting or anything and it's as delicious and juicy as the hardest working cook's turkey. Yesterday I even forgot it and overcooked it for an hour. The drumsticks were a bit crunchy at the ends, and it was cooked so well it fell apart instead of sliced, but it was moist and tasty and very good. Relax folks. Modern technology has taken all the pressure off of us. Wing it-- and you'll still be proud.
    Jan. 3, 2011 1:30 pm
    Great prank, Roast a Cornish Hen in your turkey and watch your mom freak out!
    Jan. 8, 2011 10:05 pm
    Thanks drangonflyspit! I'm making my very first turkey tomorrow. Advice from my mom, put apples in the behind, advice from this site cook it upside down. I'm hoping it turns out ok. If not, it was a holiday gift from our landlord and is only for 2 people. At least I'll have lunch meat for the work week! ha!
    Sep. 18, 2011 11:15 am
    I cook mine in a greased brown paper bag. Becomes golden, skin is crispy, the meat is very moist, and tastes great. Learned this from my 90 yr old mother 50 years ago. She got it from a WWII era cookbook. I add chestnuts, pears, apples or other fruits and nuts to the stuffing, moisten it with wine. or whiskey/water. I also add sage, savory, and tyme to the outside of the bird for more flavor.
    Oct. 7, 2011 11:40 am
    I read your comments and I find myself comparing to you ladies. Over the years I have tried different recipes and spices and it never fails to amuse me once I lost the fear of messing up that first turkey it has been smooth sailing. I love cooking and baking. I have even tried roasting my turkeys at different times, with spices, chicken soup base and beer, they have come up rosy and juicy. I like cutting my bird in the kitchen and taking the meat to the dinning room table in a platter decorated usually with small roasted potatoes.
    Oct. 7, 2011 11:45 am
    This is to "zaqueing" I do love to eat chestnuts and I have used them before in my stuffing, I am going to try your stuffing, it sounds absolutely delicious. My grandma was my best friend and more liberated than my mom, I learned a lot from her, she also loved cooking.
    Oct. 11, 2011 6:02 pm
    375 is what i cook at its not to hot. i pull my bird out at 155 let it rest it will reach the proper temp it always does and it is always a huge hit every year also i use a 50/50 butter oil mix and a little sea salt before i put th bird in the oven half way through i bast but not too much you dont want to coll the bird down it does not give it flavor it is just for browning purposes
    Nov. 1, 2011 1:16 pm
    I tried something new with 2 separate turkeys last year, and would like to share. I preheated my oven to 500 degrees, and baked the turkey in it for the first 15 minutes. Then I cooked it for 15 minutes per pound after that and it turned out better than any I've ever done before. Crispy brown skin, and moist flavorful breast. PERFECT!!
    Nov. 4, 2011 4:36 am
    well all your ideas sound good and I make a pretty mean turkey each year, I have done one at work every year, its true just relax, cut things up ahead of time and cook a few things a couple days before and enjoy, I still giggle about learning to cook as a young woman and remember not knowing there was a bag of giblets in my first chicken hahahahaha until it was done lol, but it did give me a clue there was one in my first turkey lol have fun, that is what food is all about.
    Nov. 11, 2011 3:41 pm
    I'm another who cooks with a cooking bag...we are even able to use an injector while cooking to add more flavour. The skin comes out nice and brown, but that maybe because we rub it down liberally with herb butter before putting it in the bad...we just use celery, onion, a little carrot and a bit of garlic. We get a turkey that is beautiful and tastes great (even in leftovers) and the bag contains all the "drippings" to make gravy. Oh, and I don't make a stuffing, I use the basic mirepoix inside the bird.
    Nov. 12, 2011 8:38 pm
    collection is very healthy and testy recipes so nice Best Hotels
    Nov. 13, 2011 11:50 am
    i will be using a bag for cooking my turkey this i put flour in the bag?
    Nov. 15, 2011 9:58 am
    I had a turkey last year that was cooked overnight and it was the best turkey I had ever eaten! My problem is that someone else cooked it and I am not 100% sure how they did it. I know they put it in @ 500 and cooked it for an hour then turned the oven off and did not open the door until the next morning. I don't know if they cooked it with the lid on or off! I would appreciate if someone could tell me that knows for sure! Help!
    Nov. 18, 2011 12:14 pm
    20 yrs. ago a friend of mine matter how long your Turkey has been sitting in the freezer IF you cook it breast side DOWN you will always have moist meat...that is a fact! ... i have been doing it that way for 20 yrs and NEVER had dry meat...alllll the juices flow into that breast meat as it's cooking and mmmmmm mmmm mmm you have a tasty bird
    Nov. 18, 2011 12:17 pm
    Teia .... YES you put flour in the bag and shake it around then cut a small slit in the bag so it doesn't explode as it's cooking
    Nov. 18, 2011 12:18 pm
    Teia ... you put approx 1 Tablespoon of flour in the bag
    Nov. 20, 2011 12:34 pm
    I always get up early and prepare my turkey. I was wondering, can I prepare it the night before and have it in the pan ready to just go into the oven first thing???
    Nov. 20, 2011 1:14 pm
    to madchef: Think about it, does it sound right that your 18 pound turkey cooked in 3 1/2 hours at 350 dregrees? Of course not!
    Nov. 21, 2011 1:47 pm
    The most important tool you can have in your arsenal is a good meat thermometer. Don't rely on the popups that come with the turkeys, they don't pop until they reach an internal temp of 180 degrees and by the time they pop, your turkey is already over-cooked. As has been said numerous times on this board already stick the probe into the thickest portion of the thigh but not touching the bone your bird is done when you reach in internal temperature of 165 degrees. Be sure to let your turkey rest for a minimum of 20 minutes, I prefer to let mine rest for 45 while I tend to other parts of the meal Bread, gravy, potatoes etc. Hot gravy over the carved turkey always re-warms any chill the turkey may experience. As far as stuffing a bird, I never do, and the USDA recommends not to as well for safety reasons. Number one being Salmonella and a couple of other bacteria that like to grow in these areas either before cooking or on the dining tables after the meals. It is just as easy, and far saf
    Nov. 22, 2011 11:41 am
    can i cover the turkey with bacon and cook it in an oven bag? Does my turkey have to be completly defrosted before I start brining it? This is my first turkey.
    Nov. 23, 2011 6:29 am
    Hi - first Thanksgiving on my own where I am responsible for the turkey! Cooking a tiny 6 LB bird. I think (I think...) I have the cooking part down, but am concerned about actually opening the turkey bag and prepping it! Does it need to be "cleaned" or rinsed? If I bought a "Turkey Breast" will there be parts inside that I need to take out? Help! Thank you!
    Nov. 23, 2011 8:30 am
    CER209-Unless you want to take the risk of spreading the bacteria that is unfortunately inherent to most if not all chickens and turkeys raised in this country then do not wash or even rinse your birds. You have to think about it for a minute. Water splashes off the bird and lands every where carrying with it, the bacteria for your little ones to put in their mouths. Now , don't say it, I know you have a very clean kitchen, but you would be surprised just how elusive those waters splashes (and bacteria) are. You might want to look on the USDA website, they have or at least used to have a video of it. It is recommended you simply pat the turkey dry with paper towels and then loosen the skin on the breast(both sides of the keels bone) and insert slices of butter as deeply as you can. This can be room temperature or cold butter. I don't stuff turkeys. Most of this 411 can be read in my post just above this one. About the Turkey Breast, my experience, there are no spare parts inside that y
    Nov. 23, 2011 8:59 am
    A point I failed to mention in either of my post... You can't have enough chicken broth on hand, be it canned or homemade. It has a myriad of uses. If your bird for some reason, fails to produce enough stock for the amount of gravy you need to make or you want to get started on it before the turkey is done ...You need it to moisten your dressing or stuffing...If for some unknown reason, the white meat on your bird comes out a little dry, simple slice the breast meat, lay it out in a pan and cover it with chicken broth and put it back in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. It will be moist and wonderful. Chicken broth also has many uses for marvelous leftovers. Soup, Tetrazinni, Carbonara, or even a potpie. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Nov. 23, 2011 10:14 am
    BiteMaster- thank you for the heads up! Very good point. Do you follow the "20 minutes per pound" rule? My turkey is only 6 1/4 lbs so I do not want to dry it out. Also, which oven temp would you use? I will have a meat thermometer to guage the 165 degrees. Thank you!
    Lee M 
    Nov. 23, 2011 2:09 pm
    Madchef, there is no reason to have a turkey that not done properly. On this site, how many dozens of times do we tell you how to place a meat thermometer and to allow the reading to reach 165 deg. Also there are many ways to be reasonably sure that your turkey is done, but the meat thermometer is the most accurate and safest. Put forth an effort, OK?
    Lee M 
    Nov. 23, 2011 3:14 pm
    What is a "Kitchen torch" to brown the breast. How do you use it? Would a hand held plumbers torch work? Thas is what I have.
    Nov. 23, 2011 5:22 pm
    I was wondering how long I am supposed to slow cook a 23 pound turkey at 250 degrees? Any suggestions?
    Nov. 23, 2011 6:43 pm
    20 minutes at 475 then 20 minutes per lb at 250. But not recommended for turkeys over 20lbs.
    Nov. 23, 2011 8:23 pm
    Has anybody tried brushing the skin with mustard instead of oil? A friend gave me the tip but I'm not so sure to try.
    Nov. 23, 2011 8:55 pm
    I don't have a roasting rack for my pan. Is this the only way to cook turkey in roasting pan? Can I use without rack??
    Nov. 24, 2011 3:35 am
    Breast side down till the last hour and do believe what they say about soda , 7-up, sprite, or mountain dew........the moistest Turkey you'll ever serve
    Nov. 24, 2011 6:32 am
    Marcosfox I've heard of slathering mayonaise all over the bird but not mustard. Mayonaise makes more sense because of the fat base of the condiment.
    Nov. 24, 2011 6:47 am
    cer209 I rely on the meat thermometer to guage when then the bird is done. There are too many factors such as size of the bird, oven temperature, which way was it facing in the oven, etc. It all comes down to the internal temp.
    Nov. 24, 2011 12:39 pm
    So I'm a single dad that has to make a turkey for my kids and here's the way to do it :) comes out the best when u make it w brown sugar and butter all over the turkey and dip it in apple juice cook for 4 hrs at 325 and done !!! Love Daddy
    Nov. 25, 2011 8:12 am
    I cooked our Thanksgiving bird according to your recipe yesterday and it was done a good hour before it should have been. My oven is right on with a thermometer. 350 is definitely too hot. 325 would have been better. Still came out good, a little browner than I would have liked, but I had brined it and the flavor was great. It all worked out OK, but next time I would use 325.
    Dec. 9, 2011 11:17 am
    For some reason I can't figure out how to add recipes to my recipe box.
    Dec. 21, 2011 8:03 am
    First time turkey roaster! in a regular over do i cook my turkey from frozen or thawed? if so how long per pound and what temp is recommended? Thanks!
    Dec. 22, 2011 6:08 pm
    The no-fail way to have a moist bird is 11 minutes per pound at 325 and cover with foil when you take it out and let "rest" for 30 minutes. It is way less then most people cook turkey but if you cover when you take it out it continues to cook a bit and you will not have it over done. I have cooked turkeys like this for 11 years now and never had an under done bird.
    Dec. 26, 2011 3:59 pm
    I will surely try it out and let you know soon enaough how it turns out. For Christmas I have already cooked a little turkey which turned out quite yummy. Nothing fancy, I left it in a marinated sauce over the night and the Christmas morning popped it into the oven for 3 hours... Enjoy Yours trully PS I signed up for your newsletter which will surely help me in my future cooking experiences.
    Jan. 22, 2012 7:30 am
    I've NEVER cooked a turkey at such low temps, and I'll never for the life of me figure out how y'all get turkeys that are done. 425F for the first hour, 400 for the next, and 375 the rest of the time. I've NEVER had a dry bird, and it's always perfectly done. Also, Mogen David's Blackberry Wine makes the most sublime gravy for turkey.
    Mar. 14, 2012 3:57 am
    Well, my boyfriend had gotten a turkey from work and since we had other plans for Thanksgiving, I froze the bird. Now all my life, someone else has done the turkey, I just did the sides and dessert. So several days ago I decided I was going to defrost it so I could cook it on my day off. Yesterday I was on here getting all this great advice and started it around 1:30 am so when my boyfriend gets off in the morning he can eat good! First of all I had forgotten that my ex took the roasting pan so I had to use the broiler pan. Problem was I had no rack that would fit in it, (saw the cookie rack suggestion) but even that was too long. So I figured if I tucked the wings under it would suffice. However, this thing was so big for my oven I had to put it on the bottom rack. But I put it breast side down and loosely covered it with foil and put it in a325• oven and started the count down... I should mention that the pkg. didn't have the weight on there, but my boyfriend said he knew it was aro
    Apr. 4, 2012 11:35 pm
    I always cook my turkey with breast down. I am always interested in taste rather than looks of the bird. Makes it so juicy and good.
    May 4, 2012 10:53 pm
    Thank You, It turned out great!
    Jun. 4, 2012 1:28 pm
    I really want to show this recipe to all the nannies I know in my area. They are always running out of ideas of what to cook the kids for dinner, and many of them are left with the task of cooking Thanksgiving dinner on top of everything. Are there adjustments that need to be made for elevation?
    Oct. 7, 2012 2:29 pm
    No roasting rack? Try long the bottom if your roasting pan in uncut carrots and celery. That's what I've done with all of my roasted turkeys and chickens and they turn out great. Not stuck to the bottom of the pan at all :)
    Oct. 7, 2012 2:30 pm
    "Lining" not "long" :)
    Nov. 17, 2012 2:52 pm
    A few years ago I say a recipe for turkey that cut it up before cooking. Now I do it all the time. I nhever have to worry about the breast meat being overcooked. It also saves quite a bit of time when serving. I cut off the legs and thighs (I usually cook a 20# bird),and cut off the drumsticks. I bone the thighs, and season the dark meat the lots of sage, basil, thyme, rosemary and S&P. Then I roll it up and tie the thighs with string tightly-make a sort of log. Then I brown the thigh logs in a skillet with a little oil (it is a bit messy) then I put them in a baking dish to finish in the oven with the drumsticks. I usually bake the breast in an oven cooking bag with onion quarters in the cavity. Of course I season the breast with more herbs and olive oil and/or butter. Even a 20 pound bird cooks in about 2 hours this way- the thighs and drumsticks take about an hour. It does not look like the gorgeous whole bird from a magazine cover, but when served up on a platter, it lo
    Nov. 18, 2012 3:58 pm
    Thank you all for the great advice this is my first year cooking the turkey, I cook a lot so I am not that worried about it but I have learned that cooking breast down seems the way to go. Now I am going to inject (with vegetable broth and rosemary herbs with a hint of garlic and a splash of moscato wine) and then baste with the same mix minus (trading wine for butter and of course less broth) is that a good way to keep your turkey extra juicy?
    Nov. 20, 2012 1:39 pm
    So, this is what I plan on doing this year. It's my first turkey. I am going to melt butter and spices together then freeze the butter in a log shape. Slice the day of and stick in the skin of the bird. I am also going to use the breast down method of cooking. I'll let you know what the carnivores in my family think, since I am a vegetarian : ) Funny I know.
    Nov. 20, 2012 5:17 pm
    I just read to put the turkey in at 475° for twenty minutes then wit out opening the oven turn it down to 250° for twenty minutes for every pound. Example: 12 pound turkey for 4-5 hours. Happy Thanksgiving i hope everyones turkey turns out delicious!
    Nov. 21, 2012 9:43 pm
    Or new apt. has an ELECTRIC stove/oven.! Last year I lived at 8000 feet elevation ad it's difficult cooking eggs at that elevation. lol. Now we are in L.A. and it's back to the norm or cooking, I guess.. But theelectric range just made a bell go off in my head. ANY WORRIES? HELP, "stranded at sea level...."
    Nov. 22, 2012 7:43 am
    If you stuff your turkey with apples and oranges, cut them into quarters first, it will be the juiciest bird you've ever tasted hands down. No matter how you cook it. I know this may sound crazy, but try it. It works.
    Nov. 22, 2012 12:19 pm
    okay okay, after hours of massive research last night (of which I'm well known for) and not being able to sleep with turkey on the brain. I have come to the best conclusion yet, for cooking a turkey. In the bag, upside down, seasoned with salted butter (like on my grandmothers farm in Wisconsin) and mixed with GARDEN FRESH Thyme, Marjarom, Sage, minced chive, freshground pepper and garlic powder. Then I filled the bird with 1/2 chopped onion, 2 stalks of celery, 1 1/2 quartered Orange and 1 1/2 quatered lemon. Shoved it in the bag and heated the oven to 325. bout 2.5 hours and I'm chowin' down on the best turkey ever.I hope... Oh Yeah, did I mention, this is my first turkey ever. Thanks to all for the help... Happy GoBblE GoBBlE
    Nov. 22, 2012 10:00 pm
    First and foremost, thank you all for your contributions. It really shaped my Turkey Day. So here's what happened: I had a 12 lb turkey that I cooked breast down, onions, garlic and celery in the cavity. I brushed it with mayo and butter; salt and garlic. I put stock and carrots in the bottom of my pan, bird resting on a fitted rack. According to the chart and comments I chose to cook it for 3 hrs at 350 in an electric stove, covered in my roasting pan. Unfortunately, this was based on incomplete information. Nobody has been specific enough for us dummies that don't know turkey about turkey. Missing is the following information that I WISH TO GOD, people would INCLUDE. 1. Electric or gas stove 2. Covered and/or WHEN uncovered (my pan has a lid). 3. How to flip a turkey when the bloody thing is BLAZING HOT, without dropping it on the floor and/or your inquisitive child? 4. Describing a roasting pan. Oval? Cast iron? Speckled? 5. What is this folded triangle foil thing a
    Feb. 26, 2013 10:31 pm
    SJDGringa, I think I can answer some of your questions (in time for next Thanksgiving, anyway). Gas or electric makes a BIG difference on top of the stove. I haven't found it makes a difference for the oven. A roasting pan is typically oval, but can be rectangular. It has a rack to hold the meat off the bottom, or a tree-shaped well in the bottom to drain off the juices, or both. It has high sides to control spatters, and to hold the lid if you choose to use it. It is traditionally graniteware, often stainless steel, but could be made of almost anything (except cast iron, which would be way too heavy with a 20-lb bird in it). Roasting is generally uncovered, but there are exceptions - note all the people who tent foil over the turkey for part of the cooking, or cook it covered the whole time, or cook it in a cooking bag (essentially the same thing as a covered pan, but disposable). If a recipe doesn't say, then it's uncovered. Oh - covering a turkey with a tent of foil mean
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