When the turkey has reached the desired temperature, it's essential to let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. It’s better to have too much food than to run short on the signature dish of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving can be a multi-day cooking marathon. (And the oven really is your only option. Since 1995, Epicurious has been the ultimate food resource for the home cook, with daily kitchen tips, fun cooking videos, and, oh yeah, over 33,000 recipes. (At a temperature of 325F-350F). But stuffing the neck cavity (not the large cavity) with a halved apple—placing the cut side against the turkey's flesh with the rounded side facing out—helps buffer the breast against heat and protects it from overcooking. You can't deep-fry a frozen turkey under any circumstance. As the turkey nears the end of its time in the oven, Robinson said to check it in several different places—in a couple spots in the thigh, where the temperature should hit 170°F, and in the deepest part of the breast. Every time you baste, you’re increasing the overall cooking time of your turkey. No roasting rack? 18 to 20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours. Pair Your Turkey with These Amazing Sides. When taking the temperature, make sure that the thermometer doesn’t touch any bone, as this can give a false high reading and leave you with undercooked (read: unsafe) meat. Then, massage kosher salt all over the turkey. Be aware that this could leave the meat with a pinkish hue that may be unappealing to some diners, but a quick fix is to toss their pieces under the broiler for a minute or two if they complain. For juicier meat, however, some people prefer to take the bird out at 150°F so the temperature will rise only to 165°F as it rests. How to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or for every day cooking. Your roasting rack should allow the bottom of the turkey to sit at or just below the top of the pan). WATCH: This Thanksgiving Meal Only Takes Three Hours to Prepare. Our Test Kitchen recommends the top-of-the-line Thermapen Mk4 thermometer for its accuracy and easy-to-read display. Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Because of their more natural, active lifestyle, heritage turkeys must be roasted differently in order to avoid toughness. To find out if your turkey is fully cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the meatiest, thickest part of the bird (typically the thighs). The juices need time to re-absorb into the meat -- which will make it taste way better and also make carving the bird much easier. Plan on five or six hours for a 14-pound turkey, divided into two stages. The simplest way to figure out turkey roasting times is to calculate 13 minutes per pound at 350°F for an … The veggies and fat will add flavor to the extra drippings, ideal for gravy making. Cooking Time for Stuffed Turkey. Grab your oven mitts, because it’s time to cook a turkey. Lift the flap of skin covering the neck cavity and spoon the stuffing under the skin. A meat thermometer comes in handy all holiday season. How long to cook a turkey . As advised by British Turkey, the temperature of your oven should be 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and the cooking time calculated as follows:. Seasoning won't adhere to a frozen turkey, so you want to get it a little loosened up before you apply the flavors and remove the giblets. If you decide to stuff your heritage turkey before roasting, don't put the stuffing all the way up into the neck cavity. Both ways will work—the most important thing is not to overcook the meat. STEP 2. If your turkey weighs 8 to 12 pounds, roast it at: If your turkey weighs 12 to 14 pounds, roast it at: If your turkey weighs 15 to 16 pounds, roast it at: If your turkey weighs 18 to 20 pounds, roast it at: If your turkey weighs 21 to 22 pounds, roast it at: If your turkey weighs 24 pounds, roast it at: Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Alex Brannian, Food Styling by Cyd McDowell, Gieves Anderson, food styling by Anna Hampton, Everything You Need to Roast a Thanksgiving Turkey, heavy-duty cooling rack set inside a half-sheet pan, Absolutely Everything You Need to Know About Thanksgiving Turkey and Gravy. Total cooking time depends, of course, on the size of your bird, and a meat thermometer will always be your best friend when it … While heritage breeds are typically leaner, many have more neck fat than the Broad Breasted White. Our Test Kitchen recommends roasting a turkey at a steady 325º for the entire cook time. First, the oven temperature will impact the amount of time it will take to roast. Position your oven rack on the lowest rung. Some recipes have you start roasting the turkey at a high temperature for a brief period before lowering the heat for the duration. If you've chosen to brine your bird (via a wet or dry brine) you can skip this final seasoning. In the past, people used to look at the color of the meat as an indication of doneness: The turkey was pierced with a knife, and if the juices were clear instead of pink, it was considered done. No—and it all has to do with temperature. (This can be the same rack you plan to roast it in, no need to dirty another dish.) All products featured on Epicurious are independently selected by our editors. Cook times for unstuffed turkeys are as follows: 1-1/2 to 3-1/4 hours for turkeys weighing between four to eight pounds; 2-3/4 to 3 hours for turkeys weighing between eight and 12 pounds; 3 … This technique not only seasons the meat, it also helps to draw out excess moisture from the skin that, once baked, will be nice and crispy. Prepare the turkey for roasting. Stick with a temperature of 325°F, which ensures the turkey gets cooked all the way without becoming overdone. You’ll need one pound of turkey per guest. To others it’s the unfortunate (albeit convenient) vehicle for gravy, dressing, and cranberry sauce. Instead, you can cook the stuffing on the side in a casserole dish. Try placing onion quarters, celery stalks, parsley, thyme, salt, and black pepper in the turkey before roasting. Many times they pop too late—if they even pop at all—leading to a dry, overcooked bird. They're the largest part of the turkey, and in the oven they'll take longer to thaw than the rest of the bird, meaning they'll be slower to overcook. Taste of Home is America's #1 cooking magazine. By Grace Parisi, Melissa Clark, and Sam Worley. Not stuffing your turkey also means there's room in the cavity for aromatics, which will season the bird and add complexity to the pan drippings used to make gravy. When the turkey is about ⅔ done, loosely cover the breast with a piece of foil to prevent overcooking. The time to cook a turkey is usually around 20 minutes per pound for an unstuffed turkey. With longer legs, a leaner breast, and a more diminutive size compared to a standard supermarket turkey, heritage birds look, taste, and cook differently than your average Thanksgiving fowl. A stuffed turkey will take longer to cook than an unstuffed turkey. Plus, you already have this secret ingredient in your pantry! The drawback to cooking a frozen turkey is that it does take a little more time to cook—specifically, ThermoWorks figured, about 50 percent more time, at an oven temperature around 325°F. Hey, it happens! That's the question posed by the test kitchen at ThermoWorks, makers of our favorite digital thermometer: Thermapen digital thermometer. Check the temperature about ¾ of the way through that time, and then again every 10 minutes, and roast until the temperature reads 165°F (or 150°F as the case may be) when checked at the thickest part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast. Other people swear by the opposite, roasting their birds more slowly and at a lower temperature than the standard (325°F, 3½ to 4 hours for a 12- to 14-pound bird). You don't need a special recipe if you just stick to these basics. Basting requires you to open the oven door, which lets heat out and cools the surface of your bird. Indoor vs. Ahead you’ll find everything you need to know to make the perfect turkey. Rub most of it under the skin, a little inside the large cavity, and the rest over the skin. But who says you need to thaw that turkey at all? A heavy-duty cooling rack set inside a half-sheet pan works too. You can also sauté the turkey liver, gizzard, and neck in butter, cut it up (shredding the neck meat off the bone) and add them for more flavor. It’s important to make sure the internal temperature reaches 170-175 F before considering the turkey fully cooked. But turkey—yes, even the white meat—can be great (delicious even) if you know how to roast a turkey properly. However, if you've taken the bird out at 150°F or you want to hold it for longer, tent it with foil after 20 minutes to make sure it doesn't cool down too much. Turkey Cooking Times. Whatever you do, don’t rely on your turkey’s pop-up timer. Add a few halved shallots, sliced carrots, some celery, and 2 cups of water to a large roasting pan, under the rack. If the breast and thighs have reached a temperature of 165°F, it is not necessary to cover the turkey with aluminum foil while it rests. In fact, there's not a whole lot that will. ThermoWorks VP Tim Robinson told us, in no uncertain terms, that to cook a partially thawed turkey is to invite disaster. Epicurious may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. To check the temperature, you can use either an instant read thermometer (which you insert after cooking, as it gives a reading immediately) or a remote thermometer (the type that has a probe that you insert before cooking, which connects to a digital display that sits on your counter). Learn more about how to season a turkey. You’re aiming for between 170º and 175ºF for a whole bird and 165º for a turkey breast. Lift turkey onto platter, and let stand for 15 minutes … To kill all bacteria, a turkey must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. Place your turkey in the oven. A large turkey can take several hours to cook properly, and eating undercooked turkey (or other poultry) could cause food poisoning. Check out our illustrated guide to carving so that doesn't happen to you. For these reasons, today's cooking trends favor moistening methods that don't require basting, such as brining the turkey before roasting, stuffing butter under the skin, or roasting the turkey breast side down (flipping halfway through cooking to get an even brown) so it self-bastes. It's safe to cook a completely frozen turkey but it will take at least 50 percent longer than a fully thawed bird. Turkey Cook Time How much does the turkey weigh? Figure 15 minutes per pound at 325. See how the turkey is shoved off to the side, getting ignored? The times listed below are a guideline to help you plan the approximate time required to cook your Thanksgiving headliner to the right temperature, but always use a thermometer to determine doneness. If desired, add fully cooked stuffing to cooked turkey just prior to serving. This temperature is low enough that you don’t need to worry about moisture evaporating quickly and drying out the turkey, but it’s also warm enough to cook the bird all the way through at a quick pace. The turkey is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal, and there are plenty of techniques for cooking one, from frying to spatchcocking to roasting upside down and turning halfway. This page is dedicated to turkey cooking times, buying turkey, storing, cleaning, thawing and turkey cooking instructions so you can't go wrong.. Turkey Cooking. We will talk you through brining, stuffing, trussing and roasting, along with extra turkey … (It's also technically possible to cook a frozen turkey; if it's the day of and you're stuck with a frozen bird, scroll down to our primer on cooking a frozen bird.). Editor's Note: This article was written by Melissa Clark for Epicurious several years ago. Tenting with foil keeps the skin from getting too dark too soon. The thigh is the best place to test because it takes the longest to cook, but to be on the safe side, it's smart to also take the turkey's temperature underneath the wing. The excess fat will render into the stuffing, making it soggy and greasy. 20 to 24 pounds: 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours. Whether you're a long-time turkey roaster who's feeling bogged down by the year's newest trend (is it spatchcocking or dry-brining this year? Mandy is a food and beverage writer with bylines at WNYC, Munchies, Mic and October. Tracking the temperature helps to ensure that you get a perfect roast turkey every time. How do I keep my turkey moist? To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. Put your turkey into the preheat oven and roast the turkey. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Another matter entirely. If you leave the thermometer in the turkey during this period, Robinson said, you'll see the temperature rise eventually to 165 degrees—the temperature of a perfectly done Thanksgiving centerpiece. The actual time it takes to cook a turkey in the oven will vary slightly based on a few factors. But sometimes the classic way is the best. Most recipes call for … And more time in the oven leads to dry, tough meat. The vegetables will perfume the meat and flavor the drippings as the turkey cooks, while the water keeps things from burning. Ad Choices, How to Roast a Turkey: Cook Times, Temperatures, and Tips. 0 to 0 hrs. Rub room temperature salted butter—or your favorite flavored compound butter—all over that turkey. Basting is a simple process that just requires opening the oven and carefully spooning (or using a turkey baster to squirt) the pan juices all over the turkey. Heritage birds generally top out at 14 to 16 pounds, so if you plan on serving a larger crowd, you might want to roast two side by side. Slowly work your fingers under the skin starting at the neck, being careful not to tear the skin or separate it completely at the large cavity. These times […] An added bonus is that smaller birds cook more quickly than their fleshy cousins, so you don't need to rise at dawn if you like to eat Thanksgiving dinner at noon. The first stretch, about two to two and a half hours, is a controlled partial thaw. Here's how long it takes a typical turkey to thaw in the fridge: If you're short on time, however, there are other, faster ways to thaw a turkey, but thawing it in the refrigerator is your best bet when it comes to safe kitchen practices. But this is not a reliable method, for several reasons. Place turkey, breast side up, on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan. Outdoor Grill: Which Is Better? According to the U.S.D.A., the bird must reach this temperature before you take it out of the oven. Traditional recipes call for basting the turkey every half hour, to moisten and flavor the bird. For at least 30 minutes. The day before Thanksgiving, remove the bird from its packaging and take out the giblets. 3 ways you can tell a turkey is cooked: the meat is steaming hot all the way through Editor's note: This section was contributed by Sam Worley. For moist meat without the hassle of clearing fridge space to soak the bird in … Turkey crown cooking times. She's a Certified Cicerone and award-winning homebrewer living, writing and cooking in New York City. Calculate Turkey Cooking Time and Temperature. For a 12- to 14-pound bird, adding 1½ teaspoons each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper in the large cavity and another 1½ teaspoons each over the skin is plenty. And remember: The open oven door will allow heat to escape, lowering the interior temperature and lengthening the roasting time. All rights reserved. The trick to crisp, golden brown skin starts before the turkey even goes in the oven. This will make the stuffing nearly as rich as if it had been baked in the turkey itself (though don't forget to make a meatless version if you've got any vegetarians on the guest list). Is needed to properly cook a turkey: STEP 3 cooking your turkey roast. Turkey breast cooked to an internal temperature of 325°F, which lets heat out and cools the surface your... 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