7 Tips for Terrific Turkey

7 Tips for Terrific Turkey 8 Rating(s)



7 Tips for Terrific Turkey

This year and every year, especially if you are making a roasted turkey, these tips will prove useful.  Whether this is your first year to make the Thanksgiving turkey or if you just like cooking turkey any time of year to have fresh turkey meat (the leftovers always make great sandwiches and freeze well for soups later), these tips will come in handy. 
(Above Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash)

1. Buying the Turkey

When buying your turkey, plan to purchase a little less than one pound of turkey per person (since you will be removing the weight of the bones and other inedible portions of the turkey).

2. Thawing the Turkey

If you purchase a frozen turkey, be sure to take it out of the freezer in plenty of time for thawing before the big day.  A 12-15 pound turkey will need 3-4 days thawing time in the fridge, and an 18-20 pound turkey could use between 4 and 5 days in the fridge to completely thaw.    If you forget to pull it out of the freezer that early, thaw it quickly by submerging the turkey (still in packaging) in cold water (breast side down) and change the water every hour until the turkey thaws.

3. Prepping the Turkey

For a simple roasted turkey, rub the inside of the turkey with salt, then stuff the turkey with a quartered onion, 2 (or more) cloves of smashed garlic, and 1 quartered lemon; rub the top with some butter or oil and salt and pepper before roasting.  Of course, you can always add some fresh herbs inside the turkey or sprinkle the outside with some sage and rosemary as well.

4. Roasting the Turkey

Roast the turkey upside down (breast side  down) so the juices will flow down into the bulk of the meat as it cooks.  Start with the oven at 400 degrees F for the first 20-30 minutes to brown the bird sufficiently, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees F for remainder of roasting time (about 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours, depending on the weight of your bird – and meat thermometer should read 165 degrees when inserted in the deepest part of thigh or breast).

5. Covering the Turkey

If the turkey begins to brown too quickly or you want to keep the moisture in and around the turkey well, loosely tent it over with aluminum foil; try to keep the foil from touching the skin of the turkey.

6. Letting the Turkey Sit

After removing the turkey from the oven, allow it to sit in the pan for 15-30 minutes before carving (it will continue to cook a little while in the pan); this makes it hold up better while carving.

7. Topping the Turkey with Gravy 

We think turkey is always best when served with gravy, so whip up a simple version with the pan drippings:

Stir 1/4 cup of pan drippings (or butter) with 1/4 cup flour until smooth in a saucepan over medium heat; gently whisk in 2 cups of hot broth, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.  Reduce the heat to low and continue to whisk / stir until thickened and ready to serve, about 5-8 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, if needed.  Enjoy!


We hope these 7 Tips for Terrific Turkey are helpful.  Do you have some favorite tips to share with other Dish Dish members?  Leave us a comment with your suggestions and ideas, too. We love to hear from you!

You might also enjoy:

Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes
Thanksgiving Dinner Planner
Making Gravy

November 19th, 2014

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