How-to-Cook-a-Turkey-Perfectly-For-Thanksgiving

How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly For Thanksgiving

Home Skills Cooking & Food How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly For Thanksgiving

Want to know how to cook a turkey? Learn to cook a turkey perfectly in your very own conventional oven! I promise it’s easier than it looks.

I’m so excited about this tender and delicious roast turkey recipe and I’m sure you feel the same way when you try it. The turkey breast is so flavorful with a crisp skin and a beautiful golden brown color. It is very pleasing to the eyes and everyone will surely savor it down to the last slice of meat. It’s simply a turkey roasted to perfection for the Thanksgiving feast.

Learn How To Cook A Turkey To Impress Your Guests

It’s impossible to think of fancy holiday meals shared with family and friends without thinking of a plump, large turkey at the center of the spread. Many people have variations on how to cook a turkey properly and I will more than likely get a lot of grief for saying one way is better than another, but these are the tried and tested methods I use to cook a Thanksgiving turkey every year. I know many recipes get handed down from one generation to the next, so I have just documented the process I have found to be the best way to cook a turkey.

This recipe and methods featured in this post have been tried and tested by the original author via the kitchn.

Ingredients and Equipment:

  • 1 turkey, any size
  • 2 cups broth or water
  • Melted unsalted butter (optional, for basting)
  • Roasting pan
  • Roasting rack
  • Turkey baster or spoon

How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly:

Step 1 : Thaw The Turkey

Step 1 : Thaw The Turkey | How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly For Thanksgiving

image via lamthenao

Let the turkey thaw completely before cooking. A frozen turkey will thaw approximately 24 hours for every five pounds. If you bought a turkey a few days ahead, you can thaw it in your fridge. I recommend letting it thaw for an entire week in your fridge before you cook it.
Need to thaw in a hurry? Place the turkey in a cold water bath and change the water every 30 minutes until it’s thawed. But there is more than one way on how to thaw turkey quickly and safely.

Step 2: Brine The Turkey

Step 2: Brine The Turkey | How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly For Thanksgiving

image via tastyislandhawaii

To brine a turkey means to immerse it in salt water solution for a day or so before cooking. The basic ratio of salt to water for a brine is 4 tablespoons of salt per 1 quart (4 cups) of water (variety of herbs optional). Place brine solution and thawed turkey (with innards removed) in a container large enough for both meat and water. Make sure the whole turkey is completely submerged. Cover container with a lid and refrigerate.

The end result of this process is moist, perfectly seasoned turkey meat. This process is definitely worth going through.

Step 3: Prepare The Turkey

Step 3: Prepare The Turkey | How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly For Thanksgiving

image via thesepeasarehollow

Take the turkey out of the fridge an hour before roasting it. This will help the meat cook faster and more evenly. Since you brined the turkey, there is no need to rub any more salt into the skin. However, cracked black pepper and other herbs and spices of your choice are welcomed at this stage. I like to rub a mixture of chopped sage and butter between the skin and meat on mine, but as long as you’ve brined it, there’s no need for the additional flavors if that’s not your preference.

Step 4: Turn The Oven On To 450°F

Step 4: Turn The Oven On To 450°F | How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly For Thanksgiving

image via snapguide

Place an oven rack in the bottom third and let the oven completely preheat before placing the turkey in the oven.

Step 5: Roast The Turkey

Step 5: Roast The Turkey | How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly For Thanksgiving

Pour 2 cups of broth or plain water in a roasting pan. Put the turkey in the oven and lower the heat to 350°F. When cooking a turkey, the rule of thumb is 13 minutes cooking time for every pound of turkey meat. So if you have a 16-pound turkey plan a 3 1/2 hours cook time. There are factors which may contribute to a much faster cooking so it is best to start checking the temperature of your turkey about halfway through the scheduled cooking time to gauge how fast it’s cooking.

Step 6: Baste The Turkey

Step 6: Baste The Turkey | How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly For Thanksgiving

image via thehopelesshousewife

Baste the turkey every 45 minutes. To do this, take the turkey out of the oven (make sure to close the oven door so the heat will stay) and baste the turkey all over with the liquids coming from the pan. You can use a turkey baster or a spoon to drizzle the liquid all over the turkey.

Step 7: Check The Temperature

Step 7: Check the temperature | How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly For Thanksgiving

image via food52

To ensure the turkey is properly cooked through and through, check the temperature in three different places: the breast, the outer thigh, and the inside thigh. The temperature of the meat should be at least 165°F. If any place is under that temperature, put the turkey back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Use a foil to shield the breast meat to keep it from overcooking.

Step 8: Let The Turkey Rest

Step 8: Let The Turkey Rest | How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly For Thanksgiving

image via thekitchn

Before removing the turkey from the oven, tilt it so the juices inside the cavity run out into the pan. Then, take the turkey out and transfer it to a cutting board. Cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This gives time for the meat to firm up and the juices to be re-absorbed, making the turkey easier to slice and taste juicier.

Step 9: Carve The Turkey

Step 9: Carve The Turkey | How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly For Thanksgiving

image via thekitchn

Remove the wings first, then the thighs, then the breast meat. Once you have all these parts removed, you can separate the thighs into thighs and drumsticks and carve the breast meat into individual slices.

Want to see the video on how to cook a turkey? Check out this video from Kitchn:

There you go folks, my juicy-licious turkey perfect for Thanksgiving! Now you know how to cook this tenderly delicious turkey recipe. I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday!

Need an amazing Thanksgiving dessert recipes? Click this link to get more Thanksgiving dessert recipes that your family will surely love.

What do you think? Was this recipe everything you hoped and more? Let me know in the comments section below.

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