From thawing to trussing to basting, there’s a lot involved in getting a turkey from the fridge to the dinner table. If the thought of roasting a turkey sounds intimidating, we’ve got your back. Follow our simple instructions for a juicy, perfectly roasted turkey that will be a standout at your Thanksgiving dinner.
How many people are you cooking for?
Most of us look forward to leftovers, so we recommend about 1.5 pounds of turkey per person.
Choosing a roasting pan
The GoodCook® Quick-Baste Roaster is an affordable pan that features an innovative inverted bottom to allow basting in just half the time. The juices from the turkey start to pool to either side of the pan for quicker and easier basting. Within 30 minutes of popping your turkey in the oven you can start basting and making a perfectly golden bird. The Quick-Baste Roaster holds up to a 25-pound turkey and has a nonstick roasting rack that has folding handles for easy transportation. We love that it’s dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
How to thaw a turkey
Frozen turkey should always be thawed in the fridge, not at room temperature. A good rule of thumb is to thaw the bird for 24 hours in the fridge for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. For a 10-pound turkey, that translates to two full days of thawing in the fridge.
Should I stuff the turkey?
We recommend that you cook the stuffing separately from the turkey. If you stuff the bird when it’s raw, the turkey will be overcooked by the time the stuffing reaches a safe temperature for eating.
Preparing the turkey
After removing the packaging from the turkey, remove the neck and giblet package from the turkey cavity, making sure to check both cavities of the turkey. Pat the turkey dry with clean paper towels. There’s no need to rinse the turkey in the sink, as this will contaminate your sink with bacteria.
Trussing a bird will pull it together into a compact shape that cooks more evenly. Here are the steps for quick and simple trussing:
- Place the turkey on its back with its legs facing you. Slide a long piece of kitchen twine under the back until it meets the wings. Pull the twine over the outside of the wings, crossing it over the bend in each wing.
- Crisscross the twine over the breast of the turkey to tightly secure the wings to the body of the bird.
- Pull the ends of the twine down along the breast of the bird and cross the strings under the rib cage on the inside of the turkey legs.
- Take the twine under the bottom of the bird. Move both ends of the twine around the feet of the turkey so they are under the legs, but over the tail. Crisscross the twine under the legs, then move the ends around the back of the turkey at the tail. Crisscross the ends of the twine again and pull to tighten the twine snuggly against the turkey.
- Secure the legs together by crossing the ankles of the turkey one over the other. Draw your twine up to the legs. While holding the ankles in place, cross the twine over the ankles. Wrap it around the bottom of the ankles crossing the ends again. Bring the twine back to the top of the ankles and cross them again to create a knot.
Once the turkey has been trussed, coat generously with softened butter and season with salt and pepper. Your turkey is now ready for roasting!
How to roast a turkey
Bake the turkey for 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees.
After 30 minutes of roasting, open the oven and gather juice from the turkey into a baster or use a Turkey baster or basting spoon to scoop turkey juice and spoon the juices over the top of the turkey. Repeat the basting every 30 minutes to ensure juicy, moist turkey meat.
How to know when the turkey is done?
Don’t trust the time
The only safe way to check for doneness is with a food thermometer. We love using the compact GoodCook® Digital Folding Thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bird.
The GoodCook® Digital Folding Thermometer is easy to use – simply unfold the thermometer to turn it on. Insert the probe in the breast or the thigh. In just 3 seconds you’ll have an accurate reading. The GoodCook® Digital Folding Thermometer is washable and is NSF certified for accuracy. It also quickly and easily switches from °F to °C.
To check the breast, insert the probe of the thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey breast. Repeat with the other breast. The breast temperature should reach 170°F.
To check the thigh, insert the probe of the thermometer between the breast and drumstick, straight into the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding the bone. The thigh should reach 180°F. Repeat in the other thigh.
Let the turkey rest
After taking the turkey out of the oven, let it rest for 15-30 minutes to allow time to reabsorb the meat juices. If you’re using the drippings for gravy, remove the turkey from the roasting pan using the removable rack.
Storing Leftover Turkey
Turkey should not be left out for more than 2 hours.
Carve and pick the turkey clean of meat and skin and portion it into GoodCook® EveryWare™ Food Storage Containers. Cooked turkey can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you plan to freeze cooked turkey, freeze it within 3 days of storing it. The cooked, frozen turkey can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday! If you try these turkey preparations at home, we’d love to see a photo of it! Snap a picture and upload to Instagram. Don’t forget to tag us @goodcook.com #goodcookcom