How to Roast a Turkey

Do you know how to roast a turkey? It's not nearly as mysterious and complicated as I thought!

For food safety, be sure to wash your preparation utensils, work surfaces and hands well with hot soapy water after any contact with uncooked turkey and juices.

If you are using a frozen turkey, keep it frozen solid until you are ready to thaw it. Then, thaw it in its packaging on a tray in the refrigerator, being sure not to allow contact with other foods. This will take about 5 hours per pound (10 hours per kg).

When the turkey is thawed, remove it from its packaging.

Scrub your sink well and fill it with cool water. Put your turkey (thawed or fresh) in the sink and rinse it well, inside and out. Remove the neck and giblets, if they are inside the body cavity.

Preheat the oven to 325F/160C.


Secure the legs by tucking them under the skin band or tying them with string. My mom always sews the skin together with dental floss to keep the stuffing from falling out.

Place the turkey in a roasting pan. There are different ideas about the best way to do this. Some people prefer to cook a turkey breast up. Others swear that breast down is the only way. Others start with the breast up and then turn it during the cooking time. I can never remember which is the breast anyway, so I just put it in the pan whichever way fits best!

water ...........

Cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil.

Put it in the oven.

If you want to baste the turkey, do so once an hour.

Click here for cooking times.

Uncover the turkey and allow it to brown - about half an hour before it is done.

Check the turkey well before you think it will be done.

The best way to ensure that the turkey is cooked is to use a meat thermometer. For a stuffed turkey, the internal temperature in the inner thigh should be 180F/82C. The temperature of the center of the stuffing should be 165F/75C.

For an unstuffed turkey, the internal temperature of the inner thigh should be 170F/77C.

If you don't have a thermometer, poke the turkey near the legs. If the juices run clear, the turkey may be done.

Cover the turkey with foil and let it stand for half an hour.

Carve and enjoy!

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