How to cook a turkey

Follow our five fail-proof steps for serving up tasty roast turkey. Whether you're a first-timer or a seasoned pro, it never hurts to have a quick turkey tutorial. 

By The Canadian Living Test Kitchen

How to cook a turkey
So it's the holidays, and you're responsible for the main dish. Don't worry; you're only five steps away from serving the perfect bird at your big feast. Read on to learn how to cook a turkey.

Step 1: Thaw it. If using a frozen turkey, thaw in its original plastic wrapper in the fridge. Allow for five hours per pound, or per 500 g.

Quicker method: Cover the turkey with cold water (the sink is a good place for this), and change with fresh cold water every 30 minutes; allow one hour per pound (500 g).

Step 2: Season it. Prepare the turkey by removing giblets and neck. Rinse and wipe the cavity; sprinkle with salt and pepper or stuff lightly using skewers to fasten skin over the cavity.

Step 3: Roast it. Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in roasting pan. Brush with melted butter or oil. Tent loosely with foil. Roast in 325ºF (160ºC) oven for about 20 minutes per pound (500 g) or until juices run clear when turkey is pierced and when thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180ºF (82ºC) for a stuffed turkey or 170ºF (77ºC) for an unstuffed turkey. Remove tent for last hour of roasting.

Step 4: Cover and leave it. When turkey is done, transfer to warm platter. Tent with foil and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes. This allows time for juices at the surface of the bird to distribute evenly throughout the meat.

Step 5: Carve turkey. Eat and enjoy!

Looking for more? Take a look at our best turkey recipes and tips in these articles:
Turkey cooking tips and 11 flavourful roast turkey recipes
16 turkey stuffing recipes
How to thaw and prepare a turkey
Recipes for turkey leftovers
More turkey recipes and articles



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