How to cook a turkey: 5 tips for roasting the perfect turkey
Our Test Kitchen dishes their best advice on turkey brining, basting, stuffing, gravy and cooking temperature.
Brine your bird
Brining adds both moisture and flavour to your turkey and can offer a bit of insurance if you have a habit of overcooking your bird. Our recipe features a lower-sodium alternative to the traditional salt water-based brine using apple cider. To brine, look for large stock pot or canning pot and make sure that your turkey is completely submerged before storing in your refrigerator. TK Tip: A turkey that is brined using a salt water-based solution will create pan drippings that are saltier than your average turkey. If you'd like to make gravy, stick to using chicken or turkey stock or make a gravy that doesn't require pan drippings, such as our creamy gravy recipe.
Keep the stuffing on the side
A stuffed turkey takes longer to cook because the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 170°F (77°C). The cavity is smaller than it looks, so it's unlikely you'll have enough stuffing for all your guests and you'll need to make extra on the side anyway. To avoid this, bake your stuffing in a casserole dish to serve alongside the turkey.
It may seem like a pain to baste every 30 to 45 minutes, but it is really worth the effort because it ensures that you'll have a golden, juicy turkey. Whether you use a turkey baster, silicone brush or a spoon, all you need to do is make sure that you're basting the turkey evenly using the juices collected in the turkey and the bottom of the pan. TK Tip: If your turkey starts to brown too quickly because of hot spots in your oven, cover those parts with foil and continue cooking.