7 Days to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving – Day 5 How to Roast a Turkey

7 Days to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

7 Days to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

 Day 5 How to Roast a Turkey

Welcome to Day 5 of our 7 Days to a Stress-free Thanksgiving series.  Today we are talking about cooking the turkey.  By now, you should have checked your meat thermometer and your oven temperature.  You can read more about the prep work in our Day 1 post.  Roasting a turkey is not as hard as some people think.  It may take a while, but it is actually pretty simple.

First, if you are using a frozen turkey, make sure it is completely thawed.  If it not quite there, check our Day 3 Post on the cold water thaw method.  Do not try to cook a partially frozen turkey.

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Drain juices and make sure the neck and giblets are removed.  They could be in the neck cavity or the breast cavity.

Pat dry with a paper towel.

Place turkey breast side up on a flat rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2½ inches deep.

Turn the wings back to hold the neck skin in place. Brush or spray skin lightly with vegetable oil or butter.  You can also put butter under the skin for extra moisture.

Place your turkey in the center of the oven.

Here are approximate roasting times.  You will need to adjust based on your oven.






4½-7 lbs.

2-2½ hrs.

2¼-2¾ hrs.

7-9 lbs.

2½-3 hrs.

2¾-4½ hrs.

9-18 lbs.

3-3½ hrs.

3¾-4½ hrs.

18-22 lbs.

3½-4 hrs.

4½-5 hrs.

22-24 lbs.

4-4½ hrs.

5-5½ hrs.

24-30 lbs.

4½-5 hrs.

5½-6¼ hrs.


Some people like to baste their turkey with the juices (or a little chicken broth).  It is a matter of preference.  It will help keep the turkey moist, but it can keep the skin from getting nice and crispy.  If your turkey is looking dry, go ahead and baste; otherwise, it is a matter of preference.

When the turkey is almost done, or if the skin looks to be getting too brown,  loosely cover breast and top of drumsticks with a piece of foil to prevent overcooking.

Your turkey is done when the temperature with a meat thermometer is 180° F in thigh and 165° F in breast or stuffing.

Let turkey rest for at least 15 minute prior to carving.

If your sides are not quite ready yet, you can cover the turkey with aluminum foil and place several kitchen towels on top of the foil to keep the turkey nice and hot while you wait for your other food to finish.


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