Guide to Turkey

Buying. Brining. Cooking. Carving.
We've got everything you need to do it right.

We’re dishing up our top 10 tips and techniques for a better bird.

  1. Better basting. Baste only at the beginning of the roasting process. Basting later may make the skin soft instead of crispy.
  2. Thaw. Plan ahead! Depending on its size, the turkey could take half a day or multiple days to defrost.
  3. Check the temp. Use a meat thermometer, preferably instant-read, to check for doneness. Test at the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone. When the thermometer registers 165°F, it’s ready. If you choose to stuff your turkey, plan for an extra 5-7 minutes cooking time per pound, and be sure the stuffing and turkey both register 165°F separately.
  4. Time it. At 350°F, you can expect to cook your bird for about 13 minutes per pound.
  5. Tent with tinfoil. If the drumsticks begin to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil.
  6. Flip it. Start roasting your turkey with the breast side down to protect white meat from overcooking and help absorb juices as they run downward into the bottom of the pan. Later, flip the bird over with the breast side up so the skin crisps up and gets golden brown.
  7. A blast of high heat = crispy skin. A blast of high heat at the beginning or end of cooking when the turkey is breast side up can bronze and crisp the skin. Try our Turkey with Extra-Crispy Skin.
  8. Keep the door closed. Resist the urge to frequently open the oven door and check on the turkey. It causes temperature fluctuations and lengthens the cooking time.
  9. Give it a rest. Turkey needs to rest for about 30 minutes. This redistributes the juices and makes for smooth carving. If you want the skin to stay crisp, don’t cover it.
  10. Picture perfect. If you’re worried about carving at the table, present your gorgeously golden brown bird to your guests then return to the kitchen to carve it.