Good Cooking's Turkey Page!

Good Cooking's Basic Turkey Cooking Guide


Eastern Wild Turkey - Picture credit Gary M. Stolz, USFWS

If you have the time and want a challenge then try Turdunken! It's a turkey stuffed with a duck and a chicken---Warning---I hope you have patience to tackle this one! When you're done only one word will describe it, Wow!

Preparation and Roasting

Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove the neck, liver, and other body parts from the turkey. Rinse the turkey inside and out twice with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place on several sheets of aluminum foil to season. Discard the paper towels and wash the area you were just working in with disinfectant soap to prevent cross-contamination of the work area.

Brush the turkey with oil, margarine or melted butter and season with salt, pepper or your favorite seasonings inside and out. Cut off the tips of the wings and save for a stock. Truss the turkey (tie with string) or use the plastic or metal clamps supplied with the turkey. Place the turkey breast side down on a wire rack in a shallow, uncovered roasting pan. Discard the aluminum foil you seasoned it on and once again wash the area you were just working in with disinfectant soap to prevent cross-contamination of the work surface.

Roast at 350 F for birds up to 18 pounds, over 18 and up to 24 pounds roast at 325 F.  Start the roasting on one side, turn to the other and finish breast up tented with foil.  Note that a 16-18 pound bird will take 4 1/4 hours. You need to take into consideration that you will be turning the bird and opening the oven door several times and this will lower the oven temperature and increase the cooking time. This is why my time is longer than the 3 1/2 hours the other recipes call for a similar size bird, this is because they all pretty much cook it in one position and basting may or may not occur.

Roast back-side-up for 1 hours, then remove from the oven. Turn over and add (mirepoix) 2 quarts total of; 2 each thinly sliced onions, 4 stalks of celery, 3 carrots and 3 cloves of garlic to the pan. Cover loosely with foil and then baste every 45 minutes with the pan juices. Remove the foil during the last 45 minutes of cooking and baste one more time. To check for doneness: internal temperature should reach 165-170 F. when a thermometer is inserted in to the turkey's thigh at the thickest part, or the turkey's timer should pop up. Remove the turkey and let stand 30 minutes before carving.

Oven temperatures vary greatly from oven to oven so it is highly recommended to buy a good quality oven thermometer to check you oven and become familiar with how to adjust the oven's dial to correspond with the desired temperature. You may also call a service technician from your stove's manufacturing service center to calibrate the oven's controls.

Opening the oven door and turning of the turkey reduces the oven temperature. Do this quickly or even better yet take the entire bird and pan out of the oven, closing the door to maintain the oven's temperature. Turn the turkey over and return it to the hot oven. When basting, do it quickly, once again not to reduce the oven temperature.  My time chart takes all of this into consideration.

Good Cooking€™s Turkey Roasting Time Table

Weight in pounds

Temperature Cooking time in hours (Unstuffed)
10 -12 350 F 2 - 3 hours
12-14 350 F

3 - 4  hours

14-18 350 F 4 - 4 hours
18-20 325 F 5 - 5 hours
20-24 325 F 5 - 6 hours

Variable such as how many times you open the oven door and cooking other items in the oven with the turkey, will affect the above times---use it as a guide and remember that the only true way of testing doneness is to use a probe thermometer, inserted in the thigh bone area, where it meets the carcass bone. Safe food handling guidelines suggest a turkey be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Use the above guide or check out our new Java Script Turkey Cooking Time Calculator. It's a computer generated app with more helpful information!

Photo from Taste of Home Oct/Nov '97

Original and never copied from another website---recipes for your Feast!

Brining your Turkey
Chestnut Dressing
Corn Bread Dressing
Turkey Gravy
Spinach Pear and Bacon Salad with Blue Cheese
Scalloped Oysters aka. Oyster Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato and Pecan Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Parker House Rolls
Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
Pie Crust
Pumpkin Pie
Roast Prime Rib of Beef
Roast Chicken
Golden Squash Soup with Sage
Rack of Lamb w/ Chipolte Chile and Honey Glaze

Now that dinner is over, what are you going to do with all of the leftovers?

Never fear, Good Cooking is here! Here are six easy recipes that will help get out of the leftover holiday turkey rut. 

Good Cooking's original suggestions---

Leftover mashed potatoes become-----Vegetarian Curried Vegetable Cutlets!

Leftover squash becomes-----Golden Squash Soup with Sage!

Leftover stuffing becomes-----Turkey Pizza!

Leftover cranberry sauce becomes----Low Fat Lemon and Cranberry Cheese Cake!

Leftover Salad becomes-----Turkey Tacos!

Leftover white meat becomes-----A Triple Decker Turkey Club Sandwich!

Check out these links for additional help on cooking a turkey---

Honeysuckle White


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