How to Make a Turkey is a simple, easy method for you to learn how to cook a turkey. This recipe tells you how long to cook it, what kind of pan, and what not to do. The best tip: never poke it!
How to Make a Turkey
Hi. It’s Lois in the kitchen at Recipe Idea Shop, with a timely update, telling you How to Make a Turkey. Just in case you have never been responsible for making the turkey. You can do it in the oven or in a separate free-standing roaster. It’s not hard. There are just a couple of things to remember.
I baked my first turkey when I was in my second year of college. It turned out okay, but I learned two important lessons.
I called my mom to find out how to make it, of course, and she said (among other things), “You have to salt it real good, inside and out.” In my opinion, that was not good information, so that was my first mistake. My second mistake was poking the turkey with a fork periodically to see if it was done. This is a definite “no-no.” When you poke the turkey, it lets the moisturizing juices out of it. So don’t do that!
Instead, let is roast on its own and periodically baste is with its juices.
Bake Your Turkey the Easy Way
These days, I take the easy way out and use a Nesco Roasting Pan to make the turkey. I have one big enough to cook a 20-pound turkey. You make it the same way whether it is in the oven or in a roaster on top of the counter.
If you don’t use the free-standing roaster, you will need a large covered roasting pan with a lid. The rack is also helpful because you can lift the turkey out easily.
Because if you are making a turkey, you might as well make a big one and freeze the leftovers. I wrap and freeze the leftovers in small packages so we can pull them out in two-serving sizes to have sandwiches. We generally eat the legs during our meal, keep some sliced breast meat in the refrigerator, send some home with the kids, and freeze the rest. It lasts us a couple of months. And I absolutely love turkey sandwiches. Don’t you?
Why Use a Separate Roasting Pan?
I love using the roaster because using the Nesco leaves the oven free to make all the sides. As you can see by the picture, I also roast my turkey filled with Traditional Sage Stuffing. I know, I know. You’re not supposed to do that anymore because people occasionally get sick because they don’t bake the stuffing long enough. However, in my humble opinion, if the turkey is done and nicely browned, the stuffing is done. You can always check it with a thermometer. The safe minimum internal turkey temperature of 165 °F is recommended.
When you bake the stuffing separately, it becomes drier. I like a nice, moist stuffing, despite the fact that I always opt for the crispy part on top. I love the combination of crispy and moist, and I cover the whole thing with Gravy!
It’s only one day a year (or maybe two), so I don’t worry about all the carbs and fat. I simply eat until I’m full and don’t overstuff myself. What do you do? Because you know you’re gonna wanna eat this. And then you’re gonna wanna have a turkey sandwich.
Check out the recipe…
How to Make a Turkey Recipe
How to Make a Turkey
Mom didn't teach you how to bake a turkey? This simple recipe shows you how.
- 1 12-pound Turkey (or any size)
- Covered Roasting Pan
- Traditional Sage Stuffing
- Remove the interior parts of your thawed turkey (usually found in the cavity and in the neck of a store-bought turkey).
- Rinse the turkey inside and out.
Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.
Stuff the bird's cavity with Traditional Sage Dressing (stuffing).
- Sprinkle the outside of the turkey with a little salt and pepper.
Place the turkey in the roasting pan or the free-standing roaster.
Cover and place in a preheated 425F degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. This seals the juices in the bird.
Reduce the heat to 325F degrees and bake the turkey for 20 minutes a pound (so for a 12 pound bird, you would bake it 12 x 20, or 240 minutes or 4 hours and for a 20 pound turkey, you bake it nearly 7 hours).
- Baste it with its own juices 3-4 times during the roasting time.
- Remove the cover prior to the final 20 minutes and return the pan to the oven. These last few minutes help the turkey to develop a nice, browned skin.
The legs will start to pull away from the body when it is done. If you are unclear about when it's done, check the temperature with a meat thermometer. It should reach an internal temperature of 165F degrees in its thickest part.
Remove the turkey from the pan to a platter or another pan for carving. Let stand 10 minutes before carving.
Note: Many of the links included throughout Recipe Idea Shop are affiliate links, which means if you follow them and you buy something, we will get a small commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, and you can still use your Amazon Prime (Shop Amazon — Give the Gift of Amazon Prime) account to buy. This posting includes affiliate links. Don and I love our Amazon Prime account.
How to Make a Turkey Nutrition Information
Want More Recipes Like This?
If you want more delicious recipes, please sign up for our free cookbook.
Pin & Share!
Please Pin and share our recipes. And tell us what you think in the comments.
You May Also Like These Recipes From Recipe Idea Shop
- Southern Green Bean Casserole
- Northern Green Bean Casserole
- Traditional Sage Stuffing
- Cornbread Stuffing With Dates Cranberries and Sausage
- How to Make Mashed Potatoes
- Fruit Cocktail Salad (the kids love this one)
- Don’s Famous Favorite Pecan Pie
- Roasted Pumpkin Pie