Turkey cooking tips and tricks to ensure a flavorful, perfectly cooked turkey.
A golden brown roast turkey that’s moist and savory is truly the centerpiece of the holiday table. Whether you are planning on serving the traditional roast turkey or would like to try something with a creative flavor twist, we’ve got the perfect tips for you.
Turkey Flavor Tips
For flavorful turkey, brush the turkey breast with oil. Rub a seasoning mixture all over the turkey, as well as under the skin. It’s easy to make your own blend. Try including a combination of flavors, such as Poultry Seasoning, Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning, Rubbed Sage, Garlic Powder, Seasoned Salt or Ground Black Pepper.
Want to add some sweet to that savory bird? Make a glaze with 1 cup apricot preserves, 1/2 cup orange juice and 2 tablespoons honey. Spoon over turkey during last 5 minutes of roasting.
Stuff the turkey cavity with aromatic ingredients, such as McCormick Bay Leaves, lemon or orange halves, celery ribs and onion wedges, so the meat and turkey drippings will be flavorful.
Put the stuffing on the outside! Coat turkey with crumbled corn bread mixed with McCormick Rubbed Sage for a crunchy crust.
Turkey Cooking Tips
The safest way to defrost a turkey is in the refrigerator. Keep the turkey in its original wrapper and place it on a tray or baking pan to catch any drips. Allow for 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. So a 12 to 16 pound turkey should require 3 to 4 days of thawing time in the refrigerator.
At an oven temperature of 325°F, roast an 8 to 12 pound turkey for 2 2/3 to 3 hours; a 12 to 14 pound turkey for 3 to 3 3/4 hours; a 14 to 18 pound turkey for 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours; a 18 to 20 pound turkey for 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours; a 20 to 24 pound turkey for 4 1/2 to 5 hours. These times are approximate.
A turkey will roast more evenly without the stuffing. Plus by the time the stuffing reaches the safe minimal internal temperature of 165°F, the turkey will be overcooked. You can still have your Thanksgiving stuffing – just cook it in a baking dish alongside your turkey.
The most accurate way to determine if the turkey is cooked through is with a meat thermometer. The turkey is done when the thermometer reaches 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast and 175°F in the thigh. The tip of the thermometer should not touch the bone.
Once the turkey comes out of the oven it is important to let it rest for at least 20 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moist turkey that’s easier to carve.
Reserve the pan juices to make gravy or to serve with the turkey.
Line your roasting pan with heavy-duty foil for easy cleanup.
Gravy Flavor Tips
For rich savory flavor, add sautéed onions and mushrooms or cooked bacon to prepared gravy.
Use apple juice or apple cider in place of the pan drippings for flavorful gravy.
Stir in white wine and McCormick Garlic Powder when preparing gravy for an easy gourmet touch.
For a citrus twist, add 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Rubbed Sage to 3 cups prepared gravy.
Leftover Turkey Tips
Remove stuffing from turkey and meat from carcass within 2 hours of roasting. Refrigerate and use leftovers within 3 days.
Use leftover turkey to prepare sandwiches, turkey salad, casseroles, pasta and soup.
Try these recipes: