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ELLEN'S KITCHEN
Questions about roasting turkeys
stacey
happyshopper@cox.net
11/18/05
I have a farm fresh 25-30 pound turkey that I'm cooking for thanksgiving. I plan on using my 27" kitchen aid convection oven to cook it...
(1) what temperature do you recommend?
(2) approximately what would be my cooking time?
(3) in the past, with a conventional oven, I've used a "bag" to place the turkey in to keep it from drying out, should I use one again if I'm now using convection?
(4) lastly, I sure hope this bird fits in my oven - yikes - didn't think about that before I ordered it.
ellen

11/18/05
I am afraid you will need to put the turkey in your big oven and use the convection for everything else. Even with the turkey on the lowest rack, I doubt yoe will have the 2 inches between the pan edge and oven walls/door that you need to insure the heat circulates correctly in convection.

That said, if it will fit in the convection oven, there are some definite hints.

First of all, since you mortgaged the farm to get the bird, invest in a $12 instant read thermometer and use this to determine doneness. You want it to be at least 145 in the middle of the breast and definitely 160 in the middle of the thigh when you take it out, and you want to cover it loosely with foil and let it tand a full 50 minutes before carving. This is very important; the bird continues cooking and the temp continues to rise during this entire time.

Make a custom fitted foil vest or protector defore you put the turkey in the oven. If you roast breast up, place the aluminum foil tent over the breast during the first 1 to 1-1/2 hours of cooking. Although most people tuck the legs down and the wings UNDER the turkey, if you will truss/tie it with string so the wing tipis are up around the breast and the drumsticks are more up, you can protect the white meat further. Also, make little foil protectors for the wing tips and the "feet " tips to protect from burning.

Put the turkey into the oven with the legs at the back, where it is hottest. The dark meat needs the extra heat.

A bag defeats the main advantage of roasting in the convection oven, which is the crispy skin. You want to use open pan roasting. Also, and I can't be too emphatic here, COOK IT UNSTUFFED. This turkey is so big that by the time you get the stuffing to a safe temp, 165 degrees in the very middle, the breast will be cooked to sawdust.

Convection Oven Open Pan Method Roasting Guidelines for a Fresh/Thawed Turkey at 300 Degrees F.
Unstuffed Turkey
14 to 18 pounds 2-1/2 to 3-1/4 hours
18 to 22 pounds 3-1/4 to 3-1/2 hours

In a regular oven, you use 325 degrees and it takes about 1/2 hour longer.

Here is a good link, just use my finish temp and not theirs.

www.eatturkey.com/foodsrv/manual/prep5.html

I would start checking at 3 1/4, expect it to go anotyher half hour before taking out to rest for the last hour.

ellen

11/18/05
Here is a site for roasting a 20 pound plus turkey using the faster high heat method:
www.stillwatersgroup.com/recipes/roast_turkey.htm
Julie Johnson
jkjohnson@bemis.com
11/21/05
I have a 17 pound turkey that I would like to make in a Nesco roaster. Can you give me the directions??
ellen

11/21/05
You make sure it is thawed (it should be out of thr freezer already) and use the regular roasting info above. No trick to it except, don't keep lifting the lid!
Sandy Clipsham
clipsham@uwaterloo.ca
12/13/05
What size oven is needed to cook a 30 pound turkey?

How long should it cook and at what temperature?

Thanks!

ellen

12/17/05
Hi, Sandy,

For best roasting, you want 2 inches above below and around each side of the turkey or pan, so it depends a bit on the size and shape of the turkey, which varies when they get this big,

Tine and temp? Suggest the good folks at eatmoreturkey.com, and my finishing temps.

As I have mentioned before, 2 17 pounders is easier and has better quality white meat...

Gray

12/21/05
Dear Ellen,
I like to cook our turkey the day before we eat our Thanksgiving or christmas dinners. I have had no problem with the cooking of it. We put it in the fridge just as soon as it has cooled down a bit. (we do not stuff it but make our dressing the day we eat and cook that seperatly.)We carve the turkey the next day just before sitting down to eat. {I just can't seem to cope when trying to cook it the morning before we eat what with the timing of dinner and all the other meal preperations The only drawback to this has been that of course the sliced turkey is cold. The hot gravy helps and it does taste good but-- I would like to take a little of the chill off before serving but hesitate to leave it out long enough for that to happen. Any suggestions for safe warming (we mostly like the breast slices.) I am very saftey concious when handling food so am not sure if warming is feasible.
Gray
ellen

12/22/05
You need to slice it before you chill it, once it is cooked. It does not chill quickly and evenly enough if left whole. I am posting specific directions on how to safely pre-cook and reheat turkey in the holiday section of the big pots section.
roxanne
02/18/06
i want to make a turkey in my nesco. is that ok to do. and how would i do this. please email me back thank you
ellen
02/18/06
Yes, it works fine and it is discussed at length in the GE/Nesco roaster thread.
Linda Hensen
11/16/06
I have a 18 pound turkey that I would like to make in a Nesco roaster. Can you give me the directions?? Can I use a turkey bag in the roaster? Do I put the turkey on the rack or just in the pan?
ellen
11/16/06
Go to the roaster threads. It is discussed at length. On the rack if it will fit- the lid has to close completely. You can use a turkey bag but the roaster is already moister than a regular oven, so I don't.
Rita Brusoe
11/18/06
How much meat does one get after being cooked on a twenty pound turkey?
ellen
11/18/06
You can check the turkey yield tables in the Big Pots holiday cooking section. You get about 10 ounces of meat per starting pound of large turkey.
Keith
11/18/06
I'm having 10 people over for thanksgiving, and my oven has decided to peak at 280f for some reason. We won't be able to get another oven for a week or so. What must i do to cook my turkey at 280f? It'll be a 15-18lb bird, not stuffed.
Lisa
11/19/06
A friend of my son tried his hand at raising turkeys this year and my son purchased approximately a 30 pound turkey from him.

I have never stuffed a turkey that large and while I know I need 3/4 cup stuffing for each pound of turkey, I do not know how much bread I need to toast and cube. I can't seem to find a conversion table or recipe that can help me. HELP!!!! Could you please tell me how much bread I will need to make enough stuffing for this bird? I already tried butterball, but she told me approximately 1 1/2 loaves which won't be near enough.

ellen
11/20/06
Keith, for this turkey, you can spend $40 and get a Nesco or GE roaster. That is safe and easy. You are lucky, this is the lowest temp you can cook at. Wash the turkey well and dry him, preheat the oven well, allow 1 hour for each 3 pounds plus an extra hour. Use a meat thermometer], for sure!!!

Lisa, I absolutely would not stuff this turkey before baking. See the very first letter in this thread. Also as I said to Patricia "Patricia, NO, no no. You MUST overcook the turkey to bring the stuffing to a safe temp. Do not make the poor turkey suffer so.

This was not such an issue in the days before 1/5 of all turkeys had e coli bacterial contamination and the eggs in the stuffing were at risk for salmonella. it IS a big issue now. Cook the stuffing separately. You can make ahead turkey dripping by roasting some legs and necks and use these drippings to season your dressing if you are just dying for that old fashioned cooked in the bird flavor."

April
12/23/06
Ihave a 26 pound free range turkey that I want to cook in a convection oven stuffed. If I used the foil tent can I get it to the right temperature without drying out the breast? I had planned for about 4 hours and then 1/2 hour rest time at 325.
ellen
12/23/06
This large turkey will tend toward dry white meat. Brine it. Also, you cannot get the stuffing to safe temp without overcooking the white meat- basically toward sawdust-please consider cooking the stuffing separately. 4 hours is not enough time for a 26 pound bird. I would cook unstuffed, breast down the first 2-3 hours, at 300, then using a meat thermometer to 155 in the dark meat; but if styuffed, you have t o go to 165 in the middle of the stuffing, and the white meat will be too done.
ellen
12/23/06
Rereading you note- see the very first question for convection heating of a large turkey.
Amy
12/24/06
Merry Christmas! We have an 18qt Nesco-wondering how long do we cook an unstuffed thawed turkey? And at what temperature? Do you need to stuff it to ensure moisture?? I assume we use the rack and keep the nesco closed?? Thank you-Amy
christina
08/01/07
What are the mini chef looking hats that go on the end of turkey legs? My aunt is in culanary art school and needs to know for extra credit.
ellen
08/02/07
You want the name of them for her extra credit? That is why G-d invented Google- or search cooks.com, for example or one of the other cooking equipment sites and they will tell you!
margie
11/11/07
i have a 22lb turkey to cook for thanksgiving. i am using my new convection oven. what temp should i put it on and how long should i cook it for?
margie
11/11/07
nevermind i read your 1st post thanks
Mae
11/15/07
On you web address you started the conversation on how to make turkey drippings and I cant find the answer to that question. Mae
ellen
11/15/07
The drippings are what come off the turkey into the pan as it roasts. They are mostly fat. If you need a lot, a good way to get it is to put a layer of thin sheets of buter over the breast, under the skin- keeps the breast moist, too.Or put some extra backs in the roasting pan, they make a lot of dripping.
jay flatt
11/17/07
HELP??????? We have a big convection oven. We have a 30 pound turkey. How long to cook stuffed or non stuffed. Degree and time please???
ellen
11/17/07
Please read the very first post in this thread.
Sarah
11/21/07
Is it necessary to use a rack to roast a turkey? Can I put it in a roasting pan?
ellen
11/21/07
Not necessary, but it keep the back from boiling in the juices and makes it easier to remove from the pan. I( have used cookie racks in the absence of a roasting rack.
Nick
11/21/07
I have a 22lb turkey fully stuffed for thanksgiving so how long and at what temp should i cook it?
ellen
09/03/08
See the turkey roasting info in the holiday cooking section at the top of the big pots index.
artie slone
09/24/08
hello, i am fixing thanksgiving dinner for our fire dept. i was wondering if you would know just about how many turkeys or turkey breasts it would take to feed oh say 350 people. i also have alot of other questions about the dinner that will more than likely come later. lol
Julie
11/16/08
Hello. I have a 26lb. turkey that I planned on putting in a bag, but the bag only allows up to 24lbs. Will I still be able to use this bag? If not, do I use foil? Also, I see on all of these Food Network shows that chefs are putting olive oil on top of the turkey and stuffing all kind if herbs under the skin. What do you suggest for flavoring a turkey? Can I use just a bit of stuffing inside the bird to help flavor it?
ellen
11/17/08
Artie, the entire holiday cooking section art the top of the big pots index page was put together for people in your exact situation. Read all, then if you still have questions, write me by email at the updates contact point at the bottom of the page.

Julie, No stuffing. If you want, you can put in fruits, herbs, etc, for flavoring but nothing you will eat; to make it food safe you have to overcook the turkey. I like the honey and soy sauce glaze in my honorable turkey recipe in the recipe box. The shape of the turkey will determine whether you can use the bag- some are longer. some are wider. There is info on cooking very large turkeys at the top of this thread.

Pam
11/17/08
I have a roaster that holds up to a 16.5 pound turkey. I am cooking a 23 pounder this Thanksgiving. It will fit into the roaster but the lid of course will not. What can I do to make the roaster would and keep the oven free for other casseroles?
Pam
11/17/08
I have a roaster that holds up to a 16.5 pound turkey. I am cooking a 23 pounder this Thanksgiving. It will fit into the roaster but the lid of course will not. What can I do to make the roaster work and keep the oven free for other casseroles?
ellen
11/17/08
Pam, no safe way to cook this at the same time in the roaster. You could cook the turkey ahead in the oven, slice and refrigerate it, and reheat in the roaster. This is a great way to serve, and really simplifies prep the day of- how to reheat is in the holiday cooking section at the top of big pots.
Mike
11/20/08
What can I put in an unstuffed turkey 24 lbs

for flavor?

sharon
11/20/08
I want a fresh turky. when should Ibuy it before thanksgiving
ellen
11/21/08
Mike, chunked up apples and onions would be an obvious choice, maybe some fresh sage sprigs or bay leaves?

Sharon, you can buy a fresh turkey up to 3 days before thanksgiving as long as you take it straight home to the refrigerator. Don't let it ride around in the car for hours.

Evelyn
11/22/08
I have a 33 pound fresh turkey that I will be cooking for the first time this year. I believe that I have a pan large enough but have several other questions. We have been told to thaw it out in a cooler of water for 4 days, is that correct? Also the debate has been how long do we cook it and at what temperature. As well as covered or uncovered. Please help me. This is Saturday and would like to know if I should get this thing in the refridgerator or put it in water.

Thanks

ellen
11/22/08
You have to keep it less than 40 degrees at the skin as it thaws. I would get it into a refrigerator, breast side down, right now. And next time get 2 16 pound turkeys- better quality meat and MUCH easier to cook.

I suggest you call the producer's hotline or the butterball hotline for cooking advice.

clara
11/23/08
I was given a 36 pound turkey to use for thanksgiving and do not want to be rude and not use it.But ... I have no idea how long to cook it and it does not fit in my oven to heavy for my oven rack not sure it will clear top once in a pan. I have been told to cook it outside in the ground by using charcoal and covering bird with foil in a pan and then putting a lid over the charcoal pit. But no one knows how long to cook it there. I was wondering if you have ever heard of this method and if you could estimate at least how long to cook it. Bird would be unstuffed. Thanks
ellen
11/23/08
What a present. The turkey in the pit method is a recipe for disaster for the inexperienced cook. I would cut it into quarters and roast it, 2 quarters at a time if necessary, doing the dark and white meat separately, the day ahead, then reheat in gravy as I discuss in my article on reheating. See my article on cutting up and roasting lots of turkey for the roasting help. These articles are in the top holiday cooking section in big pots.

The other thing is, you have no platter big enough to serve it, anyway, and cutting it up at the table is like cutting up a 4 year old- gross. More massacre than dinner party.

B
11/27/08
I just purchased a GE Roaster oven, Why can you not stuff a 10 lb turkey? I am confused. It has the temp setting from 150 to 450 degrees. Is'nt that just like a oven? It will fit a 17 lb turkey. But mine is only 10 lbs.
Can I stuff it?
ellen
11/27/08
Please read my answer of 11/20/06. You can stuff it if you are willing to cook to 165 in the middle of the stuffing, the white meat will be overcooked and dry. Up to you. With this small turkey, you could put the stuffing under the bird.
greg .
11/27/08
I have a 20 lb turkey and will be roasting it in a convection oven. What do you think about roasting it unstuffed and breast down. I have read recipes that recommend 375 degrees until 165.

What do you think?

ellen
11/27/08
Unstuffed and breast down gives the juiciest breast. See convection oven temps in the very first question on this thread. I only go to 155- it keep cooking after you remove it.
Bob
12/17/08
Thanks for all the info. I am cooking a 25lb turkey, and was going to stuff it till I read your posts on NOT stuffing it. I typically make a sausage stuffing. What is the best way to cook the stuffing out of the turkey so it is not dried out? Also, the cavity of the turkey. Should I fill it with fruit and spices, or just 1/2 full?
ellen
12/17/08
Half full is fine for the cavity.
I make stuffing (actually, dressing if cooked out of the bird) using the selected recipe and a broth I boil up from the neck, gizzards, etc., some of the pan drippings, and copious amounts of Swansons chicken broth. I keep it covered with foil while it bakes and add dripping if available or broth to the preferred texture of the eaters (this varies a great deal from family to family). Take the foil off to let it dry a little if it is too moist, and add a drizzle of drippings across the serving bowl.

If you have the time and inclination to boil up some necks and pieces the day before to make turkey broth, that is even better.

brenda
12/24/08
hi i was given a 36 pound turkey, to cook it all at 1 time in a roaster how long should it take and at what degree thank you
ellen
12/24/08
It is TOO BIG for a roaster (limit is 18-20) and for most ovens. You can cut it into quarters and roast it, put the dark meat in about 1/2 hour before the white. Or cut it in half and roast just the front half or back half in each of two roasters.
LINDA
11/06/09
hi
how long can i keep a 20 pound **thawed out**
turkey in the refigerator before it will
go bad.
thank you
ellen
11/06/09
Allowing 2 daYS FOR THAWING FROM FROZEN, ABOUT 2 MORE DAYS.
Louise
11/12/09
Hi
I have 2 7-8lb turkey breasts and would like to cook side by side in the roaster. What temp and for how long would you recommend?
Thanks
ellen
11/12/09
See the holiday cooking section and the beef roasting article. These cook moister and tastier if brined.
Caroll Brafman
11/16/09
I have a 24 lb turkey & plan to stuff him....How long should he cook and at what temp> Thanks...
ellen
11/16/09
He has to cook until the stuffing reaches 180. I suggest you go get the current issue of Cook's Illustrated, which has a whole terrific article on how to cook a stuffed turkey so the dressing is safe without overcooking the turkey. $6 well invested.
That said, Butterball.com is a pretty good resource for turkey cooking ordinary style.
LINDA
11/17/09
hi
i have a 17 pd turkey, how long do i need to cook it at 350 degrees?
thank you
ellen
11/17/09
This depends on stuffed or unstuffed, covered or open, regular or convection oven or electric roaster. That said, you would enjoy the excellent guidelines at eatturkey.com.

It will be about 3+ hours. 350 is hot for turkey, 325 is better.

donna
11/18/09
turkeys
how long do you cook (2)10lb unstuffed turkeys side by side?
ellen
11/18/09
Exactly as long as just one as long as there is room for the heat to circulate around each. If they are nestled together like giant cornish game hens, maybe a little longer (20 minutes more?) Put both sets of legs toward the back of the oven, it is hotter and the dark meat needs the heat.
Mary
11/19/09
Help! Our thanksgiving turkey (which my husband raised) is 38 lbs. I have no idea how to cook a turkey of this size. If I quarter it and roast the white and dark meat separately, at what temperature do I cook them, and must I brine it? Do I roast the breast bone-in?
ellen
11/19/09
Sounds like your husband has old MacDonald beat for farming. First read the very first part of this thread for more tips on large turkey roasting. You will also like to take a quick look at this site:
www.eatturkey.com/foodsrv/manual/prep5.html

It will be much tastier if you brine it. I would get a box of the super giant zip lock bags, cut up the turkey by separating the front half from the back and then splitting the back into 2 quarters, but leave the front whole for the good looks. Put each piece in its own bag, then use alton brown's procedure for brining.
www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html
You would need about twice the amounts his recipe calls for to do this.

I would put the dark meat quarters into the preheated oven about 1/2 hour before adding the white meat, and I would tent the white meat quarters with foil to help keep them moist. These very large turkeys do not have as good quality white meat as the smaller ones.
You want to use 300 degrees. Weigh the breast piece and use that weight as if it were the whole turkey to determine about how long it might take/ when to start checking the temp with your quick read thermometer.

PattiAnn
11/21/09
Your site is geat! I know you've answered this but I just need a little reassurance. Brought two 13.66 lb turkeys back and bought a 24.63 turkey. I couldn't fit two pans in the oven so must go with the larger one. Absolutely hate dried out white meat. Please tell me it is possible to make this size turkey without drying it out. Have the right pan, the thermometer AND an instant read one for back up. I don't ever stuff a turkey and prefer the dressing on the side. For the first time, I'm worried.
ellen
11/21/09
The very best way is to split the front from the back and start the back at least 1/2 hour before the breast. Assuming you don't want to do that, preheat thoroughly, put the legs to the back of the oven (it's hotter and they need the extra heat), and tent the breast with foil, only removing the last half hour or so to brown. Do not take the breast above 145- take it out and let it stand at least 45 minutes, the meat continues to cook. Good luck!
PattiAnn
11/21/09
Thank you! If I did split the front from the back, where would I cut it and how would I cook it like that? Same temperature - just adding the front after 1/2 hour? By the way, I also take the gizzard, neck, etc. and boil, using the broth to baste the turkey or make use for the gravy.
ellen
11/22/09
What I do is, split the two back quarters along the backbone and lay them in the pan flat, leg tips in, thighs out, skin out. In the roaster, you could put the rack in and lay them straight on the rack. Then at the appropriate time, just lay the breast over, skin up, you can flatten it a bit by putting it on the counter and just leaning on it. You want it to clear the cover by 1-2 inches. I only baste with honey or fats/oils, as I think broth washes away the natural protection and makes it a bit dryer. That does make great gravy, though.
kimo
11/22/09
we've ordered a pre-cooked turkey ; the turkey came in a heavy duty clear plastic bag. Do I bake the turkey inside the bag? -
One year, We were at a friend's Thanksgiving dinner and have seen the turkey took out of the oven inside a bag, it tasted really good. I couldn't ask weather the bag it was cooked in came with the pre-cooked turkey, or they have to buy the bag. Please help. Thanks!
ellen
11/22/09
The bag the turkey came in is NOT oven safe, take it out. There is a roaster bag or oven bag sold near the plastic bags at your grocer's; this is what you saw. They are good for reheating, as they help keep the turkey from drying out. The turkey should have come with recommended reheating instructions-
Regina Murphy
11/24/09
Hi Ellen, this is my 1st time cooking a turkey. I am soaking it in brine right now. It is about 21 lbs. I am not stuffing it. My in-laws gave me a Rival Oven Roaster and it only hols up to 18 lbs, but surprisely my turkey fits. I have no idea how long to cook it and on what temp. I wanted to start cooking it the day before. I wanted a slow cooking turkey. I thought it might taste better that way. What should I do? I don't know if I should cook it the day of or the day before or what temp and how long. Please help me out. I would go to my in-laws and husband for answers but they all are deployed. Thanks, Regina Murphy
ellen
11/24/09
No, cook it the day of, it only takes about 3 1/2 to 4 1/4 hours. Use 325 degrees, preheat 20 minutes, check for doneness by using a quick read thermometer- the temps I recommend are in the article on cutting up turkeys in the holiday cooking section at the top of big pots. Drain it after 24 hours in brine. The Alton Brown Good Eats article on brining and roasting turkey is very thorouugh, the link is above in the thread.

May all you love come home safe and well.

Nugent
11/25/09
Buy a thermometer first step. take the turkey clean it rub a little salt on the inside. cook it until it reache's 165.0F let sit for about 10 mins then cut. simple and easy. just buy a thermometer dont count on the turkey's with the pop up ones on them.
Regina Murphy
11/25/09
Thank you so much for you help!! It is very appreciated and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and God Bless :) Regina Murphy
Gayle
11/25/09
I have a 23.39 lb. turkey that my husband wants me to stuff. Would the stuffing come to 180 degrees without overcooking the breast if I cooked it in a dome covered roasting pan for the majority of the cooking time and then the last hr. or 45min take off the lid. Also I just got a convection oven that I don't have a clue how its going to cook.
ellen
11/25/09
No, the breast will overcook, and it will overcook more if tightly covered. There are directions on a good stuffed turkey in the current issue of Cook's Illustrated, if you can get one it would be $7 well spent.

See this table for help on the cooking time, convection ovens are definitely different.
www.eatturkey.com/foodsrv/manual/prep5.html

Also make sure that there is 2 inches around the turkey on every side if you are using a convection oven.

ellen
11/25/09
The other thing is, you will still have to make a separate pan of stuffing as not enough will fit into the bird. Here is what the folks at eatturkey have to say:

Extra care should be taken when stuffing the turkey. Consider the following:

* Improper handling and inadequate cooking of stuffed birds can increase the possibility of food poisoning.
* Safe handling techniques require removal of ALL stuffing from the turkey cavity if the turkey is to be refrigerated.
* Cooking the stuffing separately reduces labor.
* The amount of stuffing required is usually more than the turkey can hold.
* Stuffing is easier to portion from pans than from a turkey.
* Roasting time is less and yield is higher for unstuffed turkeys.

You can achieve the moist effect and a very good turkey flavor by spooning the drippings from the roaster over the pan of stuffing after you take the turkey out of the oven while it is resting.

Wilma
11/25/09
I have had my 11# turkey out of the freezer and in the refrigerator since Sunday night and it still isn't thawed.
Can I put it in my roaster oven at 225-250 degrees till it is thawed and then increase the temperature?
Maureen
11/25/09
I have a 20.5# Fresh Turkey that I plan on cooking in my 18qt roaster oven. Do I need to pre-baste or Brine the turkey and how do I ensure the turkey gets browned?
ellen
11/25/09
Wilma, put it in at the regular temp. It is the white meat that stays frozen and it will help keep it from overcooking while the legs get done.

Maureen, it is great brined if it is not already full of pre-basted fluid. To brine, see the instructions at Alton Brown's Good Eats, link is in this thread. If you do not brine, you can salt the night before and leave in the fridge loosely covered, the skin drying up a bit helps it brown.
Now it does NOT brown as well as in a regular oven. You can rub a good coat of butter or honey and soy sauce before baking and that will help. Or you can pull it out and put it in a preheated 425 oven the last 20 minutes, but this is tough.

Christine
11/25/09
I want to cook a 23 pound turkey, un-stuffed overnight. Is this crazy? I need to serve it around
2:pm on Thanksgiving. Can I cook it long and low, or will this dry it out? It is not brined and never frozen. We cook 7 pound chickens in a smoker for about 7 or eight hours and they are wonderful!
ellen
11/25/09
It will overcook. Ovens are not smokers, and almost 1/4 of turkeys are contaminated with unsafe bacteria, you MUST make sure to cook safely. See these folks for excellent help on timing for the larger turkeys:

www.eatturkey.com/foodsrv/manual/prep5.html

It only need to cook about 5 hours at 325...

Aniyah
11/25/09
um how long do u put a 19 pound turkey in the oven and at wat temperature
Jessica
11/25/09
I really really want to stuff my 32 pound turkey I have read your threads but I still want to know if possible what if I loosely stuff it and how long to bake it could I do it breast side down and get a moister bird.?? Help
Janet
11/25/09
I have a 10 pound free-range/organic turkey that I want to cook in a convection oven. At what temp. and how long should I cook it? How often should I baste it? Thank you!
Sharon
11/25/09
How long will it take to cook a 30# stuffed turkey in a cooking bag at 225 degrees? We are planning on putting it on late tonight so we can eat at a decent hour...OR any other suggestions??? Thank you!
ellen
11/25/09
Aniyah, 325 for about 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours. Use the Use that quick read thermometer to check when you reach 155, the minimum to take out and rest 30 minutes before serving.

Jessica, I can't recommend you stuff this large a turkey, the dressing at the center stays at unsafe low temp way too long at this size. 5 1/4 to 6 hours at 325 unstuffed.

Janet, see the site below, but I cooked 2 fresh free range turkeys this week and they finished in 3/4 the time the calculation suggested. Use that quick read thermometer to check when you reach 155, the minimum to take out and rest 30 minutes before serving.

Sharon, 225 is too low for safe cooking, especially with a stuffed bird! 300 is the basic minimum, 325 for sure if stuffed. I can't recommend you stuff this large a turkey, the dressing at the center stays at unsafe low temp way too long at this size. 5 1/4 to 6 hours at 325 unstuffed.

Debbie
11/25/09
I took my turkey out of the freezer Sunday night it's 8 lbs. 9 0z. It feels fully defosted since yesterday, I am wondering if is safe to eat?
Jessica
11/26/09
This is a major help question We Have a 32 pound farm raised fresh turkey You said not to stuff it that is ok MY concern is while we were getting it ready to cook we found a I guess you would call it a tumor under the leg my husband cut it out IS this Bird even safe he said it is . I am not so sure. It was given to us I would have been happy with my local store frozen turkey at .39 a pound
Linda Alday
11/26/09
Hi I have a 18 qt kenmore roaster that I plan to cook a 20# turkey in; do I have to add water to the bottom pan?
ellen
11/26/09
Jessica, what a question! If this bird got inspected, they would look at the type of growth,- completely solid and contained, they would use the other 3/4 but discard that 1/4 to petfood after it was removed. If it was an abcess or not well defined , poof, birdie go by- so if it were me and it were a solid growth,, I would quarter the bird, use the 3 unaffected quarters and discard the other. This turkey is so large it will cook better if you starte the dark meat 1/2 hour ahead anyway. See this table for help- calculate the cooking from the breast-

www.eatturkey.com/foodsrv/manual/prep5.html

Linda, this turkey is bigger than recommended for this roaster, so first, check the fit- you need about an inch all around including the top to get good cooking. Any place it touches the sides it will tend to overcook.

The Rival manual suggested 375 for pre basted or 350 for fresh 9-14 minutes per pound. In my experience this is too hot. I use 325 for 4 to 4 3/4 hours at 325 for an 18 pound turkey; a 21 pounder takes about 35-45 minutes more. The USDA now uses 165 as the end point temp (down quite a bit from a few years ago), but if you stuff, that has to be in the middle of the stuffing, and the turkey will overcook somewhat while it gets there. All experts agree that turkeys cook better and safer if unstuffed, so considering that you will have to make an extra pan of stuffing to have it for everyone, you would be well advised to cook your turkey unstuffed and use some of the drippings to flavor the pan of stuffing while the turkey rests.

Jennifer
11/26/09
Ellen, I have borrowed a turkey roasting pan to use this year for my 23 lb bird. I did a practice run a couple days ago with a 16 lb bird and it took an extra 45 minutes. Should I use a jelly roll pan with a rack to get better circulation? Will the drippings over flow? I don't want a fire of course:) And also, I planned on using Alton Browns recipe for cooking: 500 for 30 minutes, tent breast with foil-insert probe thermometer, cook at 350 till done. Also with the jelly roll pan I'm hoping to put it in legs first, it won't fit with the roasting pan cause the handles.
Thanks for your help!
sarah
11/26/09
I have a Nesco electric roaster and a 21lb turkey.
I have trouble getting my turkeys to brown in the roaster, but like having my oven free. Any ideas on browning the turkey besides the transfer to the oven at the end? Also, can I use a oven bag in the electric roaster?
kevin
11/26/09
have ge roaster oven... 13 lb turkey... not stuffing it... setting turkey on rack... do we use foil to wrap turkey? if not, do we spray sides of roaster oven with cooking spray?
kevin
11/26/09
another question.. what temp and for how long? turkey is NOT frozen.
ellen
11/26/09
Sarah,a bag will make the browning situation worse, not better. You can use one if it does not touch the roaster walls, top or bottom. I rub it all over with plenty of butter mixed with a bit of soy sauce, this helps with bwowning. For next ear, Nesco makes a convection lid you can buy separately and it will brown.

Kevin 325, start checking with your instant read thermometer at 2 3/4 hours, it will take about 3. Preheat for 20 minutes before starting. Wrapping will steam it, not necessary. OK to spray, makes clean up a bit easier.

kevin
11/26/09
thank you... my wife is breathing easier now...
Robert Gartner
11/26/09
Ellen, I know you don't reccomend stuffing and cooking large birds, but we already are cooking our stuffed 27lb turkey, how much time per pound at 350 degrees be required?
ellen
11/26/09
Hello, Robert,
After I catch my breath, here is my suggestion: oner htis size unstuffed at 325 would take 5 1/4 to 5 1/2 hours; so at 350 yours should be just about right in that time.
Tana
11/28/09
We have a fresh 5 pound turkey half. How long to I cook it in the oven and at what temp?
ellen
11/29/09
At 325 in a preheated oven this will only take about an hour and a half- basically like a 5 pound roasting chicken. You can put it on top of a pan of dressing to the good of both the turkey and the dressing. DO preheat the oven.
ceceliacclbradley
12/10/09
How long will a 23 pound turkey take to cook in a roaster at 150 degrees
ellen
12/11/09
It is completely unsafe to cook a turkey at this temperature (150); the bird will stay in the optimum bacteria growing temperature range the entire time it is cooking. Preheated 250 is the minimum, 300 is better. At 300 it will take about 4 hours in a regular oven 3 in a convection oven.
Paul
12/25/09
I am a chef and I still have a hard time with the bigger turkeys. I rather cook two small turkeys.Salt and Pepper with olive oil is all I use. I cover the turkey with foil and lay him down on a bed of vegetables for the gravy.155 is the number
ellen
12/25/09
Yes, the bigger turkeys don't have as good meat, either. Merry Christmas, Paul.
cindi
11/13/10
I am roasting a 9lb and a 11 lb turkey side by side in a roaster,,,hoe long do they need to take to cook together
ellen
11/13/10
Have you checked to make sure they will fit? Also, you haverto put the little one in almost 3/4 of an hour after the other, so they come out at the same time. Might be easier to have 2 roasters...
gloria
11/14/10
how long do you bake 2 16lb turkeys in the same roaster?
ellen
11/14/10
Gloria, 2 16 pounders will not fit in one roaster- you need 2.
Erin
11/19/10
Hi Ellen-

I read your first post about convection roasting for larger turkeys, but you didn't address roasting times and oven temps for birds over 22 lbs. Exactly how long and at what convection temp should I expect to cook a 24 lb. unstuffed turkey? Should I take the foil off towards the end for browning the skin or should this happen in the beginning?

Thank you!

ellen
11/19/10
Hi, Erin. It takes about 4 hours, but at this size the shape of the turkey affects the cooking time; you really need the thermometer. Use the links, they will assist further. Foil off at the end only (second half).
Erin
11/19/10
Thank you for the quick response! So 4 or so hours (pending thermometer results) at what convection bake temp? 300 or 325?
ellen
11/19/10
In a convection oven 300.
maura lara
11/20/10
how much dose it take to cook a 17 pound turkey in a plastic bag and how much degrees?????
ellen
11/20/10
Don't use a bag in a convection oven or roaster. If it is a regular oven, 325 degrees, and see the bag box for the manufacturer's recommended time.
Kathleen
11/21/10
I have a 19.32 pund turkey that I would like to bake in the oven (uncovered and unstuffed) overnight the way my grandmother used to. What temp what I put it at and for how long?
ellen
11/21/10
No longer considered safe, especially if stuffed, but even if unstuffed.

If frozen solid, takes about 6-7 hours in a 325 degree oven I did 3 this weekend. It makes for really juicy white meat. See this off-site guide from the IOWA turkey federation:

www.grassfedrecipes.com/turkey-cook-times.html

ellen
11/21/10
Contamination of commercial turkeys by dangerous food-poisoning bacteria is MUCH higher now than it was is grandmother's time, nearly 40%.
Barb
11/22/10
Ellen,
I have a 41 pound turkey and I need help on how to cook it. I do not want to have to cut it up, so I guess my question is this...will it cook in an ordinary kitchen oven, and how long? I am not going to stuff it. I was thinking about 10 hours on 325, with a foil covering for the first 6-8 hours. What do you think? Is this possible?
Jan
11/22/10
I bought two hens (about 5 lbs apiece to cook in a Nesco oven. Do I put the hens in a cooking bag and at what temp and for how long do I cook them. I also bought a foil pan with handles that will fit inside the oven. Should I put them in that. I really only bought them to use the drippings to make dressing. Someone else is actually doing the turkey. Thanks.
ellen
11/22/10
Yes, if you want drippings, the high-sided pan is a great idea. In the bag, juicier meat, the dripping stays in the bird more. So in this case, cut them up, lay in the pan, butter baste if you want more fat. Regular temp, cut the time about 1/4 if they are cut up.
lora
11/23/10
I have a 21lb turkey. But just noticed my roaster pan that goes in the oven is made for 15lbs. What do I do. This will be my first thanksgiving dinner. I want it to be good.
ellen
11/23/10
The electric roaster you have may be a 12 quart. You need 18-24 quart size to do this bird. Borrow one, or get a larger one at JCP or Target.

Or do the bird in the regular oven and side dishes in the roaster and crock pots. Remember the bird needs to stand out of the oven for a half hour before carving, so there is time to do rolls and thin-layer casseroles after the bird comes out of the oven.

lora
11/23/10
I don't have an electric roaster. I have one of those black metal roaster tins that come with a lid. The label on it says 'roaster roatissorie' made from granite ware. But it says its for 15lb meat. And my turkey is 21lbs. Sorry Im new to this :/... can it be done?
ellen
11/23/10
Yes. As long as the bird fits into the pan it works fine. Just use foil instead of the lid if you want to cover it.
lora
11/23/10
If its touching the sides of the roaster tin will it cook properly? Can I stuff it?
ellen
11/23/10
It will tend to stick or get a bit brown where it touches, which is OK, though it is hard to baste without spilling some in the oven.
I recommend cooking stuffing separately- see the articles on roasting turkeys in the holiday cooking section.
Barb
11/23/10
I was wondering if you were able to answer my question above. Do you think this is possible, or am I setting myself up for disaster?
Dlayne
11/23/10
I have a 38lb turkey...wondering how long this will take to bake? I am not wanting to cut it up...I am cooking it unstuffed.
ellen
11/23/10
Barb (41 pound turkey), Dlayne (38 pound turkey); the larger the bird the less time per pound, when you get to this range you are talking about 10 minutes per pound at 325 if thoroughly thawed. Yes, that is about 7 hours. BUT, PLEASE check the bird in your oven- you need 1-2 inches clearance every side, top and bottom to cook safely. Also, that the pan will hold a copuple of quarts of dripping along with the turkey. Also, help with getting it in and out of the oven. Clear the place where it will stand to rest and keep it clear.
Carol
11/24/10
My turkey is thawed (23+lbs) and I have it in the brining recipe from AB right now. Itís been in about 10 hours so far in an ice chest. I have a Kenmore roaster....no oven. I won't be stuffing it, so since the cavity is hollow and takes up a lot of space, can't I smush it down a little to make more room? OR -should I slice the turkey in half (separating the back from the breast) and just sit them on top of each other. I do have a small Oster convection oven which when I set to 450 degrees -only gets to 325 degrees. So do you recommend putting part of the bird in that and if so, which part?
emily
11/24/10
we have a 33lb turkey. it squeeses into our pan that will hold 4qts of juice. however we've cooked 1 turkey in the past completely wraped and sealed in aluminum foil for 12hrs on 250'. it turned out absolutely wonderful...meat just fell off the bone. but never have done one this large. should we bump the temp up to 300'? also, should we put the breast "down" so that it soaks up all the juices?
Pat
11/24/10
I have 2 15pounders this year. Two oven broiler pans will fit side by side in my oven but will the splattering be a safety concern? Thanks, Pat
Susan
11/24/10
My daughter is making her first turkey this year, thawing it in the sink in cold water. She missed changing the water every thirty minutes, more like 90 minutes. Do I need to worry?
Velma Balbaugh
11/24/10
I have a 22lb turkey. How long do I roast the turkey at 325 in a cooking bag in a electric roaster.
D
11/24/10
WE have 2 11-12 pound turkeys and 1 roaster... how long do we cook them? they both fit in there and they will be stuffed.
James
11/24/10
Hello Ms.Ellen

I am cooking the turkey this year. I have a 23.5 pound turkey. I have thawed it. I am going to use a roaster oven. I have already cooked the stuffing for 45 mins in the oven. I want to put the stuffing in the fridge overnight. On Thanksgiving morning I would like to put the "cooked stuffing" in the turkey and cook it. How long and what tempature? Please let me know, you sure will be helping this old inexpiernced cook out. I have an old buddy that mentioned when we were in the service coming home from WWII, that his Grandmother put bacon and corn inside the turkey to make it moist.My great grandaughter is coming by with her "special friend" for Thanksgiving supper. She is copying this (my letter)to a computer for me instead of mail. Well, how long and what temp? And what about my friend Hanks input about bacon and corn?
From what she has shown me fron her portable computer you seem to be a gal who knows her cooking. Please let me know about cooking the Turkey.
Thank you and have a good day!

nicole
11/24/10
how long should i cook two ten-pound turkeys in one roaster pan?
ellen
11/24/10
OK, all you turkey roasters, read on through this:
2 turkeys at a time- spatter is same as one turkey, cooks in the same time as one, if they are different weights, put the smaller one in later.

See these articles for help on timing in a roaster:

www.food.com/recipe/perfect-whole-turkey-in-an-electric-roaster-oven-339453-- has BEST timing charts

www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t--997/roasting-a-turkey-in-an-electric-roaster.asp

REMEMBER!!! Preheat the roaster 20 minutes! Take out when it is 10-15 degrees BELOW final temp and let stand 1/2 hour before carving! It finishes cooking and the juices go back in the meat instead of onto the platter!

Susan, do not sweat the water, you change it to speed up the thawing, so she just slowed it down a bit. I often roast mine completely frozen (less messy, juicier white meat).

James, those turkeys were MUCH tougher and dryer that the modern ones, so you don't need the bacon and corn; still, the bacon does add a pleasant flavor. Because the stuffing is already cooked and thus safe, go by the UNSTUFFED timing for your turkey, 4 1/2 to 5 hours at 325.

Carol, I would probably do it in the oven and the side dishes in the roaster. If not, see the 2009 Thanksgiving questions above for how to cut it up- it really is too big for that roaster whole.

Emily, 250 is too low for a turkey this size. not safe. 325, about 12-13 minutes per pound.

Velma, it takes 2-3 minutes per pound less than an unbagged turkey.

HAVE FUN EVERYBODY!

Monica
11/25/10
I have a 18lb Turkey and I am going to cook it in a bag. How long would it take and also what would be a good degree to have it on? I am wanting to eat around 1pm or so.
ellen
11/25/10
Go to the Reynolds cooking bag site:

www.reynoldsovenbags.com/RDetails.aspx?id=689&cat=4

At 350, 2 1/2 to 3 hours

Lisa
11/25/10
Happy Thanksgiving Ellen, I'll be roasting a 27 lb. turkey today and have heard that rubbing a thin layer of butter under the breast skin will help keep it juicy. What are your thoughs on this?
ellen
11/25/10
Fine! I get great turkeys without basting using this butter rob at 325. iced tea spoon helps get it way under the skin.
Keith
11/25/10
Happy Thanksgiving, Do you have any idea how long to cook an 11 lb turkey with stuffing?
Debbie
12/04/10
Okay, I've read all the way from the top and found that most of my questions were answered before I even asked, except one.
I have a 27 pound turkey. I am not going to stuff it, but would like to raise up the legs and wings, or at least bind them to the breast. I plan on cooking breast down with the dark meat to the back of the oven. I know I can cook from frozen, but I think there maybe gizzards and the like in the cavity,so since I cannot defrost this in my sink, would it be safer in my tube surrounded by water, or can I leave it in my fridge to defrost. Also, how many days before should I do either of those if not both?
I know this question is now a christmas one, but hey, turkey is turkey. Oh, and great tips and suggestions! Thank you
ellen
12/05/10
If you cook from frozen, you can take the gizards out after 2 1/2 to 3 hours, works fine. They are in the neck cavity.. I just leave the neck (which is in the back cavity.)

If you want to carve at the table, turn breast side up at that time.

Defrosting in fridge is safe a works fine, about 1 day with overnight per 8 pounds; this size turkey I would put in the fridge 4-5 days before roasting.

beraleday
06/05/11
I just book marked your blog on Digg and StumbleUpon.I enjoy reading your commentaries.
ellen
06/05/11
I think that is good? Thanks.
Ilene
11/15/11
I have a nesco 18 quart roaster and it has a fan on the lid. I have a 19 pound turkey so how long should i cook it in the roaster.
Could you e-mail me with the answer.
ellen
11/15/11
Illene, this cooks like a convection oven, browns much better than a regular roaster. Lower the temp about 25 degrees from standard oven, and the timing will be about the same as the standard oven. A meat thermometer in the breast is a big help. See my article on roasting turkeys.
Lila
11/16/11
Hi, i am cooking my first turkey this yr.I am thinking about cooking it in the oven turkey bag. I wanted to cook the stuffing seperate but my mom started yelling at me for not wanting to put the stuffing in the turkey.(because thats the way she does it) So can i cook the turkey with it stuffed with dressing and still put it in a bag?? and how long? It is a 16 pounder. I do want to cook it in a bag for sure. Please help.
Mary
11/16/11
i have 2 12lb.turkeys that i'm going to cook at the same time in my oven, but they will be in 2 separate cooking bags, how long will it take on 325?
ellen
11/16/11
Lila, you are right, mom is not. Even the USDA says, cook it unstuffed. Safer by far, and much less likely to dry out the breast. Use real chicken broth to make the dressing, and pour some of the turkey dripping over it before you serve it.

Mary, just the same as one. This is how I do a large amount also- 2 turkeys- (no cooking bag for me, though).

Susan
11/17/11
I plan to use my GE Roaster for the 1st time to roast my 18 lb turkey. Do you put tin foil on like a conventional oven? Do you have to additional cooking time for stuffing?
larry n
11/17/11
im smoking a 22lb turkey
im smoking a 22 lb. turkey, can i smoke it say about 7 hours and then finish it in a roaster or an oven?
Mary Ellen Trippe
11/17/11
Turkey in electric roaster
Can you put a frozen turkey in the roaster? Someone mentioned it makes it cook slower. Mine seem to "fall apart"! It doesn't brown, either. Using this roaster is so the one oven can be used for other dishes.I need to know the best way to use the roaster for the turkey. Thanks
Rita
11/17/11
Can I roast a turkey breast with a whole turkey in the same oven. The whole turkey was given to me,I bought the breast.
ellen
11/18/11
Larry, not my area.
Mary Ellen, yes, frozen in the roaster is fine. Fall apart is too much cooking- shorter time needed. Roaster does not brown or get crispy- either brown in the regular oven and then into the roaster, or paint with soy sauce and butter.
ellen
11/18/11
Rita, Yes, but you have to time differently- put the breast in just for its time.
Patti
11/18/11
I got a 32.5lb turkey from a friend, it is cut in half, How long do I need to cook each half? I was planning on cooking one in a roaster oven and the other half in my regular oven. Please help I have never used a roaster oven before or cooked that big of a turkey.
ellen
11/19/11
OK, What I would do is, quarter it and cook both the white meats in one and the dark meats in the other, they take different temps. See the turkey roasting article in the holiday cooking section at the top of big pots. The roaster cooks moister than the regular oven, but does not brown.

Use a meat thermometer.

You can cook the dark meat the day before amd reheat it in the roaster, and cook the breast day of; many restaurants do this, see the article.

Nancy
11/19/11
I have a hard time displaying a beautiful turkey @ the table because of the wings and the legs. the meat is always off the bones. I finally foud out to sprinkle papirika for more even browning but can you plz tell me how to keep the skin and the meat on the tips of the legs and wings. I dont use a temp. thing because i put my turkey in a renolds plastic bag and just go by the time is says. i will be cooking my usual 22lber. hope you can help!
Nancy
11/19/11
thank you for all the info. I will concider roasting in open pan and covering tips of feet and wings with tin foil. I still abselutely love stuffing. I will make sure i ck the temp for 155 or 165 and will stuff lightly. If i decide to rest the bird on dressing how much bread should i use? 22lb birds has quite a bit of drippings. i only put olives, onions and celerly with the bread. with this size bird, will the dressing be overcooked and dried out. You said about 3 to 4 hours in oven? closer to 4 because of the stuffing. i will stuff lightly. about half or so.
Nancy
11/19/11
I will use pre made broth to start the dressing correct?
ellen
11/20/11
You are cooking it too long. Use a thermometer. Cook the dressing in a whole separate pan and spoon some of the dripping over it.
Penny
11/20/11
I normally cook the turkeys each holiday and they are dry. This year my son is cooking a 26 pounds turkey unstuffed. He is brinning it, and putting some herbs inside. He is putting it in a normal oven for 30 minutes on a higher setting and then down to 350 degrees for about 4 hours. and then resting it out of the oven for 30 minutes. Is this enough time? I normally put mine in for 6-7 hours, but they are dry. I need to time my side dishes around the turkey, and also dont want the bird raw.
thank you
dee
11/20/11
I have a 26.49lb turkey I am making the stuffing the night before and cooking it. I would like to stuff the bird the next day. Is this okay, because I have read where you said not to stuff a turkey.because of e-coli. also how long will I need to cook the turkey at 350 in a regular oven?
ellen
11/20/11
Dee, to get info on roasting stuffed turkeys, go to:
eatturkey.com.

I don't do it and don't recommend it.

ellen
11/20/11
Penney, your turkeys are dry because they are way overcooked, and your son's may be, also. See my article on roasting turkeys and use my temps, and it will not be dry. Or check the discussion referred to above:

eatturkey.com

Amanda
11/21/11
I am oven roasting my first turkey this year and plan on cooking it 'breast down' at 325'.My question is do I cover it with foil?
Platania
11/21/11
Are all large birds (mine is 23 lbs) doomed to dryness if cooked without being cut up? Is it completely bad and salty to brine a pre- basted bird (mine has an 8% solution)? Your help would be appreciated. I am set on the path for brining starting tomorrow....having dinner Wed. Night.
ellen
11/21/11
Amanda, no foil needed.

Platania, no, but brining won't help, either, and it may be too salty. Keep the temp at 325, don't overcook (use a thermometer and read my article on roasting turkeys), butter baste or stuff some butter under the skin-

Mary Ellen
11/21/11
Hello! My butcher only had 2 13/14lb turkey's instead of the original 28lb turkey i normally get. He convinced me cooking 2 unstuffed turkeys side by side would not be a problem. I plan on putting them in 2 seperate roasting pans in my oven. Do you see any potential problems with this plan? I am trying to avoid and thanksgiving day disasters.:-)
ellen
11/21/11
Your butcher is completely right and I ALWAYS cook two this size side by side in my giant Caphalon roaster. Two pans is fine and very easy to handle. If it has been a long time since you cooked a little turkey, plan for the much shortened cooking time, about 3 1/2 hours if thoroughly thawed. Use a quick read thermometer. You will be delighted at the better quality of the white meat on these smaller birds.
Christina
11/21/11
this is my first year cooking a turkey so I bought a GE turkey roaster. I have read so many conflicting articles on what temp and how long to cook my turkey. I am making one 14lb turkey on thanksgiving and one 22lb turkey on saturday. i read one article that said to put the turkey in the roaster breast side down at 450 degrees for 45 minutes then turn the roaster down to 325 degrees for the remaining time. my questions are this: 1. will this method work? 2. doing this method what is the total time to leave each turkey in the roaster? 3. I was thinking about making stove top turkey stuffing to put in the birds...will this affect the cooking time?? I would like to rest them on the counter for 30 minutes after they come out of the roaster... does this add to the cooking time of the bird? or mean that i need to take them out of the roaster 30 minutes before the cooking time was suppose to take.
Tal Cloud
11/21/11
I bought a free range 4H bird that was walking around this morning and now this 30# hen is on ice? Should I brine? I understand the skin is fragile on never frozen fresh birds? Based on all the other post I will cook for 6 hours but breast up or down to keep it moist? Thank you for all of your help. Great site for my hunt for how to cook this beast.
ellen
11/22/11
Christina, don't stuff the birds if you want the safest and juiciest bird. Read my article on turkey roasting. Not necessary to put the turkey breast side down, though you can. Helpful to rub olive oil or butter all over before putting in the oven. Use the time table at eatturkey.com for each size. Check with an instant read thermometer at the shortest time, it will be done or nearly done. DO NOT LIFT COVER BEFORE CHECKING. DO NOT baste, keep that cover on.

Rest for 30 minutes, this does NOT count as part of the cooking time. The temp will kepp going up, about 10 degrees, which is why you pull it out as soon as it is done.

ellen
11/22/11
Taj, see the very first question on this thread. I do not brine. The white meat is a bit dryer, so down is good for the breast, but it is a bitch to turn and does not cook as pretty, so I would say, breast side up. Rub olive oil or butter all over before cooking, and it wouldn't hurt to slip some slices of cold butter up under that breast skin...
Lacey
11/22/11
I'm roasting the turkey for a group potluck but we are not eating for 2-3 hours after the get together starts. Its not at my house. Its a 23lb bird. Would it be better for me to cook/carve it before going?- If so how will I keep it warm/ re-heat it? Or would it be better to just cook it just before we leave, cover with foil, and carve it just before we eat? Thanks in advance :)
ellen
11/22/11
I would do it the day before, chill and slice; rewarm in an electric roaster when you get there, with a couple of cups of chicken broth, start at 350 and turn to 180 after an hour.
Judy
11/23/11
What is the recommended cooking time for a 20-pound, unstuffed turkey, completely covered and wrapped in Reynolds Heavy Duty aluminum foil cooking in the oven at 325 degrees? We preheated to 325 and at 5:30am this morning placed it in the oven. Is 11:30am too long to wait for checking internal 180 - 185 internal temperature?
Joyce
11/23/11
I have a 14# turkey to stuff and roast. Is 300 degrees too low a temp? I like to put it in overnight and have done when I get up but usually do a 20+# turkey. How long should it cook approx?
Donna K.
11/23/11
My brined turkey from Trader Joes is 13.90lbs.
Do I do anything special because of the brining? Its my 1st time with brining. Please confirm the time; 325 degrees for about 3-3.5 hrs with an internal termp @ 160-165? And it is stuffed. Thank you.
ellen
11/23/11
Judy that is WAY to hot; temp no more than150 white, 165 dark, as it will keep cooking from retained heat for the next half hour after it comes out.I would start checking at 10 AM if it were my bird.

Joyce, this is WAY too long for this bird if it is thawed and unstuffed, you are looking at about 4 hours at 325. See: eatturkey.com

Donna, wash it well outside before roasting. Must be 165 in the middle of the stuffing before you take it out, which risks drying out even a brined turkey. Your time and temp are the minimum.

Barb
11/23/11
Ellen, is it okay to prepare my unstuffed turkey the day before? I will be placing it inside an oven bag.
ellen
11/23/11
This is discussed in he turkey roasting article. If you cook ahead, you MUST cool and slice; a whole cooked bird cannot be safely chilled at home. If you just mean seasoning, etc, sure; it has to go right back in the fridge, though.
Julie Harward
11/23/11
I have 2 10lb. turkey breasts..it says on the instructions on them, We figures for 2..13 hours but that doesn't seem right is it? to cook them 40 minutes per pound from frozen. How long do I cook them from frozen in my roaster?
Terri
11/23/11
I have heard baking a turkey at a low temp for extra time makes it so much better. I have a 14 pound turkey what is the lowest temp also how long? Thank You
Joe Smith
11/23/11
I have a 10.7 pound fresh turkey (never frozen) which I have butterflied, rubbed with poultry seasoning, a little salt and placed herbs under the skin. Have rubbed the bird with olive oil and let it stand over night in the refrigerator. Should I bring the bird to room temperature before placing in oven. I will roast uncovered for 20 minutes at 450 to brown then reduce heat to 350 and cook for a total near three hours, using a thermometer to check internally for 165 reading at thigh. Am I doing this right?
mindy
11/23/11
I have a 27 lb thawed turkey to roast in a roaster bag...how long and what temp thanks
Desiree
11/23/11
Hi, I have a 23lb turkey and it fits into my (lidless) roaster, but 'snugly' --- the wings and sides touch the inside of the roasting pan. will this cause any problems in the roasting? I plan to cover the top with foil.
Laurie
11/23/11
I would like to stuff butter and cilantro under the skin of the turkey and rub olive oil and poultry seasoning on the skin before roasting. Do you think this will be tasty?
ellen
11/24/11
Julie, it cooks the same as ONE breast, about 3 -31/2 hours at 325.

Terri, nothing under 325 is safe. 14 pounds, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours unstuffed at 325.

Joe after going to all that trouble, DO NOT cook it to death. A butterflied turkey cooks faster than a regular on, and start check at 2 1/2 hours- remember it will rise about 10 degrees during the 1/2 hour resting time before carving.

Mindy, see this discussion:
www.eatturkey.com/faq/faq_popup.cgi/67

Desiree, unsafe. Turkey must fit in roaster with an inch in every direction, foil definitely NOT sufficient to retain safe heat. Do it in the oven and do the sides in the roaster.

Laurie, this should be delicious. Very similar to some I have done.

Shelly
11/24/11
Nothing is going right - forgot to take the turkey out so I cooked it frozen. Oven was at 350 for one hour. Took out the giblet bag at 3 hours. I turned down the oven at one hour to 250 to have it cook. The temp pop up on the turkey is out- I don't have an internal thermometer. It is a 15lb turkey. It cooked for 7 hours. It looks wonderful although done early. I feel like I did not do anything right. Advice?
ellen
11/24/11
It's done. It will have to be sliced, refrigerated and reheated, it is not safe to chill a whole cooked turkey. How to reheat is discussed in the article on reheating turkey in the holiday cooking section at the top of Big Pots.

If you try to hold it in the oven it will dry out completely. And it is not safe to hold it at room temp.

lucy
11/24/11
do i put lid on roaster?
I'm cooking butterball turkey in a roaster,, in d instructions it says do not cover turkey or pan,, does that mean I dnt put the lid ?
Pam
11/24/11
Hi, Ellen Happy Thanksgiving! Want to roast a 24lb turkey using high temp. (400 degrees) How long should I roast it! NOT Stuffing it!
richard
11/24/11
Whats the secret of cutting a turkey in half and cooking in a high dome roasting pan?
Mary Lou
11/24/11
How long should I cook two 12 and 1/2 pound turkeys in oven bags at 350 degrees.
Happy Thanksgiving!!
Mary Lou
Janet
11/24/11
My turkey has been in the oven a little over 1 hour. We had a problem with the oven which will take a minimum on 2 hrs to fix. Can the turkey stay in room temperature for that length of time? What should I do?
Mary Lou
11/24/11
By the way they are stuffed^^
Mary Lou
karen
11/24/11
How long do I cook my stuffing.I am not stuffing the bird.Thanks!
ellen
11/24/11
Mary Lou, this is covered in the USDA guide sheet;

www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/lets_talk_turkey/index.asp

Janet, big problem, absolutely not safe. Go to a non-cooking neaighbor, or get a roaster right away (borrow, Target, large grocery store, Walmart). Put it in the garage or outside and run empty on high for 40 minutes, then put the turkey in and turn to 325. If it was stuffed, TAKE the stuffing out, and cook to 180 separately.

les
11/27/11
My turkey has been thawing at 40degrees for 7 days now is it safe to eat?
ellen
11/27/11
In the fridge? It is fine to cook now.
Lisa
12/06/11
I cooked a 44 lb, yes 44 pound turkey in my kitchen aid convection oven. The turkey was so large the door wouldn't even close all the way. It was slanted slightly open. I was worried about how long it would take so I started it at 6 am, and I didn't stuff it. It was finished in less than six hours and tasted amazing with just salt and pepper and onion celery and an apple. It was our first year raising turkeys and we have learned not to let them get that big, but it was fantastic!
ellen
12/06/11
This is a real turkey tail!
sherry
12/14/11
Cooking for the first time a 16lb i want to slow cook it overnight do i switch it off in the morning? And what time to i put it on again wanting to eat at 16.00. And what temp???? Please help
ellen
12/14/11
No! This is a VERY UNSAFE way to cook a turkey. It must be cooked straight through. This turkey will take less than 4 hours if unstuffed, at 325.
Brenda
12/24/11
Can my turkey roaster bake other food besides the turkey. My turkey is 25 lbs. and my turkey roaster only holds up to 18 lbs. I do not want to split the turkey to bake it, therefore, I am baking my turkey in my conventional oven. This leaves me no room to bake other food in my oven.
nicole
12/24/11
My turkey just squeezes into my roaster and I have month where is open to get another roaster!!! Is it goinng to cook properly?? Its touching the sides all around ....:S
ellen
12/24/11
Bonnie, put the side dishes in the roaster and in crock pots.

Ncole, you can't safely cook that turkey in that roaster. Cook it in the oven and put the side dishes in the roaster and in crock pots.

judy
12/25/11
do i put water in the bottom half of the roaSTER WHEN I COOK A TURKEY IN A BAG
louise
12/25/11
i am roasting butterball turkey 17lbs says not to cover and to roast it dry except to smear butter or oil on top. will i have enough drippings to make a lot of gravy?
ellen
12/25/11
Judy, no, never.

Louise, use more butter to get more drippings.

Nancy
01/02/12
I have a question about a turkey that splattered excessively (still trying to get my oven clean enough to use the self clean cycle without starting a fire!). I have cooked hundreds of turkeys over the years and know enough to make sure the pan is deep and big enough to handle the bird. It was only a 15# bird in a large roaster (16x13x3 deep), I cooked it stuffed at 325, made a foil tent to help with splattering and early browing. I expect a certain amount of splatter but this one splattered so bad that it dripped down the back and walls onto the floor of my oven until there was a puddle of grease on the bottom. What a mess! I have had only one other turkey do this to me. Any ideas as to why, and how to avoid this in the future?
ellen
01/02/12
If you looked at the label, did it have a note about 8% or 12% added broth or flavoring? This is common, and these drip/spatter more, besides adding 1 pound of water weight in each 12 pounds of bird. Try a "natural" or minimally processed one with no broth added.
Nancy
01/05/12
I checked the label and it was supposed to be a "natural, minimally processed" turkey. Have another in the freezer as they were on sale. Will roast that one outside in my electric roaster, may even use a bag even though I hate those things. Took me two days to get my oven clean....won't do that again!
ellen
01/05/12
That is unusual. So sorry you had trouble; be VERY careful with a bag in the roaster, it must not touch the sides or bottom anywhere.
Stacey
01/16/12
I have a 3lb stuffed fresh turkey breast. At what temperature and for how lonf should I cook it.
ellen
01/16/12
This depends somewhat on how the turkey breast was put together (butterflied and rolled versus tunneled), but about 350 for about an hour. Preheat the oven. Check for internal temp with an instant read thermometer (165 if commercially stuffed, 180 if home-stuffed); let stand 15 minutes before carving.
 
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