Holiday Turkey Dinner  

Everyone has their favorite method for roasting turkey. Here are 5 different ways and, to help you select which method to use, we have highlighted the appearance and advantage of each method.

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Preparing A Turkey For Cooking

Buy 1 pound of turkey per person for turkeys that weigh 12 pounds or less; 3/4 pound per person if turkey is over 12 pounds; 1/2 pound per person for bone-in turkey breast.

Unwrap the defrosted turkey. Free legs from tucked position. Do not cut band of skin over legs. Remove neck and giblets from both cavities. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water; pat dry.

Stuff body and neck cavities lightly, if desired. Use 1/2 cup stuffing per pound for turkeys under 10 pounds; 3/4 cup per pound for turkeys over 10 pounds. Add 30 minutes to roasting time for stuffed turkey.

Tuck drumsticks under band of skin or tie together loosely with string or thread. Fold neck skin under the back and hold in place by twisting wing tips under the back, or secure with a small skewer. Proceed with directions for cooking a turkey by following the method that best fits your time schedule and desired cooking results.

Holiday Dinner Solutions

Situation: Getting a large turkey done without having to start in the middle of the night.

  • Using the foil wrapped or oven bag methods you can roast a 24 pound turkey in about 3-1/2 hours.
  • Do not cook turkey all night at a low temperature.
  • Cooking at low temperatures risks food poisoning.

Situation: Leaving cooked turkey and leftovers out for afternoon snack

  • Refrigerate all leftovers.
  • Keep in mind the two hour rule for food safety. Two hours is the maximum amount of time roasted turkey, stuffing and gravy can be left at room temperature.
Foil Wrapped Method
Foil Wrap Turkey

A real timesaver, this method of cooking turkey requires a high oven temperature of 450 degrees F and heavy duty aluminum foil.

Appearance—light golden brown with some variation in color. Skin is not as "crisp" as traditional foil tent roasted turkey.

Advantage—often preferred for faster roasting time.


How To:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Remove neck and giblets from both cavities of defrosted turkey. Rinse turkey, pat dry and brush with vegetable oil.

Tear off a sheet of 18-inch-wide heavy duty aluminum foil 2-1/2 times longer than the turkey. Place turkey, breast side up, in center of foil sheet.

Bring long sides of foil over turkey; close loosely by overlapping the ends. Turn up short sides of foil to hold in juices. Do not seal airtight. Place foil-wrapped turkey in roasting pan at least 2 inches deep. Insert meat thermometer into inner thigh for whole turkey or into thickest part of breast for turkey breast.

Roast until meat thermometer reads 180 degrees to 185 degrees F for whole turkey or 170 degrees to 175 degrees F for turkey breast. For stuffed turkey, add 30 minutes to roasting time. To brown turkey, open and turn back foil 30 minutes before roasting is finished. The approximate roasting times are 1-1/2 to 2-1/4 hours for 8 to 12 lb. turkey; 2-1/4 to 2-3/4 hours for 12 to 16 lb. turkey; 2-3/4 to 3-1/4 hours for 16 to 20 lb. turkey; 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 hours for 20 to 24 lb. turkey.

For easy slicing, cover turkey with foil and let stand 15 minutes after removing from oven.


Provided by The Reynolds Wrap Kitchens


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This page originally published as a FoodDay article (circa 1997).

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This page modified September 2007

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