How to prepare a turkey for cooking

  • Thaw your frozen turkey in the refrigerator.
  • Place your turkey on a tray to prevent uncooked juices from dripping onto other foods.
  • Cook your turkey within four days of thawing.
  • Roast a fresh turkey as soon as possible, but no later than the “Best Before” date on the package.
  • Place raw poultry on non-porous surfaces; that are easy to clean. Use two cutting boards, one strictly to cut raw meats and the other for cooked and ready-to-eat foods. Wash cutting boards thoroughly in hot, soapy water and disinfectant after each use.
  • Use paper towels, not cloth, to pat dry your turkey and wipe up juices.
  • Combine stuffing ingredients and stuff your turkey just before roasting.
  • Wash your hands, work surfaces and any utensils touched by raw poultry and its juices with hot, soapy water and disinfectant.
  • Use cooking methods that allow the turkey to reach a minimum temperature of 180°F (82°C) in the thigh and minimum165°F (74°C) in the center of the stuffing.
  • Use a meat thermometer to determine if your turkey is cooked.
  • Allow the turkey and stuffing to stand for 15 minutes before carving.

Store turkey, stuffing, gravy, broth and other leftover cooked foods in separate containers in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking.