How to Cook a Turkey

When it comes to preparing a perfect turkey there are many different ideas and preferences; we’re here to share our easy prep recommendations for a turkey that’s perfect every time.

Step One: Thawing Your Turkey

Thawing can happen a couple of ways; for instance, you can place your unopened turkey, breast down, in a sink full of cold water and change the water every half hour. This method requires more attention, but significantly cuts down the thawing time (30 minutes per pound).

When thawing in the fridge, leave your frozen turkey in its’ original plastic wrapper and place it on a tray. Allow one day of thawing for every four pounds (454 g) of turkey. The catchword here… patience.

Step Two: Preparing Your Turkey

Before preparing your turkey pre-heat the oven to 325°F (160°C).

Prepping the turkey seems to be the most complex step for first-timers, but it’s quite easy. After removing the packaging, simply remove the neck from the body cavity and the giblets from the neck cavity. Untuck the legs, drain any juices and pat dry with paper towels. The turkey is now ready for the roasting pan.

Choose a roasting pan with shallow sides (max 3 inches) and place a rack in the bottom. If you don’t have a rack, improvise with rolls of foil or raw carrots. It’s important to get the turkey up off the bottom of the pan to allow proper air flow for cooking. Place the turkey, breast facing up, on the rack.

Now that the turkey is in the pan you can add your favourite seasonings or check out our recipes for some Butterball suggestions. However, when you cook a Butterball turkey, all you really have to do is brush it with vegetable oil (canola is our choice) to prevent the skin from drying and achieve a perfect golden brown appearance.

If you choose to stuff, add the stuffing now, just before the turkey goes in the oven. Once your turkey is prepared and stuffed, re-tuck the legs and prep is complete. Do not cover or add water to the pan.

Step Three: Roasting your Turkey

Place your Butterball turkey on the middle rack of your preheated oven (325°F/160°C). About half an hour before you expect the turkey to be cooked you should check temperatures. The turkey is done when the thigh temperature reaches a minimum 180°F (82°C) and the center of the stuffing reaches a minimum 165°F (74°C). Note: If your turkey is becoming too brown while roasting, loosely tent with foil until it reaches the proper temperatures.

After removing your cooked turkey from the oven, loosely tent with foil and let it sit for at least 20 minutes so the juices can re-distribute before carving.

Cooking a turkey should not be intimidating. Just follow these three easy steps for a tender, juicy, perfect Butterball turkey.