This question scared me for a long time during the holiday season: how to cook a turkey in the oven? Now let me say if you are a newer cook, it is way easier than you are making it out to be in your head. I continually diverted the turkey cooking to my dad the first couple of times I hosted holiday dinners.
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Now the first time you make a turkey dinner, it can seem intimidating, by planning out the side dishes and making as many as you can ahead of time, helps with the stress level. One secret trick is to group the ingredients the day before at least, plus this helps in case you are out of an ingredient. (we had a yellow mustard shortage in 2021 that got caught a couple of days before Christmas)
Oven Roasted Turkey Ingredients
Turkey-Any size of a whole turkey will work for this recipe; I try to buy the largest turkey every holiday season. And I pick up extras throughout the year; the leftovers make amazing dinners, and turkey is so good; why have it just once a year?
Montreal Steak Seasoning– I use this as the base of most blends or rubs that I make; you could use a different seasoning in place of this.
Do you rinse a turkey before cooking
Now my daughter did ask me if you should wash a turkey before cooking; I will be honest, I used to all the time. However, the US Department of Agriculture recommends not washing your turkey!
Whether you wash or don’t wash your turkey, remember to sanitize your sink before and after. And wash your hands anytime you come in contact with the turkey blood.
how to Make Turkey
Thaw your turkey; I thaw mine in my extra fridge in the garage. See the US Department of Agriculture guide for food-safe ways to thaw a turkey. Maintaining food-safe temperatures is essential to avoid food bourne illness.
Pull out your roasting pan and a turkey bag; you will want to have the roasting racks in the pan to rest the turkey. I spray the pan and the rack with a nonstick spray or a quick rub down with oil to prevent any turkey drippings from burning to the pan.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Place on a platter or a cookie sheet, and remove the innards from your turkey. If this is something you haven’t done before, the turkey will have a turkey neck, Giblets, and mine also came with a pack of gravy.
Rub down the turkey with soft butter, or use oil.
In a bowl, combine all of your seasonings for the turkey.
Sprinkle the buttered bird with the seasoning and then transfer it into a turkey bag.
Place the bagged turkey into the roasting racks, and apply the tie at the end of the bag.
Take a small steak knife or kitchen scissors and make small incisions in the bag for ventilation.
Place in the oven and bake until it has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees. I test mine with the Thermoworks.
Remove and serve!
Serving Tip: Cut the bag open and cut the turkey in the bag and on the roasting rack. This will contain all the juices but also make for cleaning up to be contained as everything is in a bag.
Cleanup Tip: If you are not using the carcass for soup, trust me, it’s incredible in Turkey Noodle Soup, and the weather is cooler. After you are done, take the pan out side. The grease will harden up, and then you can throw it away and quickly scrape the pan. I always wash the pan the next day; the dishwasher usually is full of the other dinner dishes.
How long does it take to cook a turkey?
Now there isn’t always a magical on-minute answer to the age-old question, how long do you cook a turkey? (I always google this every time I make a turkey) I most commonly would ask how long it takes to cook a 20-pound turkey, but this time I had a smaller turkey, so the times I knew didn’t apply! Below is a guideline for how long to cook your turkey.
At 350 degrees for an unstuffed turkey, you will cook your unstuffed turkey for about 13 minutes per pound and a stuffed turkey for 15 minutes per pound.
At 325 degrees for an unstuffed turkey, you will cook your unstuffed turkey for about 13 minutes per pound and a stuffed turkey for 15 minutes per pound.
How To Store Leftover Turkey
Once the leftover turkey is cooled, store it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the fridge for up to five days. You can freeze leftover turkey for up to three months in an airtight container to freezer bag.
Storing leftovers properly requires the right tools! My preferred storage method is if the leftovers can be sealed in a food saver. If not, then an air-tight container or Ziploc bag for the fridge is the way I go. The air-tight container and a freezer Ziploc bag are the next best bet for freezing the leftovers. I also use a food scale to measure portions into serving sizes.
What To Serve With Turkey
Side Dishes: Air Fryer Bacon Asparagus, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Oven Roasted Baby Potatoes, Air Fryer Brussell Sprouts, Green Beans, Ceasar Salad, Acorn Squash, Green Salad, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli, Grilled Zucchini, Grilled Corn On The Cob, Air Fryer Zucchini Chips
Desserts-Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake, Crescent Roll Peach Dumplings, 2 Ingredient Strawberry Cake, 2 Ingredient Cherry Cake, 2 Ingredient Blueberry Angel Food Cake, 2 Ingredient Pineapple Angel Food Cake, 2 Ingredient Lemon Bars, Watermelon Feta Salad, Oreo Fluff, Pink Fluff, Shark Sand Cups, Funfetti Cake Dip, No Bake Dessert Recipes
Recipes Using Leftover Turkey
The possibilities are endless for Turkey Chili, Turkey Pot Pie, Turkey Soups, Turkey sandwiches, and Turkey Casseroles! See all my favorite-> Leftover Turkey Recipes!
How To Roast A Turkey
- Thaw your turkey; I thaw mine in my extra fridge in the garage.
- Pull out your roasting pan and a turkey bag; you will want to have the roasting racks in the pan to rest the turkey.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Place on a platter or a cookie sheet, and remove the innards from your turkey.
- Rub down the turkey with soft butter, or use oil.
- In a bowl, combine all of your seasonings for the turkey.
- Sprinkle the buttered bird with the seasoning and then transfer it into a turkey bag.
- Place the bagged turkey into the roasting racks, and apply the tie at the end of the bag.
- Take a small steak knife or kitchen scissors and make small incisions in the bag for ventilation.
- Place in the oven and bake until it has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees. I test mine with the Thermoworks,.
- Remove and serve!