how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey

How to Cook Thanksgiving Turkey the Easy Way

It’s that time of year again! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to cook a turkey. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have a lot of experience cooking turkeys. Don’t worry – we’re here to help. We will teach you how to cook Thanksgiving turkey the easy way. We’ll cover everything from thawing the bird to carving it up once it’s done. So read on for all the tips and tricks you need to make your Thanksgiving turkey dinner a success!

How to Cook Thanksgiving Turkey 

Ready to start? Defrosting is the first step in how to cook Thanksgiving turkey, so let’s get into it now!

Step 1: Defrosting Turkey

The first step in cooking your turkey is to defrost it. You’ll need to allow about 24 hours for every four pounds of turkey. So, if you’re cooking a 16-pound turkey, you should plan on defrosting it for about six days. Defrost it in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. You can also check out our full turkey thawing guide for more info.

Step 2: Preparing Turkey

Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey cavity. These are usually located in a small bag inside the turkey. Reserve them for another use, or discard them. Remove the trussing as well as we won’t be using it. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels.

How to Prep a Thanksgiving Turkey
Image: Downshiftology

Step 3: Season the Turkey

Cut up 1 lemon and 1 onion into wedges. Place them, along with some salt, pepper, fresh thyme, rosemary and sage sprigs inside the turkey cavity. This will help to flavor the meat as it cooks.

Seasoning a Thanksgiving Turkey
Image: Downshiftology

Step 4: Herb Butter

Chop 1 tablespoon of rosemary and 1 tablespoon of thyme, and mince 7 cloves of garlic. Add these and some salt and pepper to 3/4 cup of butter. Dry the skin again, and then loosen it up to the top by using your hand underneath the skin. Rub 1/3 of this herb butter under the skin and pull it down. Rub the rest all over the outside of the turkey. This will help to create delicious and crispy skin.

Thanksgiving Turkey Herb Butter
Image: Downshiftology

Step 5: Add Vegetables and Turkey

Cut up 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, and quarter 1 onion. Add them to the roasting pan. This will help to flavor the turkey as it cooks, and also create some delicious roasted vegetables that can be served alongside the turkey. Place the turkey on top of the vegetables, breast side up.

Thanksgiving Turkey Tray
Image: Downshiftology

Step 6: Roast Turkey

Add the thermometer to the center of the turkey. Roast the turkey at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes per pound. So, if you’re cooking a 16-pound turkey, it will need to roast for about four hours. Or wait till your thermometer reads 158°-160 degrees Fahrenheit in the center of the bird. The temperature will rise about five degrees as it rests out of the oven. Make sure to let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

Oven Cooking Thanksgiving Turkey
Image: Downshiftology

Step 7: Carve and Serve Turkey

When you’re ready to carve, start with the legs and thighs. These can be carved by slicing along the joint to remove them from the body of the turkey. Next slide along both sides of the breastbone to remove the breasts. Then pull the wings and slice along the joint. Finally, carve any remaining meat from the bones and serve.

For the full carving guide click here >>

Carving Turkey Guide
Image: Downshiftology

Watch the full video guide from Downshiftology, here >>

And now enjoy your Thanksgiving feast! We hope these tips on how to cook Thanksgiving turkey have been helpful. Happy cooking! And if your oven is having any issues, remember our expert oven repair team is just a call away.

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