How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey

How to Cook Your Turkey Like a Boss!

How to Cook Your Turkey Like a Boss!

As friends and family gather around the table for the holidays, the pressure to deliver a perfectly roasted turkey is enough to make home chefs panic! But, don’t worry, here at F.N. Sharp, we have the tips, tricks, and tools needed to create a flavorful main course all of your guests will love!

The thought of perfectly preparing the star of the show can be stressful, but don’t worry, we got you! Our ‘Poultry Perfection Guide’ is here! Are your knives cleaned, sharpened, and ready to rock? You’ll need your chef knife, your boning knife and that handy little paring knife to get as much as you can out of that bird (and a large cutting board to rest it on).

Oh, and make sure you check out these tips for how to season your turkey before we get into how to cook it.

Get All the Knives You Need: The F.N. Sharp Set of Essentials

How to Cook a Turkey: F.N. Sharp Tips and Tricks

Cooked Turkey in a Pan

How long does it take to oven roast a turkey? Well, the general rule for cooking an unstuffed turkey is 15 minutes per pound, and a stuffed turkey of the same size will generally take about another hour. This applies to cooking in a roaster, or even in a roasting bag. Just be sure to place turkey breast side up in a sturdy shallow pan that can hold the juices as the turkey roasts.

The Best Temperature for Cooking Turkey in the Oven

Close-up of Oven Knobs with Door Open

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and make a tent with aluminum foil to cover the turkey. Roast turkey 15 minutes for every pound of unstuffed turkey and 20 minutes per pound if the turkey is stuffed. During the last hour of cooking, remove the foil tent and baste with the juices so it turns a deep, golden brown color. Basically, a 15-pound turkey should take a little less than 4 hours to fully cook. And here are the roasting times for all of the other options:

Roasting Time Per Pound for Unstuffed Bird

  • 10 to 18 pounds: 3 to 3½ hours
  • 18 to 22 pounds: 3½ hours to 4 hours
  • 22 to 24 pounds: 4 to 4½ hours
  • 24 to 29 pounds: 4½ to 5 hours

Roasting Time Per Pound for Stuffed Bird

  • 10 to 18 pounds: 3¾ to 4½ hours
  • 18 to 22 pounds: 4½ hours to 5 hours
  • 22 to 24 pounds: 5 to 5½ hours
  • 24 to 29 pounds: 5½ to 6¼ hours

How to Smoke a Turkey

Smoking Turkey

Smoking a turkey is not for the faint-of-heart, or if you are a turkey “ingenue.” However, smoking a turkey produces a rich, deeply flavored result depending if you use hickory chips or hickory wood or even apple-infused wood chips. Mesquite is great for other kinds of proteins, but for turkey, look for lighter, more subtle flavors.

Depending on the size of your bird, smoking can take up to 8 hours, and if you do it right, the result is a juicy, and deeply flavorful centerpiece! If your heart is set on smoking a turkey for Thanksgiving this year, then here’s a helpful step-by-step guide.

Deep-frying Your Turkey

How to Deep Fry a Turkey

Known all throughout the southwest, deep-frying a turkey is the absolute standard! And don’t worry – your eyebrows will grow back by Christmas! But the reality is that you can’t prepare an entire spread if you’re deep-frying your bird. This is when you need a ‘sous’ chef. Someone to either cook the bird or to cook the other things. There’s a reason why deep-frying your turkey is sorta’, kinda’ dangerous, but if you absolutely must, then check out these tips from Tasty.

Checking for Doneness!

Meat Thermometer Inserted into a Turkey

If you’re wondering how to tell if your turkey is done, then now is the time to dig through the ancient utensil drawer and locate, clean, and calibrate your meat thermometer (but we hope you did it in advance)! If your turkey doesn’t have a built-in ‘pop-up’ timer, testing the doneness of your bird is critical, so don’t overlook this part!

Insert the thermometer in the thickest part, usually the breast, being sure to avoid any bones or piercing all the way through to the cavity. For a turkey breast, insert thermometer into the center. A fully cooked turkey will register 165 degrees in the breast and 175 in the thigh.

A turkey will continue to cook a bit once it’s removed from the oven. Let it rest about 20 minutes before carving so the juices can get sealed in. If your turkey is stuffed, be sure to scoop the stuffing out and into a separate dish before carving. This is where your newfound knives and knife skills come into play! And if you’re wondering which is the best for meat, then check out our guide to the best knife for cutting meat!

How Long to Cook a Turkey Breast

Cooked Turkey Breast in Baking Pan

For smaller gatherings, a turkey breast is a perfectly acceptable alternative! Simply cover the roasting pan loosely with aluminum foil while it cooks to keep the skin on the breast brown and the meat moist. Feel free to apply a seasoned rub or glaze, and be sure to roast for 20 minutes per pound. Also remember to insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast and remove from the oven when the temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

That's it – you've cooked a turkey and it's something to be proud of! Although most home chefs prepare a turkey once or twice a year, it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t own it like a boss! At F.N. Sharp, we honor everyone’s traditions! Share yours with us on Facebook and Instagram!

Time for the Best Part: Carving That Thanksgiving Turkey!