Roast your turkey the easy way

This is like a public service type message. I write some version of this every year. If you are roasting your first turkey this year it is going to be alright. Turkeys are easy to prepare and hard to screw up.

Younger generations, in particular, seem to be afraid of the turkey. It is alright to be afraid of the clean-up, that can be frightening but for that, there is wine, which should never be confused with whine.

If you watch the news or are on social media you may get the impression that roasting a turkey is difficult. It is easy unless you make it hard by watching the news.

There are other ways to cook a turkey but roasting it is the easiest. No need to deep fry it or put it on a stick.

For those of you who have never cooked the bird this is what it looks like:

raw turkey

raw turkey

Turkeys are very easy to roast, in an oven or in an electric roaster, which is kind of like a giant slow cooker.

If your turkey comes out too dry it is because it was overcooked. Use a meat thermometer. Cooking time is just a guide or an estimate.  Use one of the many roasting charts that can be found online.  Just ask Google for the details about cooking temperature and how many minutes per pound.

I will be roasting my 20-pound turkey for about 4.5 hours at 325. I’ll check it after two hours, and stick the thermometer in after 3 hours. Here is a chart, you can find it at

Turkey Size Unstuffed Stuffed
4 to 6 lbs. (breast) 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours Not usually applicable
6 to 8 lbs. (breast) 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 hours 3 to 3 1/2 hours
8 to 12 lbs. 2 3/4 to 3 hours 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 lbs. 3 to 3 3/4 hours 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 lbs. 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 lbs. 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 lbs. 4 1/2 to 5 hours 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours

Turkeys can be cooked rapidly at 450 or so, but the easiest way is to put it in an electric turkey roaster or in the oven at 325 to 350 and just ignore it. I like to start with a fresh turkey, never a frozen turkey. Fresh turkey tastes better and I don’t have to worry about thawing it out.

I make the stuffing separately but like to stick a whole orange in the cavity. Sometimes I quarter it, other times I just poke some holes in it. There is less chance of food poisoning if the stuffing is cooked separately. My son-in-law will be making the stuffing. He has a way with stuffing. I like to think of him as the stuffing whisperer.

If you would like to own an electric roaster but don’t have room to store one I can help you find a bigger home with more storage space if needed and of course, sell your current home.

The FDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 165 . . if you don’t want to risk food poisoning.  personally, I go for up around 180 degrees, which is based on old thanksgiving lore and superstition.

Please don’t rely on that little pop-up thingy to detect doneness. Use a real meat thermometer.

roast turkey

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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