Mastering the turkey basics can be tricky. Even experienced cooks get nervous when it's time to prepare Thanksgiving's main entree. Let us relieve the pressure with our turkey recipes and information on cooking a turkey that makes Thanksgiving dinner a success.
Everything In This Slideshow
1 of 15
What Size to Buy
- allow 1 pound per adult for turkeys under 12 pounds.
- allow 3/4 pound per adult for turkeys over 12 pounds.
- allow 1/2 pound per adult if using a boneless turkey breast.
If you want leftovers for more turkey recipes, buy a turkey 2-4 pounds larger than you need and make one of these delicious dishes.
2 of 15
How to Brine a Turkey
Brining involves submerging your turkey overnight in a mixture of salt, water, and often added spices. The result is tender, flavorful meat with every bite.
Get our step-by-step directions for how to brine a turkey.
3 of 15
How to Season a Turkey with Herbs
Here's a sneaky trick for how to season a turkey using herbs: After you've rinsed and dried the turkey, gently loosen the skin over the breast. Slide sage leaves between the skin and meat. Tuck additional sage leaves and onion wedges into the neck and body cavity to add big flavor to the drippings.
4 of 15
5 of 15
Timing Guidelines for Stuffed Turkeys
Do you know how long to cook a turkey? Or what tempature to cook a turkey at. It all depends on the size of your bird. We recommend roasting in a 325-degree-F oven using these cooking times for stuffed turkeys:
- for an 8- to 12-pound turkey, roast 3 to 3-3/4 hours.
- for a 12- to 14-pound turkey, roast 3-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours.
- for a 14- to 18-pound turkey, roast 4 to 5 hours.
- for an 18- to 20-pound turkey, roast 4-1/2 to 5-1/4 hours.
- for a 20- to 24-pound turkey, roast 4-3/4 to 5-3/4 hours.
Note: For unstuffed turkeys of the same weight, reduce total cooking time by 15 to 45 minutes.
6 of 15
How to Carve a Turkey
After you've successfully roasted the turkey, it's time to carve it and serve! Start by removing the drumsticks before moving on to breasts, wings, etc.
7 of 15
Here's one of our favorite turkey recipes to try: Add big flavor to the starring dish on your Thanksgiving table with silky-sweet honey and abundant fresh herbs. Serve your delicious turkey with tangy-sweet Apple Cider Sauce instead of traditional gravy for an updated twist.
- Start to Finish:
- 4 hrs 15 mins
8 of 15
9 of 15
10 of 15
An essential part of how to prepare a turkey is the stuffing, of course! Stuffings require three elements:
1. Starch: bread, rice, or potatoes
2. Liquid: broth, wine, or liquor
3. Additions: herbs, fruits, meats, seafood, and/or veggies
Create your own:
You'll have to do a little math: Each pound of uncooked turkey requires 3/4 cup stuffing. And for every 1 cup starch, add about 2 tablespoons liquid.
Always mix stuffing ingredients just before stuffing and roasting the bird—do not stuff in advance.
11 of 15
How to Make Bread Cubes for Stuffing
Making bread cubes to use in stuffing really is as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Use a serrated knife to cut bread into cubes about ½ inch wide.
2. Spread cubes in one layer on a baking pan.
3. Bake 10-15 minutes at 300 degrees F. Stir occasionally to ensure that they're evenly browned.
Watch the process for how to make bread cubes.
12 of 15
13 of 15
14 of 15
Next Slideshow Great Green Bean Recipes
Great Green Bean RecipesWhether you're scooping up a side of green bean casserole or munching on a crisp green bean salad, green beans add classic flavor, color, and nutrients to your meal. Change up your usual green bean routine with some of our fresh green bean recipes -- you won't be disappointed!Begin Slideshow »