Roasting your Whole Turkey

Courtesy of: Turkey Farmers of Canada roast turkey

Roasting a Whole Turkey

Preheat oven to 325°F(160°C).

If stuffing the turkey, do so while the oven is preheating. Spoon stuffing lightly into turkey instead of packing firmly because stuffing expands while cooking. (Allow ½ cup (125 ml) of stuffing per pound (500 g) of turkey.)

Place turkey breast-up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.

Insert meat thermometer in the deepest part of the inner thigh, but not touching the bone.

Roast uncovered, or loosely covered with foil. If you choose to baste your turkey, limit the number of times you open and close your oven (once per hour is sufficient).

Turkey is cooked when the meat thermometer reads 170°F (77°C) for an unstuffed turkey, or 180°F (82°C) for a stuffed turkey and the juices run clear. (See Cooking Times and Temperatures for approximate cooking times.)

Remove the turkey from the oven when cooking is completed and let stand 15 – 20 minutes to allow the juices to set.

Using a Meat Thermometer

Whole turkey: prior to cooking, insert stem of oven-proof thermometer (stem will need to be at least 4 1/2″ (11 cm) long) into the thickest part of the inner thigh meat, not touching thigh bone. OR near end of cooking, remove from heat and insert instant-read thermometer stem or fork thermometer tines into inner thigh meat (as above). If stuffed, check stuffing temperature by inserting thermometer stem into centre of stuffing.

Always wash the tongs, plate and thermometer stem used in checking partially cooked meats/poultry before using again.

Roasting a Turkey in Conventional vs. Convection Oven

The Turkey Farmers of Canada recommend that consumers check with their manufacturer as to how much faster and hotter their oven might be compared to a conventional oven. Generally speaking, convection oven cooking temperatures should be 25-50°F (3.9-10°C) lower than conventional oven temperatures to prevent overbrowning due to surface drying. Convection cooking does typically cause greater moisture loss in turkey.

The result of roasting a turkey is the same in conventional or convection ovens in that the turkey is done when the endpoint temperature is reached. Your turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 180°F (82°C) for a stuffed turkey or 170°F (77°C) for an unstuffed turkey. The drumsticks should also move easily in the joints at this point.

Avoid overcrowding in the oven when roasting in a convection oven as crowding may inhibit air circulation and slow cooking.


A Turkey
Stuffed With a Duck
Stuffed With a Chicken

20 – 25 lb Turkey
4 – 5 lb Duck
3 – 4 lb Chicken
2 cups Stuffing

Debone all poultry. Salt and seasonings can be used on the outside of the birds or between the layers.

Method 1: Place stuffing inside of the chicken, stuff the chicken into the duck and then stuff the duck into the turkey. Secure with string or skewers.

Method 2: Lay turkey flat-out on a board, lay the duck flat-out onto the turkey, lay the chicken flat-out onto duck, then place stuffing in the center and roll all birds to form a roast. Secure with string. Netted bags are also great for securing the roasts! Roast according to weight and internal temperature.

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