Our resident how-to culinary expert, Marge Perry, goes toe-to-toe with the most-asked questions about cooking a turkey.
Top Turkey Questions: IntroMarge Perry, the voice of culinary wisdom behind our "Ask the Expert" blog, is an award-winning food writer and instructor at the Institute for Culinary Education in New York City. Read on for her expert advice on the most common questions about cooking a turkey.
What Size Turkey Do I Need to Buy for Thanksgiving?When deciding what size turkey to buy, figure 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per person, depending on whether you are big eaters and how much you want left over.
What's the Best Way to Thaw My Turkey?
There are two good ways to thaw your turkey:
- In the refrigerator, which takes several days, depending on the size of the turkey
- Submerged in cold water
How Long Will It Take My Turkey to Thaw?According to the USDA, when thawing your turkey in the refrigerator, you'll need to allow 24 hours for every four to five pounds.
How Long Will it Take for My Turkey to Cook?A lot of you wrote in asking for times for your specific turkey size. Use the USDA chart below as a guide–we all need to have some idea in order to plan the rest of the meal. Keep in mind–this chart is a guide only, and you need to take the turkey's temperature with a thermometer to check for doneness.
How Do I Know When My Turkey is Done?To make sure your turkey is cooked to a safe temperature but the breast meat doesn't dry out, cook it to 165 degrees.
How Do I Take the Turkey's Temperature?Insert the probe of the thermometer into the inner thigh, on the side closest to the breast. The tip of the thermometer should be at the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone.
How Long Can I Keep Leftover Turkey?Leftover turkey can keep, well wrapped, for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.