It Turns Out You Actually CAN Microwave a Turkey
And the rest of Thanksgiving dinner, apparently.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the internal temperature of a microwaved breast should be 160 degrees. It should actually be 165 degrees.
If you don’t live under a rock, you know “hilarious” kids have been “pranking” their parents by asking them how long it takes to microwave a 25-pound turkey. They then publicly shame their parents—I mean entertain their followers—by posting their responses online.
Joke’s on them, though, because it turns out you CAN microwave a turkey.
I spoke to a turkey expert, Henry, via Butterball’s live chat feature.
While you probably shouldn’t try to stuff a 25-pound bird in your microwave, Butterball has tested microwaved turkeys up to 12 pounds and found “no significant tenderness, texture, or flavor differences” compared to turkeys cooked in a covered or open pan.
If, for some reason, you want to try microwaving a 12-pound turkey, follow Henry’s simple instructions:
- Microwave at 30 percent power, 24-26 minutes per pound.
- Divide the total time into four intervals.
- After each interval, rotate the turkey 90 degrees and remove the drippings.
- After the second interval, turn the turkey over.
- This is the most important part: After the fourth interval, the internal temperature should be 165 degrees for a boneless breast or 175 degrees for a boneless turkey.
That’s it! You have your (allegedly) delicious main dish. But why stop there?
According to my grandmother’s Betty Crocker’s Microwave Cooking cookbook from 1977, your microwave can handle pretty much anything.
I took the liberty of picking out three recipes that are perfect for Thanksgiving dinner:
Disclaimer: These recipes haven’t been tested in 40 years, so proceed with caution.
Glazed Sweet PotatoesMakes four servings.
- 1 can (18 oz.) vacuum-packed sweet potatoes
- 2 Tbs. margarine or butter, cut into pieces
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
- Gently mix all ingredients. Cover and microwave 3 minutes; stir gently.
- Cover and microwave until hot, 2 to 3 minutes.
Orange-Buttered CarrotsMakes three servings.
- 2 cups sliced carrots
- 2 Tbs. water
- 2 Tbs. margarine or butter
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 tsp. grated orange peel
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Cover and microwave carrots and water in 1-quart casserole or bowl 4 minutes.
- Let stand 5 minutes, stir.
- Cover and microwave until carrots are tender, 5-6 minutes; drain.
- Stir in remaining ingredients.
Pecan TartsMakes 12 tarts.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- ⅓ cup margarine or butter
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 packages (5 oz. each) baked pastry shells (3-inch size)
- Whipped cream (optional)
- Beat eggs, sugar, and corn syrup in 2-quart casserole or bowl. Add margarine and pecans.
- Microwave uncovered until mixture boils and thickens slightly, 5 to 7 minute, stirring every 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
- Remove pastry shells from foil pans; place six shells on a plate. Pour filling into shells. Microwave uncovered, 1 plate at a time, until filling starts to bubble, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with whipped cream.