How to Cook a Turkey - Three Popular Cooking Methods

Do you go into the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning dreading dry turkey? Have you ever wished you could discover how to cook a turkey perfectly? Then you're reading the right article. The first thing nervous cooks need to understand is that there are 101 ways to cook a turkey - from traditional to cutting-edge culinary techniques.

You do not have to be a master cook to make a good-tasting bird, but knowing what options are available helps greatly. Ready to learn more about how to cook a turkey?

Three Methods for Cooking a Moist Turkey

1. Roasting

The most traditional method for how to cook a turkey is roasting. The average recipe calls for an oven temperature of 325 degrees. To prepare a turkey for roasting you want to rinse it thoroughly, season it inside and out with flavors your family enjoys, then put it in a roasting pan with water in the bottom. The water keeps the drippings from burning (you'll want those for gravy).

Loosely cover the turkey with aluminum foil. For every four pounds of unstuffed turkey you'll need about one hour cooking time. If you have a kitchen thermometer, place it in the thickest part of the turkey breast. The meat needs to be 165 degrees to be safe for consumption. Additionally, experts recommend that you keep the stuffing outside the bird (mix and put in an oven proof container, placed in the oven about 1 hour before the turkey is done). This is also a good moment to remove the aluminum foil so you get a nice crunchy skin.

Finally, the key to a good roast turkey is resting time. When you pull the turkey out of the oven let it sit untouched for about 20-30 minutes before carving. This keeps the turkey moist.

2. Oven-Bag Roasted Turkey

In deciding how to cook a turkey, turkey oven bags are a great alternative to traditional roasting. Supermarkets carry plastic cooking bags safe for oven use. The temperature for your oven is now 350 degrees F. Note that your baking pan must contain the bird and the cooking bag completely - the bag expands during cooking and if it touches any part of the oven it will melt.

As with a roast turkey you should season your bird before placing it in the bag. Consider adding some onions, a peeled orange and other flavorful aromatics to the cavity of the turkey to give it even more flavor from inside out. Cook according to the directions on the cooking bag packaging.