help_outline Skip to main content

Help us continue the mission

News

What Is the Best Turkey Size to Cook?

Adam Dufresne | Published on 11/1/2022

Many cooks, amateurs and even pro chefs, have their own thoughts on the best turkey size to cook.


For some, it's all about getting the biggest bird possible so there are plenty of leftovers. Others believe that a smaller turkey is easier to manage and results in juicier, more flavorful meat. And then there are those who think the perfect turkey is one that's been brined or injected with a savory marinade.


The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing the best turkey size to cook. It really depends on your own preferences and cooking style. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision:


  1. How many people will you be serving? If you're cooking for a large group of people, you'll obviously need a bigger turkey. But if you're only feeding a small gathering, a smaller bird will do just fine.


  2. Do you want leftovers? If you love having leftover turkey to enjoy for days after the holiday meal, go ahead and cook a larger bird. But if you don't want to be stuck with tons of food, opt for a smaller turkey.


  3. How long do you want to spend cooking? Generally speaking, the larger the turkey, the longer it will take to cook. So if you're tight on time, go for a smaller bird. But if you've got all day to devote to cooking, a larger turkey is no problem.


  4. What's your cooking method? If you're planning to deep fry your turkey, you'll need to factor in the size of your fryer when choosing a bird. And if you're smoking or roasting your turkey, keep in mind that larger turkeys will take longer to cook.


  5. Do you have any dietary restrictions? If you're cooking for someone with a gluten allergy, for example, you'll need to make sure the turkey you select is gluten-free. And if you're on a low-sodium diet, look for a turkey that has no added salt.


  6. What's your budget? Obviously, the price of the turkey will be a factor in your decision. But keep in mind that larger turkeys often go on sale closer to Thanksgiving, so you may be able to get a good deal if you're patient.


  7. What's your preference? In the end, the best turkey size to cook is the one that you and your guests will enjoy the most. If you're not sure what to choose, ask your friends and family for their opinion. Or go with a classic 20-pounder and enjoy the leftovers!


  8. What's the temperature of your oven? If you have a convection oven, you can cook a larger bird because the hot air circulates more evenly. If you have a regular oven, stick to a smaller turkey so it doesn't dry out.


  9. What type of pan will you use? The size of your roasting pan is another important factor to consider when choosing a turkey. If you don't have a very large pan, opt for a smaller bird so it fits comfortably.


  10. How experienced are you in the kitchen? If this is your first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you might want to go with a smaller turkey so you don't get overwhelmed. But if you're a confident cook, feel free to go big!


How to Cook the Perfect Turkey

Now that you've chosen the perfect turkey size, it's time to get cooking! Here are a few tips to help you make the best bird possible:


  1. Start with a fresh or frozen turkey. If you're starting with a frozen bird, make sure to thaw it completely before cooking.


  2. Season your turkey inside and out. Use your favorite herbs and spices to create a flavorful rub for the skin. And don't forget to stuff the cavity with aromatic veggies like onions, garlic and celery.


  3. Roast, smoke or deep fry your turkey until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that the meat is cooked through and juicy.


  4. Let the turkey rest before carving. This will give the juices time to redistribute, making for a tastier bird.


  5. Serve and enjoy!


FAQs

Q: What's the best turkey size to cook?


A: The best turkey size to cook is the one that you and your guests will enjoy the most. If you're not sure what to choose, ask your friends and family for their opinion. Or go with a classic 20-pounder and enjoy the leftovers!


Q: How long does it take to cook a turkey?


A: The cooking time for a turkey will vary based on its size and your cooking method. Generally speaking, the larger the bird, the longer it will take to cook. So if you're tight on time, go for a smaller turkey. But if you've got all day to devote to cooking, a larger turkey is no problem.


Q: What's the best way to cook a turkey?


A: There are many different ways to cook a turkey, so it really depends on your preferences. Some people like to roast their turkey, while others prefer to smoke or deep fry it. Ultimately, the best way to cook a turkey is the way that you and your guests will enjoy the most.


Q: How do I ensure my turkey is cooked through?


A: The best way to ensure that your turkey is cooked through is to use a meat thermometer. insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, making sure not to touch the bone. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit before you remove the bird from the oven.


Q: What should I do with the turkey drippings?


A: The turkey drippings can be used to make gravy, which is a delicious way to add flavor to your meal. To make gravy, simply pour the drippings into a saucepan and whisk in some flour or cornstarch. Then cook the mixture over low heat until it thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm. Yum!


Q: Can I cook a turkey ahead of time?


A: Yes, you can cook a turkey ahead of time. Simply roast or smoke the bird according to your recipe, then let it cool completely. Once it's cooled, store it in the fridge for up to four days. When you're ready to serve, simply reheat the turkey in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until it's warmed through.