Thanksgiving with Food Fare

Seasonal tips, recipes & resources





Holiday Greetings

What's on the Menu?


Side Dishes


The Main Meal

Turkey Guides

Turkey Recipes

Gravy & Condiments

Ham Recipes

Duck Recipes

Vegetarian Recipes



Recipes for Leftovers

Links of Interest

Credit & Terms of Use




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Turkey Guides

Below are tips for buying your bird, as well as suggestions for thawing and cooking times. Seasoning is a personal taste, as is whether to cook the bird stuffed or not.


Turkey-Buying Guide


To Serve: Turkey Size:
2-4 people 3.6kg-5.4kg (8-12 lbs)
5-7 people 5.4kg-7.2kg (12-16 lbs)
8-10 people 7.2kg-9kg (16-20 lbs)
11-13 people 9kg-10.8kg (20-24 lbs)



Thawing the Bird: Most whole turkeys are frozen when purchased. The traditional thawing method is to leave the turkey in its original wrapping on a tray in the refrigerator. Five hours per pound should be allowed for defrosting time. For example, a turkey weighing fourteen to nineteen pounds will need three or four days to completely thaw. If the turkey is not defrosted in this amount of time, place it under cold, running water to speed-up the thawing process.


Turkey-Thawing Guide


Size: Time in Refrigerator:
3.6kg-5.4kg (8-12 lbs) 1-2 days
 5.4kg-7.2kg (12-16 lbs) 2-3 days
7.2kg-9kg (16-20 lbs) 3-4 days
9kg-10.8kg (20-24 lbs) 4-5 days



Turkey-Cooking Guide (at 325-350-degrees F)


Weight (pounds) Un-stuffed Stuffed
6-8 2-2 hours 2-3 hours
8-12 2-3 hours 3-3 hours
12-14 3-3 hours 3-4 hours
14-18 3-4 hours 4-4 hours
18-20 4-4 hours 4-4 hours
20-24 4-5 hours 4-5 hours
24-28 5-5 hours 5-5 hours


Meat Thermometer Cooking: A meat thermometer provides the most accurate way to measure the temperature of the turkey and to ensure a perfectly-cooked bird. Using a meat thermometer enhances the quality of the meat, but also makes it safer from bacteria. Make sure to sanitize the thermometer before each use. Before placing the turkey in the oven to be roasted, insert the thermometer into the deepest part of the inner thigh near the breast (inserted from the side), or into the deepest part of the turkey breast. Be careful not to touch the thermometer to the bone.


Cooking Turkey by Internal Temperature:

Placement Temperature
Breast (2" into deepest part) 170F
Thigh (in the inner thigh near breast) 180F
Stuffing (center of stuffing) 160-165F



Carving the Bird

Place the turkey on a carving board. Use a medium-sized knife to cut down the front of the breast along the wish bone. Cut along the breastbone until the knife stops, then go to the bottom of the breast (near the wing) and cut toward the thigh. Repeat step with the other breast. Cut the breast into slices, and then cut thighs and drumsticks.



About Turkey Giblets

Turkey giblets consist of the gizzard (stomach), heart, liver and neck. Some people prefer to dispose of turkey giblets, while others add them to stuffing mixtures. If you belong to the former group, consider cooking the giblets anyway and give them to your pets as a treat. Note: Remove any remaining bones from the giblets before serving them to your pets. To cook giblets, remove paper covering and rinse with cold water. Pat dry. Fill a medium-sized pot with water; add giblets and simmer on low-heat for about two hours. Allow giblets to cool before chopping.



Timesaving Tips

  • Keep the Butterball Turkey hotline number handy: 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372).

  • Leave some or all of the peel on your mashed or roasted potatoes; this will save precious preparation time.

  • Use disposable roasting pans or line your casserole pans with foil; not only is it less hassle, there will be less washing-up to do.

  • Bake just one kind of pie.

  • Have your leftover food storage containers ready ahead of time.

  • Clean dishes, utensils, platters and glasses as you prepare the food rather than waiting to wash-up all at once at the end of the meal. You may end up with prune-like hands, but the long day won't stretch out into an equally long night.


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