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The Best Way to Cook Turkey

best way to cook turkey

The best way to cook a turkey - ask 10 cooks and you'll probably get 10 different answers!

But our friend Michelle from the blog Simplify, Live, Love swears that the best way to cook a turkey is upside down!

Michelle isn't the only one who recommends cooking turkeys upside down. In fact, that's how I cooked my turkey last year. By placing the bird breast-side down in the roasting pan, you keep the white turkey breast meat from drying out, and you truly end up with the best turkey ever!

Want more information about this turkey technique? Click here for Michelle's version of "The Best Way to Cook a Turkey."

(And while you're there, make sure you check out Michelle's free printable Thanksgiving planner!)


Where to find the Best Thanksgiving Turkeys

Before we can even discuss the best way to cook a turkey, we need to talk about where to find one.

ChopLocal is home to a Thanksgiving Turkey Farm Directory this year, and we can help you find a turkey near you! No turkey farms in your area? We will also be shipping Thanksgiving turkeys, and you can have one delivered to your door. Sign up for our email list so you'll be notified when we start taking orders.


Tips for Cooking a Turkey

1. If you purchase a turkey from a major retailer, it's probably already brined. You do not need to do much to these turkeys before roasting, and you can even cook them from frozen.

2. If you are purchasing a turkey from a local farmer, it will not be brined or seasoned. This gives you a lot of flexibility to create a wet or dry brine with flavors of your choice.

3. Feeding a large crowd? We recommend 1-1.5 pounds of turkey per person so that you have plenty of turkey leftovers. Sometimes it's better to cook 2 small turkeys instead of 1 large turkey. A larger turkey needs to cook longer, and you risk drying out the white meat while waiting for the dark meat to fully cook.

4. Your turkey should be 165 degrees throughout when it is done cooking. Make sure to let it rest for 10-15 minutes to allow juices to redistribute before carving!


Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Of course, Thanksgiving is about more than turkey! Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving sides:

1. Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes to Make Ahead & Freeze

Cooking a large meal on one day can be overwhelming, so do some of the hard work ahead of time with these instant pot mashed potatoes.

2. Delicious Sourdough Dinner Rolls Made with Sourdough Discard

Sourdough is all the rage, and dinner rolls are an obvious Thanksgiving dinner "must-have." Give this recipe a try and let us know what you think!

3. Sourdough Stuffing Recipe with Roasted Red Onion, Kale and Sausage

Did you know stuffing should not actually be "stuffed" in the turkey? That's right - if you cook it inside the turkey, it will take a long time to reach a safe temperature, and your turkey will dry out in the meantime.

4. Ultimate Gravy Transformation

Fool your guests with a few simple tricks to make store-bought gravy taste divine!

5. Apple Cinnamon Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts get a bad rap, but they're one of my favorite vegetables! This version sounds amazing.


What To Do with Turkey Leftovers

After the big meal is over, you're likely to have some turkey leftovers. Sure, you could make a turkey sandwich, but there are a lot of other great options!

1. How to Make a Turkey Pot Pie from Scratch

Yum. Nothing beats turkey pot pie on a cold day!

2. Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Turkey & Mushroom Cream Sauce

Looking for something less traditional? This sweet potato gnocchi has great flavors of Thanksgiving, with a twist.

3. Homemade Turkey Stock

Use the turkey carcass to make homemade stock!

4. Copycat Panera Turkey Chili

This recipe uses shredded turkey, so it's a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers. Or try it with The Farmer's Turkey shredded turkey breast!


Have questions about Thanksgiving turkey?

Use the chat box at the bottom of your screen and we'll do our best to answer!


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