Yes. You read that title right. Today, we’re going to learn how to roast a turkey. Literally, the most foolproof way to cook your turkey so that you don’t ruin Thanksgiving. EVEN if you forget to defrost it, if you follow my instructions… you can whip up a Food Network worthy feast for your friends and family!
I’m actually not a huge turkey fan. Most of the time, it’s kind of dry and bland. I usually have to drench it in mashed potatoes and gravy to feel remotely interested in it. But, turkey is usually the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving meal. Most families have a tried and true method for preparing their turkey: from frying to roasting to turning upside down and all directions in between. But I’m here to tell you, my way is literally one of the easiest & fastest. Not to mention… you won’t need your oven for it! Which means you can cook up other dishes or even make one in your cramped apartment!
You are watching: How To Cook A Frozen Turkey In A Roaster
Here’s the thing, I don’t have time for brining. The last time my dad brined a turkey we had to buy a cooler from Target to keep it in overnight. No thanks.
Whether you’re roasting your first bird for your first annual Friendsgiving bash or are a seasoned vet, everyone appreciates cooking tips that make their lives easier, right?! My foolproof method has been tested – by me – and taste tested – by Tony and I – and I’ve gotta say, this recipe makes one tasty turkey!
Before You Get Started
- Order your turkey ahead of time. For real, if you go to the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving you’re going to hit the booze aisle just to rally through the masses of people scavenging over the frozen turkeys. Most of the time, it’s hard to track down a non-frozen turkey. But that’s ok! Supermarket turkey’s are totally fine. That’s what I used!
- Order THIS EXACT ROASTING OVEN. This isn’t a sponsored post. I bought mine on Amazon because I always run out of space in my oven when I’m cooking. I also don’t like having to cook days before Thanksgiving. It’s available for Prime shipping, so you can get free 2 day shipping. But you can also buy it in store or online from Target or Walmart.
- An instant-read thermometer is the easiest way to figure out when your turkey is done. It’s worth buying one if you don’t have one so you don’t end up with an undercooked or overcooked turkey.
- Buy Electric Roaster Liners. This may seem silly, but it makes cleanup a breeze! You literally just throw it away when you’re done! Meaning no scrubbing and soaking while your family hangs out!
- If you want to defrost your turkey, plan on putting it in the fridge BEFORE Thanksgiving day. You’ll want to do this in the fridge, giving yourself 1 day for every 4 pounds of turkey. But if you don’t have time or forget to, don’t worry! You can actually cook a FROZEN TURKEY in the Outer Roasting Oven I linked above!!!
Picking Out Your Turkey
You’d think buying a turkey was pretty straight forward. But surprisingly, there are soooo many options and it can be pretty confusing. Some people claim that fresh turkeys are more flavorful than frozen turkeys. But if you’re buying one at the supermarket, there’s really not a big difference. Most of the time, frozen turkeys are less expensive.
Free-range Turkey: This means that the bird was not raised in a cage and was free to graze, generally this is considered a more humane and healthy process.
Kosher: Kosher means that the turkey has been farmed according to Jewish dietary customs, as well as under rabbinical supervision.
Organic: All organic turkeys are raised free-range, without the use of antibiotics. They’re also fed an organic and vegetarian diet that hasn’t been treated with pesticides.
Natural: Natural turkeys usually cost less than organic turkeys, but are usually the same quality. The only difference is that there isn’t a government guarantee on a label.
Conventional: This is going to be your average, everyday turkey from the grocery store.
Self-basting: A self-basting turkey has been injected with a “flavor solution” and preservatives.
For turkeys under 16 pounds, estimate about 1 pound per serving. For larger turkeys, a bit less is ok. But if your goal is to have a lot of leftovers, aim for 1½ pounds per person.
- For 8 people, buy a 12-pound turkey
- 10 people, buy a 15-pound turkey
- 12 people, buy an 18-pound turkey
- 14 people, buy a 20-pound turkey
THE BEST TURKEY RECIPE MADE IN AN ELECTRIC ROASTER OVEN
READY-IN: 6-7 Hours SERVES: varies on size YIELD: 1 Turkey UNITS: US
- 1 whole turkey
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1 onion (cut in quarters)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of pepper
* All ingredients linked are from Amazon Fresh, so you can get free 2 hour delivery!
- Turn the temperature knob of your Roasting Oven to “DEFROST”. Line your roaster with a liner before it begins to heat up. Preheat the roaster for about 20 minutes.
- Unwrap your frozen turkey and place it on the roasting rack inside of the roaster and place the lid on top. This starts the defrosting process. Use your meat thermometer to check the temperature from time to time, but try not to open the lid too often or it will release heat.
- Check the turkey and once the legs & thighs are between 90F and 100 F, you can egis basting. I recommend checking first after an hour.
- Next, remove the turkey from the roaster. Remove the bag of giblets and the neck using tongs. Set aside if you plan to make your own gravy.
- In a small bowl, mix the butter, fresh herbs, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt & pepper. Using your hands, rub the herb butter mixture on the turkey. I also like to rub a layer of butter in between the skin & meat. This will give you a more flavorful bird & keep it from drying out.
- Using the remaining tablespoon of salt, rub the inside cavity. Then, stuff the onion inside.
- Continue cooking in the defrost setting until the thighs and legs reach at least 130 F to 150F and the breast is at least 50F. This should take about 4 hours for a small turkey (under 17 lbs) and 6 hours for a large turkey (about 23 lbs).
- Once it’s defrosted, brush the turkey with about 1/2 cup of olive oil.
- Now you’re roasting! Turn the temperature knob to 325 F and roast your turkey! The turkey will be done roasting when the temperature of the breast reaches at least 165 F and the legs and thighs are at least 175F. I recommend checking the temperature of the inside cavity as well. It should be at least 165 F. Generally, a smaller turkey will take about 2 more hours and a larger turkey will take 1 more hour.
The Total DEFROST + ROAST time for a smaller turkey is about 6 hours.
The Total DEFROST + ROAST time for a larger Turkey is about 7 hours.
Your turkey will self-baste if you don’t lift the lid, so you don’t have to baste it every like you do in your conventional oven! Meaning: DO NOT LIFT LID during cooking time! Lifting the lid will increase the cooking time because the roaster oven will lose heat. I’ve seen other roaster ovens basically ‘steam’ the turkey. This is not the case with the Oster Roaster Oven! It will turn out similar to roasted chickens you buy from the grocery store or Costco, juicy and perfectly roasted!