Formerly known as The Old Hen and Mom and Dotter.

How to Cook a Turkey and Stuffing Recipe

How to Cook a Turkey and Stuffing Recipe

There are too many videos on YouTube of turkeys gone wrong to count. If you’re nervous about roasting a turkey for the first time, I think you might appreciate how easy it really is to do.

The reason I’m posting this today is that if your turkey is still in the freezer, you should probably move it into the refrigerator. It’s a good idea to put it on the bottom shelf and to put it on or in something to catch the juices.

To figure out how much time your turkey will need to defrost in the fridge, just figure on 5 hours per pound. So a 20-pound turkey will need 100 hours in the fridge. Divide the 100 hours by 24 hour days and you will need to defrost your turkey for about 4 days.

To figure out if you need to get up super early to put your turkey in the oven, check out this chart and set your alarm accordingly.

Once you have defrosted your turkey and figured out your roasting time, it’s time to prepare your turkey. To prepare your oven, remove extra racks and just keep one at the right height for your roasting pan. Doing this while the oven is still cool will save you a lot of unnecessary troubles. Get your roasting pan ready, turn oven to 325°F and remove packaging. If you don’t have a roasting pan, you can buy disposable ones in a regular grocery store but I recommend making the investment of a good roasting pan and a pretty platter. You will use them for more than just turkey over the years.

Okay, that is my least favorite part of the whole Thanksgiving dinner. Now you can do anything!

Turkey Stuffing

  • 1 pound bag bread pieces 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 1/2 bunch celery
  • 1 can water chestnuts (optional)
  • 32 ounces chicken broth 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 t. Sea salt
  • 1 t. Coarse ground epper
  • 1 T. Beau Monde

Most grocery stores and bakeries sell plain toasted bread around the holidays. For my 16 pound turkey, I just used one bag (1 pound) of stuffing bread.

You can toast your own by laying bread on a baking sheet and baking it in the oven but just be sure not to choose a sweet type of bread.

Put bread into a large bowl. I prefer breaking mine into smaller pieces before I start making the stuffing.

Chop onion.

Chop fresh flat leaf Italian parsley.

Chop sage. Secret: If you love the flavor of Stove Top stuffing, this & celery are probably the main reason why you do. Rosemary & thyme are great herbal additions too!

Finally, chop celery.

Water chestnuts add a nice crunch to the stuffing.  I like to chop mine a little bit first.

Finally, toss all the fresh goodies into the large bowl.

Add 2-3 cans of chicken broth (or just water) to stuffing then mix together.

Stuffing should be completely dampened and a little bit soft. It’s okay that the insides of the bread pieces are still crispy because they will get more juices when cooking inside of the turkey.

Now for the seasonings. Some basic seasonings you can use are a house spice like Johnny’s Lawry’s or Spike. Of course, you’ll want plenty of salt, pepper and maybe some Beau Monde (it gives a nice celery flavor). The great thing about stuffing is that as long as it hasn’t come near the raw turkey, you can taste a little piece before putting it in the turkey to see if it has enough salt. This will at least give you a good idea if you are close to perfection.

Yay! The stuffing is ready to stuff into the stuffee. First, rub salt all over the inside both ends of the turkey.

Then push stuffing into the neck end of the turkey (the end where the skin flap was). I know, it’s yucky.

When done,  use the skin flap to help seal the stuffing on that end. Just pull it up…

All the way… and hold in place while you flip the turkey over.

Then stuff the other end of the bird as full as you like. The top of this stuffing will get that yummy crispy topping on it. Mmmmm.

Rub butter or olive oil all over the bird and season with salt, pepper & seasonings that you enjoy. You can also lay herbs over the top of the turkey. Some people use a sweet sauce but we prefer a savory turkey. Pour about a cup of water in the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the rack in the pan and then the turkey with legs upward.

Tom is ready to pop into the oven. Keep your cutest oven mitts and turkey baster ready.

About every hour or two, check on the turkey and use the baster to suck up the juices and squirt them all over the bird. Your home is about to smell like family tradition. Savor it and remember it. These are the best times in life.

Once turkey is well browned, cover with roasting pan lid. This will prevent the to, the legs, and the wings from overcooking while the inside continues to roast.

Oh, momma. Let Tom sit for about 30 minutes before cutting. Remove stuffing from under flap on the bottom of bird and place it into a serving bowl. Carefully place turkey onto a pretty platter. A pan that comes with a rack is an especially good thing for cooking things as large as a turkey.

If you like the look & plan on having a picture op, keep the stuffing that is at the top there until needed.

Electric knives are popular for cutting as they allow for thinner slices.

Decorate your turkey with parsley, shorty baby tomatoes or whatever you find pretty.

May you and yours have a very happy holiday season celebrating the blessings that you have been given.


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5 thoughts on “How to Cook a Turkey and Stuffing Recipe”

  • If only you’d have posted this last year. I cooked it with the plastic handle thingy still attached, it did help me get it out of the pan though…. 😉

  • “Savor it and remember it, these are the best times of your life” thank you for that line. It truly struck a chord with me to change my bad attitude about dreading Thanksgiving at my house….I WILL savor the day. Thank you for the recipe 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

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