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How to Cook a Turkey in a Roasting Pan

A Roasting pan is a splendid way to cook a turkey in the oven. And it works for all occasions including holidays and big dinner parties. Turkeys provide enough meat to feed a large crowd, and the oven method is the best way to cook a whole size. But not everyone knows how to make such in a roasting pan.

How to Cook a Turkey in a Roasting Pan

Tips for Roasting Pan Turkey

You need to be attentive to certain factors if you want the best-roasted turkey recipe.

Turkey Size- Consider the number of guests you’re hosting before buying the turkey. And when you do, plan one to one-and-a-half pounds per serving. By this number, a 16-pounder will be enough for at least 10 to 12 people.

Cooking Temperature- You need to start the oven at a high temperature, then reduce it once the bird is inside. A good start is setting the oven to 450F, then reducing the heat by 100F once the bird is placed inside. This method allows the oven to retain heat during the periodic opening and closing for basting.

Cooking Time- For an unstuffed, untrussed bird, you should cook at 13 minutes per pound. Otherwise, plan for 15 minutes per pound to compensate for the extra ingredients in the cavity and the post-truss skin tightness.

Doneness- Turkey needs to cook to an internal temperature of 160F. And if you wish to play safe, allow the bird to reach a maximum of 165F. Of course, the time depends on the size of the turkey you’re cooking. But it helps to stick to the recommended temperature so you can easily do the math.

Resting- Once the turkey is cooked to approved doneness temperature, let it sit tented on the countertop for an extra 15 minutes. This waiting period allows the tissues to reabsorb the juices, and carving too early will cause this fluid to run out. And the result would be a challenging and chewy turkey dinner.


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Cooking Turkey in a Roasting Pan

When using a roasting pan, it helps to keep a few tips in mind. This way, you can proceed with the recipe without hassle or confusion. And these tips help you hone your ability to make turkey in a roasting pan at every turn.

The Thaw Debate

While most recipes suggest you can cook a frozen turkey, it’s always recommended. The solid-state increases cooking time, and since the degree of freezing isn’t known, you won’t correctly approximate the cooking duration. So, the best way is to defrost the turkey before cooking. And there are two ways to make it happen.

If you have time to spare, consider thawing the frozen bird long before the cooking day. As a rule, turkey thaws at 24 hours per giving pounds. But you can accelerate this by placing the frozen bird in cold water. Then, change the water every 30 minutes, so the chill isn’t present in the meat afterward.

Seasoning Methods

Roasting pan turkey excels with brining, and such can be done in two ways. First, you can either rub a helping of salt all over the bed, then let it sit for 24 hours before cooking. Or you can bring the bird in a salt solution for the same amount of time. Brining is so effective, the recipe would barely need any other spices.


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The Roasting and the Pan

Once it’s time, pour some broth into the roasting pan before placing the bird in the oven. The broth serves as basting liquid for the meat, which you’ll scoop and pour over the turkey as it cooks. Plus, the drippings from the roasted bird add enough flavor that’ll work in gravy.

Turkey needs to roast at 13 minutes per pound, during which you’ll observe the doneness with a meat thermometer. By the math, a 16-pound bird should be ready in about 90 minutes. And you’ll have to check the internal temperature halfway through the cooking time, so you don’t miss the 160F doneness benchmark.

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How to Cook a Turkey in a Roasting Pan (2)

Oven-Roasted Turkey

  • Author: Bobby


  • One whole turkey, 16 pounds, thawed
  • Two cups broth, low sodium
  • One cup melted butter


  1. Prepare the oven the heat by preheating it to 450F. Then, place the rack at the third bottom slot. While it heats, rub your room-temperature turkey with salt and let it sit for 20 minutes to one hour.
  2. Pass the broth into the roasting pan and place the turkey, breast-side up on the rack inside it. Then, set the roasting pan in the oven and reduce the temperature to 350F.
  3. Roast the turkey for three and a half hours at 13 minutes per pound. But ensure to begin checking the internal doneness at halfway through the cooking time. Then, at every 45 minutes, take the turkey out and quickly close the oven door. Then, baste the bird with the pan juices so the surface cools and the cooking slows down.
  4. At the final 45 minutes, baste the turkey with melted butter or olive oil, so the skin cooks to a crisp golden brown. Ensure to check for doneness by poking the thermometer’s probe in the thickest parts of the turkey. You want the bird to reach doneness of 165F. Cover the breast with foil if it hasn’t, return the bird to the oven, and roast for another 20 minutes.
  5. When the turkey is ready, take it down and tent loosely with foil for 30 minutes, then carve and serve as desired.

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