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Thanksgiving Feast Simplified…Cooking a Frozen Turkey

Every year my husband and I host Thanksgiving dinner at our house for our extended families.  We love having the family gather in our home and our children enjoy all the excitement of having cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents around all at the same time.  Everyone brings side dishes to share and I cook the turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes.  It’s a wonderful holiday that we all look forward to every year.


But for some reason, cooking a huge turkey seems like a big ordeal to me and I waste a lot of energy stressing about it.  It always turns out well in the end, but I seem to have to plan and plan some more to make sure to get the turkey thawed in time, prepared properly, cooked well enough and tasting good.  So when I was asked to cook a large turkey for a church gathering last week, my stress level started to rise.  Then to add to the stress, I forgot to buy the turkey until the day before the event! No fresh turkeys in the store yet and there was no way an 18 lb turkey was going to have time to thaw and cook.


Ack!  I was almost frantic.  I started scouring the internet and came upon an amazing discovery that has forever changed my turkey cooking plan.  You can cook a frozen turkey!  Maybe this is not new news to some of you, but to me it was a total Godsend.  I’d never heard of sticking a rock solid frozen turkey in the oven.  It seems absurd.  But I had no choice, so I decided to give it a shot.


All I can say is Why did I not find out about this sooner???  I realized that the thawing part is what has always stressed me out.  I was always worried that I would thaw it too soon or not soon enough.  Plus, the fact that a huge turkey thawing in the fridge is really inconvenient and hard to manage when preparing for a holiday gathering.


So here are the instructions I used to cook my frozen turkey.  My one concern was getting the bag of giblets out of the cavity before it got heated up in case it was made of plastic.  Well, my worries were unneeded since the giblets were wrapped in paper (not plastic) and were still frozen solid when I got them out after 3 hours of baking.  If you’re unsure if the giblet bag is paper or plastic, I would recommend checking often since it would ruin the whole turkey if a plastic bag got heated in there.  (Heated plastic releases toxins that you don’t want to be ingesting).


How to Cook a Frozen Turkey:


1.  Place frozen turkey breast up in a shallow roasting pan with a little chicken stock to just cover the bottom of pan (I like to use one with a roasting rack).  Don’t worry about seasoning it yet.

2.  Cover with loose foil tent and bake at 325 degrees until breast temp reaches about 45 degrees (approximately 3 hours, depending on size of turkey).

3.  Remove turkey from oven.  Remove neck and giblets from cavity.

4.  Take this time to season turkey as you normally would.  I like to make a herb mixture of salt, pepper, thyme and sage to rub generously in the cavity before stuffing it with a halved onion, a carrot, a piece of celery and half an apple.  I then rub softened salted butter under and over the skin.

5.  Put turkey back in oven and continue to cook, uncovered, at 325 degrees until the breast and thigh both reach 170 degrees on the meat thermometer.  How long to cook depends on the size of your bird.  Here is a chart to give you an idea.

6.  When the turkey is finished, remove from oven and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.


The turkey turned out moist and delicious.  The skin was nice and crisp and everything cooked evenly.   I am so excited by this frozen turkey cooking method that I just had to share.  Next up…how to make a yummy gravy from the pan drippings.


How about you?  Have you ever heard of cooking a turkey this way?   What are your favorite ways to season your Thanksgiving turkey?  


View this post and lots of great blog posts from other bloggers at Your Green Resource at The Greenbacks Gal, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Homemaking Link up at Raising Homemakers, and  Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS

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2 Responses to Thanksgiving Feast Simplified…Cooking a Frozen Turkey

  1. […] Thanksgiving day, you’ve got your turkey cooked and dinner is going to be served very soon.  Rather than opening a jar of store-bought gravy or […]

  2. […] How to Cook a Frozen Turkey […]

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