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No Second Chances! Use Convection for Succulent Turkey Cooked Right

by Ann Ferguson

Cooking the turkey for Thanksgiving can be stressful—you only get one shot at it! Not to mention, with traditional baking you’ll end up spending all day in the kitchen for maybe-it’ll-come-out-right results. But don’t start hyperventilating just yet—try baking with convection instead!

Why convection cooking? A range or wall oven with convection uses a third heating element in the oven cavity behind the fan, which circulates the hot air throughout the oven so your food cooks quickly and more evenly. And if you roast your turkey with convection, your bird cooks about 25 percent faster and comes out moister and with crispier skin!

To get succulent turkey right the first time, here are a few quick tips you should follow in your wall oven or range with convection.

Optimal Convection Arrangement & Temperature

To make sure your turkey cooks completely on all sides, the pan should be placed in the optimum location. That is, front and center on the lowest rack or oven shelf. 

If you’re roasting side dishes at the same time (convection will cook both to perfection), place the turkey on the lowest or middle rack, and position the pans in the opposite corners of the oven, so one dish doesn’t block the air over the other.

The temperature is also important; for cooking with convection we recommend that you preheat your oven to 325 degrees. 

Ensure Succulent Juiciness

Wondering if you still need to baste? The best part of the convection process is that it sears the turkey and locks in moisture, so you don’t have to periodically baste your turkey! But if you’re using a special sauce or marinade for your turkey recipe, use it during the last hour of cooking.

The only thing you should watch out for is if the wings or legs start to get too brown. If that happens, simply cover the affected parts with foil to keep the moisture locked inside.

How Long Should You Cook the Bird?

Since cooking with convection is faster, you have to adjust the cooking time spent in your oven or range. A good rule of thumb is to and reduce the time of baking a turkey in a traditional oven by 25 percent.

But if you don’t want to do the math while you’re rushing to get the holiday meal done, you can save yourself the headache! This chart (courtesy of Butterball) gives you a quick rundown on cooking times according to the size of your turkey, with your oven at 325 degrees:

Turkey Weight Cooking Time (unstuffed) Cooking Time (stuffed)
6 - 10 lbs. 1 ½ - 2 hours 1 ¾ - 2 ½ hours
10 - 18 lbs. 2 – 2 ½ hours 2 ½ - 3 ¼ hours
18 - 22 lbs. 2 ½ - 3 hours 3 ¼ - 3 ¾ hours
22 - 24 lbs. 3 – 3 ½ hours 3 ¾ - 4 ¼ hours

Towards the end of your cooking time, check if your bird is done by seeing if the legs move loosely and the juices are clear. Make sure to use a meat thermometer on the thickest parts of the breast, wing, thigh to see if every part (including the stuffing!) is at 165 degrees before you say bon appétit! 

Simple Yet Delicious Traditional Roast Turkey with Convection (Recipe)

Time to put your convection feature to the test and try out our favorite traditional roast turkey recipe for yourself.

RECIPE Traditional Roast Turkey with Convection

  • PREP TIME: 15 - 20 minutes
  • COOK TIME: 1 ½ - 4 hours (refer to our chart)
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 – 4 ¾ hours
  • COURSE: Main
  • SERVINGS: Depends on turkey size (1 pound per person)

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh or frozen turkey (size depends on how many you’re feeding)
  • 1/2 cup of oil (olive or vegetable)
  • Rosemary (to taste)
  • Thyme (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Prepare your oven: adjust racks to provide enough room for the turkey, then preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Make sure turkey is completely thawed, then remove the neck and giblets from turkey.
  3. Place turkey on top of a rack on a low-sided sheet pan (if using a high-sided pan, make sure the rack lifts the turkey off the bottom of the pan).
  4. Tuck the wings under the turkey and loosen the skin at the edge of the breast (DO NOT truss the turkey; the convection process needs to touch as much surface as possible).
  5. Place olive or vegetable oil in a small dish and brush oil all over the turkey (with a brush or your hands) and make sure to get under the skin where you can.
  6. Sprinkle rosemary and thyme on the turkey according to taste.
  7. Take out a metal skewer and stick it between the turkey legs for extra balance on the rack.
  8. Now don’t forget to wash your hands and sanitize any surface that touched raw meat.
  9. Next, place the turkey in your preheated oven in the optimum location, shut the door and let it cook.
  10. Around 15 to 20 minutes before it should be done, check if the legs or wings are too brown. If so, place a sheet of foil on just those parts to ensure maximum juiciness!
  11. Did the timer go off? See if the turkey’s temperature is at 165 degrees; use your meat thermometer on the thickest part of the thigh (but don’t touch the bone!).
  12. Once you’ve ascertained the temperature, remove the turkey and tent it with foil. Let it sit for about 20 minutes to carryover cook before serving!

Now the cooking possibilities are endless! You can use convection for practically everything, and get it right the first time (and keep your family’s bellies full of mouthwatering goodness this holiday season)! If you don’t have a convection range or wall oven, explore our selection of cooking appliances. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us—we’re always happy to help!