Although Thanksgiving is personally my least favorite holiday of the year (hold off on throwing mashed potatoes at me for thinking so!), there’s something magical about the idea of a Thanksgiving turkey. Needless to say, sometimes our magical turkeys tend to be ruined by human error or (occasionally) divine intervention.


So to make sure you end up with a turkey on your table, here are some tips to perfect your turkey skills!

1) Forgot to Thaw Your Turkey?

Forgot to thaw your turkey? Try not to panic (which I know is really hard, but try to do so anyway)! The safest way to defrost a turkey ASAP is by defrosting it in cold water. Is hot water faster? Yes, but it’s absolutely not safe and shouldn’t be attempted. If you’re pinched for time, just defrost it in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes just to be on the safe side.

2) The Perfect Temperature for Your Oven

Contrary to the belief that a hotter temperature means a faster way to get your turkey on the table, you should be roasting your turkey around 325 degrees Fahrenheit. That way, your skin won’t brown so quickly and you won’t risk undercooking it either.

3)Take This OUT

Ever heard of giblets? Make sure you don’t forget to take them out. They usually come in a tiny bag tucked into the cavity; simply take them out and discard them (or make giblet gravy. . .whatever THAT is).

4) Want That Perfect Skin?

The best way to get the perfect skin? Brushing it with oil or, in true Paula Deen fashion, BUTTER.

5) Get Some Evenly Cooked Turkey on Your Plate

If you want an evenly cooked turkey which holds its shape, trying trussing. Trussing is when you tie the legs together with twine before sending your turkey into the oven.

6) The Perfect Internal Temperature...

According to the lovely USDA, turkey should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees (and you should be taking the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh)

7) Mmm, Moistness!

When your wonderful, scrumptious, absolutely (and hopefully) perfect turkey out of the oven, let it rest for 10-20 minutes before cutting into it. That way all the juices can make it moister than it already is, ergo: better turkey!