The Beginners Guide To All Things Turkey

In Cooking & Crafting by Jen39 Comments

Several years ago I was a youngish newlywed that was far from home during the holidays. This meant that I was the one responsible for concocting and cooking the meal our family and a few of our friends would enjoy that year. I wasn’t a rookie in the kitchen. For years I had helped my mother to put on our large extended family Holiday meals, but I had never been the one responsible for the whole thing! It was a daunting task.

So that year I researched, prepared, and honed whatever skills I possessed in order to up my game and try to become the top chef that I hoped was waiting to bloom inside of me. Now that we have Pinterest and the internet, it is a whole lot easier to do said research, more so than when I was a newlywed, but you still have to have some serious Google chops to find the best of the best resources and links. So here today I would like to share with you some of the best ways I have found to prepare, stuff, cook, and even carve a turkey!

Newlyweds and first-time turkey cookers, no need to thank me. I am just hoping to save you from the same pain I endured during my learning process.

Have a turkey question? Here’s your answer!

  1. What size bird do you need to buy to feed your family? The old age question answered with brilliant simplicity.
  2. How to thaw a turkey. Many a Holiday meal has been destroyed by underestimating the time it will take to thaw your bird. Don’t fall prey to this.
  3. How long does it take to cook a turkey? BuzzFeed can answer that question.
  4. How to stuff a turkey. Over-stuffing can be bad. Learn how to do it like a pro!
  5. How to roast a turkey. This one is for beginners with detailed instructions and pictures.
  6. Roast your turkey in a bag. This is how I do it and I say a prayer of thanks to Reynolds each year for their amazing product!
  7. Crockpot turkey. This is genius.
  8. How to grill a turkey. I have always wanted to try this.
  9. Finally, cook a turkey like a boss. Just in case you need one last shot of confidence.
  10. How to carve a turkey. I don’t know about you, but learning how to carve a turkey properly takes some serious skill! Jen’s Guy can carve a turkey like a pro and is much sought after for these specific skills during the Holidays.

Gobble, Gobble, and good luck to you this Holiday season!

May all your dreams for turkey perfection come true.



Go ahead and share this post, you know you want to!


    1. I have plenty of friends who have never cooked one too, and I tell them there day is coming. So this post was my attempt to help! So glad you liked it. For now make sure to learn at the feet of your turkey teaching pros, that being your Mom and MIL!
      Jen recently posted…The Beginners Guide To All Things TurkeyMy Profile

  1. I remember this learning curve a very long, long, long time ago. Then I called my mom and she helped me make everything. For years and years (after mom died) everyone came to my house for the holidays. Why? Because I fixed Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners just like mom did.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺
    Comedy Plus recently posted…Barb – Story GameMy Profile

  2. This is genius! My parents are doing the turkey this year but Cassidy and I signed on to do the turkey for the school Thanksgiving feast. My friend called me so brave! I told her it was Cassidy that was so brave.
    Stay tuned!
    Tamara recently posted…In Too Deep.My Profile

  3. Man, I wish I’d had this five years ago when I took on the job of preparing Thanksgiving for my in-laws. I did a lot of research and Pinning and hand-wringing as well. It must have worked out okay, though. I haven’t been fired yet!
    Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted…Apple Spice Cake {Recipe}My Profile

  4. That first year hosting Thanksgiving is so daunting. Thankfully it gets easier the more often you do it. I also had to click on over to the grilled turkey post. Their photos are beautiful, but I can’t imagine cutting up the turkey for the grill. But, so much is due to personal preference, anyway.
    Leslie recently posted…How to Smoke a Turkey on a Charcoal GrillMy Profile

  5. I’m 32 and I’ve still never hosted Thanksgiving at my house. I’ve only ever been responsible for bringing a side dish or dessert. I would be terrified to cook a turkey, but I’m sure your hints would help!
    Becca recently posted…We Went to Knott’s Berry Farm!My Profile

    1. Author

      Haha! I felt that way once, but it actually is pretty easy. Probably the easiest part of the whole meal. It’s all of the other stuff that takes up sooo much time!
      Jen recently posted…Making Holiday MemoriesMy Profile

  6. Great guides! Sadly, I will miss out on all things cooking this year (and most years). It’s my husband’s tradition to go to hunt camp every year and that leaves not enough of us at home to cook for. Usually I make it ahead of time but too busy this year. Most would be joyous at not having to prepare the mega meal, but not I. Pinning because maybe I can get a turkey for after Thanksgiving when they go on supersale. Hoping.

  7. Hi Jen, with the world at our fingertips planning and cooking a holiday meal isn’t half as daunting as it once was. I cook chicken in a crock pot, but never thought to cook a turkey in a crock pot. Now there’s an idea!

    Great tips!


  8. The first time I was responsible for the turkey, I completely forgot to allow time for it to thaw. Never made that mistake again. I actually find making turkey quite easy. It just requires a bit of math to figure out the details, and some planning to execute the process and end up with a cooked turkey at the right time. #happynowlinkup

  9. I’ve never tried the Reynold’s bag way, but it sounds up my alley! I consider myself lucky that my husband likes to smoke ours. Now to remember to thaw it in time… :)


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