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How to Roast Turkey - 18Qt. Roaster

One of the most famous meals prepared in Nesco® Roaster Ovens is the traditional turkey dinner. People have been making their holiday meals in Nesco® roasters since first introduced in the 1930's.

Our cooking methods should give you a moist, tender turkey every time using your Nesco® 18 Quart Roaster Oven.

How to Thaw Turkey
Completely thaw turkey before roasting. The National Turkey Foundation recommends thawing in the refrigerator.
Allow about one day for every five pounds of turkey. For example, a 20 pound turkey would thaw for 4 days. Place turkey in original wrapping in a shallow pan. Rinse in cold water before roasting.

To thaw turkey quicker, keep it in original wrapping, place in sink with COLD water. The COLD water must be changed every 30 minutes and must completely cover the bird. For example, a 20 pound turkey would thaw in 10 hours.

How to Roast Turkey
One 14 to 22 pound turkey, fresh or frozen
poultry seasoning
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp browning sauce such as Kitchen Bouquet® (optional)

Preheat 18 quart Nesco® Roaster Oven to 400º F. If you have a 12 quart Nesco®, a maximum 14 pound turkey is recommended. Cooking times (per pound) remain the same.

Clean and rinse turkey. Pat dry. Remove neck and giblets. If desired, prepare separately. Place turkey on rack. Use a pastry brush to spread mixture of butter and browning sauce evenly over turkey skin. Season with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.

Determine length of roasting time, normally 15 to 20 minutes per pound. A stuffed turkey will add 30 to 45 minutes to total roasting time.

Stuff cavity, if desired. Cover. Roast one hour at 400º F. With baster, remove any liquid and fat from cavity of bird and cookwell. Set aside to make gravy. Brush bird with basting liquid or butter mixture.

Reduce temperature to 350º F. Roast for remainder of cooking time. Use baster, to remove any liquid from cavity of bird and from cookwell when cooking time is about half-way through. If dry, baste turkey with basting liquids.

If turkey isn't as brown as you like it, increase temperature to 400º F. Roast remaining portion of time.

Use lift handles on rack to remove turkey. Be careful - rack will be hot. Set turkey on a platter or cutting board. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

If turkey is done early, reduce temperature to 200º F until serving time.

Note: Roast turkey until internal temperature of meat reaches 180º F on meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh muscle.

Save juice to make gravy or as a base for soup.

Variation: For extra flavor, add 1/4 cup apple or orange juice concentrate to butter basting mixture. If you choose not to stuff it, a sliced onion or a little garlic inside cavity of turkey also gives it a nice flavor.

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Learn How to Make Jerky with Nesco Jerky Spice, Jerky Kits, and Dehydrator

Making Beef Jerky, Venison Jerky and Turkey Jerky in your home with Nesco Jerky Seasonings is fun and easy.

Nesco Jerky Spice, Nesco Jerky Kits and Nesco Food Dehydrators make fun and easy to make Jerky! Free Dehydration Recipes of all kinds and instructions on how to make Jerky are here at

Nesco is known for their Roasters and American Harvest for their Dehydrators but combined into Nesco/American Harvest we have extended the product line with Coffee Blade Grinder, Coffee Roasters, Coffee Urn, Food Slicers, Food Grinders, Pressure Cookers, Juice Blenders, Water Kettles, Food Steamers, Bread Machine, Waffle Maker, Toasters, and even a Portable Induction Cooktop.