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Tips and Techniques for Cooking Fresh and Frozen Turkeys

Tips and Techniques for Cooking Fresh and Frozen Turkeys
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The holidays are drawing near, which means it’s time to plan festive menus for seasonal gatherings. No matter who or how you’re entertaining this holiday season, we’re here to help with fool-proof tips and techniques for cooking a turkey.

Carved Turkey on Platter

To order a fresh or frozen turkey, please contact the Meat Department at your preferred Heinen’s location.

How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey

There are two methods for thawing frozen turkeys:

  • Refrigerator: Thaw 24 hours for every 5 lbs. of turkey.
  • Cold Water: Thaw 30 minutes for every pound of turkey. Completely submerge the wrapped turkey, breast-side-down, in a large container filled with cold water. Replace the water every 30 minutes. Wash the container thoroughly with hot soapy water after thawing is complete.

Once thawed, it is crucial that the turkey remain in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook!

How to Cook a Turkey

Follow the size/cook time chart below to cook your holiday bird to juicy, tender perfection!

Turkey Weight (lbs.)Cooking Time (Hours)
8-122-1/2 – 3 3/4
12-163-3/4 – 5
16-205 – 6
20 – 246 – 7 1/4
24 – 287 1/4 – 8 1/2
Tips and Techniques for Cooking Fresh and Frozen Turkeys

Tips and Techniques for Cooking Fresh and Frozen Turkeys


  • 1 Whole Turkey


  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
  2. Release the legs from the oven-safe clamp. Remove the neck and giblets from body and neck cavities.
  3. Rinse the turkey inside and out. Drain well. Season the cavity with spices or herbs of your choice such as salt, pepper, thyme, poultry seasoning, etc.
  4. Rejoin the  legs with the clamp (if applicable).
  5. Place the turkey breast-side-up in a shallow roasting pan. Tuck the wings under the back of the turkey.
  6. Cover the turkey loosely with a “tent” of aluminum foil. This eliminates the need to taste and prevents excessive browning.
  7. Roast using the time chart (above) until the internal temperature of turkey is 165 F. We recommend using a digital  thermometer for best results. Check the internal temperature by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the inner thigh area where the leg connects to the body of bird but is not touching the bone.
  8. About 45 minutes before the end of the suggested roasting time, remove the foil tent, baste the turkey with drippings and continue roasting until done.
  9. For better slicing, allow an extra 20 minutes “resting time” before carving.
  10. To learn how to carve a turkey like a pro, click here.

Note: Cooking times are for unstuffed turkeys. Increase cooking time by 15-20 minutes if cooking a stuffed turkey. Be sure the stuffing temperature also reaches 165 F.

Heinen's Grocery Store

By Heinen's Grocery Store

In 1929, Joe Heinen opened the doors of a small butcher shop on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, aiming to establish himself as the city’s purveyor of quality meats. As customers came into Heinen’s new shop for their meat purchases, they began asking him to carry groceries as well. Joe added homemade peanut butter, pickles and donuts and by 1933, business had grown enough to include a line of produce and canned goods. Heinen’s Grocery Store was born.

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