Did you know? You can bake your turkey ahead of time!
For me, this is the only way.
Now, of course, this means that at our house we don’t have a fancy “carve the turkey” tradition on Thanksgiving or Christmas day. But the trade-off is that I don’t have to walk into the kitchen and deal with a tepid, saggy turkey carcass after enjoying a special holiday meal. Worth it? A million times over.
Why should you bake your turkey ahead of time?
Let me count the reasons…
- Because of the tepid, saggy turkey carcass, but we’ve already been through that already.
- But speaking of the turkey carcass, when you make your turkey ahead of time, you’ll be able to save the said carcass and make incredibly Rich Broth and fantastic Turkey Gravy. So long live the turkey carcass (so to speak).
- Not only will your turkey be baked ahead of time, but you’ve also already made several gallons of broth too. And it’s not even Thursday yet.
- When you follow these methods of baking your turkey before the big day, your pre-cooked turkey will be perfectly moist, juicy, and tender at serving time.
- Instead of slaving over meal preparation on a holiday, YOU WILL GET TO ENJOY EATING THE ACTUAL HOLIDAY MEAL. That was me yelling to share the good news. I am so happy about this. Come one. Come all. Bake your turkey ahead of time!
I’ve shared before, but it’s worth sharing again…
How to Bake Your Turkey Ahead of Time
- 1 Turkey
- 1 Large Roasting Pan
- Foil if necessary
- Place the turkey in the refrigerator for 3-4 days until thawed.
- Remove the bag of giblets from the inside of the turkey.
- Empty the giblets into your roasting pan as they help make a good, rich broth.
- Place the bird, breast side up, into a large baking pan or roaster.
- Cover with foil or with your roaster lid.
- Cook at 325° for 15-20 minutes per pound.
- You know your turkey is done cooking when the red thing pops up, or when the legs start to pull away from the body. It should be golden brown and slightly crisp looking.
- Be sure to save the broth that formed naturally!
- Allow the turkey to cool, then de-bone completely. Store meat in baggies or in covered pyrex dishes in the refrigerator.
- Save turkey carcass to make another round of broth for gravy, soup, and other nourishing meals.
- On serving day, drizzle a liberal amount of broth (one-two cups per 9x13 inch pan of meat) over turkey, cover and warm in 300°-350° oven for 30-45 minutes or until meat is hot and steamy.
- Serve right away.
What about the rest of your holiday meal?
Indeed, you can prepare your entire holiday meal ahead of time!! Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cream cheese corn…the list goes on.
Here’s a run-down of how to prepare all your holiday dishes ahead of time. And even better? Grab our Holiday Prep Guide Packet filled with 9 fun printables to help you get ahead for the holidays! Sign up here to receive it for free!