How to Roast a Half Turkey

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The first time I cooked a half turkey, it felt like a revelation. “You mean, the delicious taste of roast turkey, with ample meat for 4 - 6 people, in more or less the same time it takes to cook chicken? I should do this every week!”

Half turkeys include one breast, one thigh, one drumstick and one wing — that is, they are sliced down the breast bone to be a half of a whole turkey. Roasted on their side (skin side up, bones down), they look pretty impressive in their roasting pan, and cook much more quickly than a whole bird.

Half turkeys generally weigh between 5 - 10 pounds, and we recommend you allow about 10 minutes/pound at 325°F. You can follow any turkey recipe with a half-turkey, just remember that it will cook more quickly than you expect — possibly even under an hour, so don’t let it go too long without checking. A meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast should be 165°F (meat will continue to rise an additional 10°F once you take it out.)

If you’re having a large crowd for Thanksgiving, consider choosing a whole turkey and a half turkey, rather than just one very large bird. You’ll have the (medium-sized) whole turkey to show off and carve at the table (if you must), and the half turkey can stay in the kitchen, ready to replenish the serving platter.

More cooking turkey tips and tricks are right here