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How Long to Cook a Turkey in a Convection Oven

With time and practice, cooking the perfect turkey becomes quite easy. Easy, that is, until you get a new convection oven. All of a sudden you have no idea how long to cook a turkey in a convection oven so it stays moist and yields that golden skin we all covet. The purpose of this page? To introduce you to convection oven cooking specifically for turkey.

You don't need a convection oven to get a beautiful result! Check out my Ultimate Turkey Recipe & How-Tos Collection for great turkey cooking tips and recipes. Or visit this page for tons of tips on how to cook a perfect turkey.

Convection Oven 101

Turkey COoking in a Convection Oven with Crisp SkinThe difference between a convection and a regular oven.There's really no mystery to convection ovens. Quite simply where your regular oven sends heat into the food from just one single source, a convection oven has fans to move hot air throughout the interior.

The benefits. This means heat circulates evenly and cooks more quickly-- generally saving you around 25% of the time you'd otherwise spend cooking a turkey in a conventional oven. Better still, all those fixings and Christmas or Thanksgiving side dishes you want to cook with your bird can go into the oven at the same time. The fan keeps the heat even – so now you're not only saving time but electricity and gas! Nice, right?

Okay, you probably knew all this when you bought your oven, right? But how long to cook a turkey in a convection oven?

Time and Temperatures for
Cooking a Turkey in a Convection Oven

Before you even start trying to calculate how long to cook your turkey, note that some convection ovens have a setting for "standard" heat, too. Make sure you have the oven set where you want it for roasting!

Calculating the Cook Time. In figuring out how long to cook a turkey in a convection oven, the first step is temperature. The suggested cooking temperature for turkey in a convection oven is 300 degrees. At this temperature you can cook a 16 pound turkey (unstuffed) in just over 2 hours on the lowest rack in the oven. Add another 30 minutes if the 16 pound weight includes stuffing.

Of course, you have to adjust how long to cook a turkey in a convection oven according to the weight of your turkey. Simple look at these standard turkey cooking times and reduce them by about 25% for an idea of how long it will take.

Knowing It's Done. One great accessory to look for if you're planning to cook a turkey in a convection oven is an electronic meat thermometer with a probe that you can put into the meat while you're cooking. This insures that you'll know when the turkey is cooked safely to perfection. A thigh should reach 180 degrees, the breast 165 degrees and the stuffing (if applicable) should be at least 165 degrees for safe handling.

7 Helpful Hints for Cooking
Turkey in a Convection Oven

1. Skip the Basting. Convection cooking does not require that you baste the bird throughout the cooking process. Instead, you can add any special flavors or just use drippings in the last hour of roasting.

2. Leave Room. Make sure your pan has plenty of room around the bird. You want at least 1" on each side for even cooking and to get the most benefit from the convection heat.

3. Keep it Closed. Don't peek too often – the more you open the door, the longer it will take to cook the turkey (this undermines the energy efficiency of convection cooking).

4. Cover it up. If you notice any part of the turkey browning too quickly you can cover it with aluminum foil. Note however that the foil must be secured otherwise the fans will dislodge it.

5. Consider your Oven. Different convection ovens cook differently. How long to cook a turkey in a convection oven for you might be different from, say, you're neighbor. In general, reduce the standard turkey cooking times by about 25%, and keep an eye on the temperature to be sure your bird doesn't get overcooked.

6. Test it Out. For the best result, test out a new oven with a turkey some time before a big holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Knowing how your oven performs will help you get the timing perfect for a big, special meal.

7. Choose Great Recipes. The best oven in the world won't help you if you don't have a great recipe. Check out some of the turkey recipes on this page for ideas on how to get a ton of flavor in your bird.

The Results

Once you know how long to cook a turkey in a convection oven, you just might produce one of the best turkeys you've ever tasted. Convection ovens save you a ton of time in the kitchen and produce a bird that's very moist throughout. Additionally you get a lovely crunch on the skin making it a feast for the eyes as well. Mmm.

For more ideas on how to cook a turkey, and great turkey recipes, visit my Ultimate Holiday Turkey Guide.

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There's more to getting a great turkey than simply knowing how long to cook a turkey in a covection oven. Also check out:

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Free Holiday Turkey Recipe Guide to How to Cook a Turkey

If it's a fat bird with a beard (no, I don't mean your Aunt Marjorie), we can help you cook it. Click on the icon above or click here to get started with recipes and tips on how to cook a turkey for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any time of year.


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