How often should you baste a turkey?

Saturday, November 15, 2008 3:10
Posted in category Cooking, Holidays

You have probably heard that basting frequently results in a better turkey that is much more moist and juicy than its non-basted counterpart.  But did you know that basting a turkey actually does little to make it less dry?

Basting your turkey has only one purpose – to give the skin that golden roasted turkey color to the skin that most people associate with a perfectly cooked turkey.  But frequent basting has a significant downfall.  Every time you open the oven, it loses heat.  This means it will take that much longer for your turkey to cook since everytime you open the oven for basting, it will take time to bring it back up to temperature.

So you should leave basting for the last hour of cooking, and not do it too frequently.  This way you get the benefits of basting by having that golden skin, while not prolonging cooking time significantly – something that can definitely put a crimp on your Thanksgiving dinner plans, especially if you have everything planned to when the turkey should be done before you started opening the oven all the time for basting!!!

If you want to have a juicier turkey, consider one of the self-basting turkeys instead, where there is a seasoned broth mixture injected into the turkey below the skin.

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3 Responses to “How often should you baste a turkey?”

  1. Atlanta Foodie says:

    April 20th, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Some would disagree about basting during the last hour and recommend basting early only and allow it to finish cooking during the last hour.

  2. Diana Cruz says:

    November 24th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Please excuse me, I have been cooking turkey for many years, and have never heard of a self basting turkey. I like the information that you do not open the oven until the last minute almost to baste the turkey. I’m still learning, I guess. Last year was almost a nightmare. We couldn’t figure out why the turkey wasn’t done after several hours, but I was basting(opening the oven door a lot); now I know. We have always had Butterball because it seems to be the best turkey. I tried Jennie O last year, and that was a disaster. My family always wants the best. So thank you very much-Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Ida says:

    November 28th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I found that using a turkey bag works wonders. No muss no fuss. It bastes itself and speeds up cooking time.