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University of Minnesota Extension

Turkey basics

Finished turkey in roasting pan.

Turkey is the center of many traditional holiday meals. First, choose the right sized turkey for your gathering. Thaw the turkey safely using one of our 3 recommended methods. Don't wash the turkey before roasting because washing can spread bacteria around your kitchen (proper cooking kills any bacteria on the turkey). Cook stuffing outside the turkey to ensure it reaches a safe temperature. Since turkeys are cooking faster than before, see our roasting section for cooking times. Lastly, refrigerate any leftover turkey within 2 hours of cooking. 


Suzanne Driessen, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2018

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