How to Painlessly Cook a Turkey (painless for you, not the turkey)

It’s that time of year again for “Cooking with Judy”  Here’s a re-post of my yearly Thanksgiving post — cuz it’s tooooo good not to be shared!  

I have a reputation, among those who love me,  to have an “interesting” sense of humor.  Even though this sounds like a joke IT IS NO JOKE.
I read about this and tried it.  The turkey comes out brown, beautiful and MOIST.
 I’ve done this every year for over two decades and it’s never failed.  (One time I did a 20-plus pounder and parts were not completely cooked so I zapped the parts in the appliance of choice – my microwave)
I’ve shared this with many others and it has failed only once — the woman bought a ButterBall Turkey . . . and has never eaten turkey since. To see why, keep reading.

10 – 18 pound turkey* and a sense of adventure
  • Pre Heat oven 500 degrees (this is not a typo)
  • Clean the bird
  • Throw it into a covered container – put on lid or aluminum foil
  • Do not add ANYTHING to the pot and/or the bird.
  • Do NOT baste or look at until time is up  (you will hear burbling, don’t worry, by the time you hear burbling the turkey is dead)
  • Bake (and I do mean BAKE), 7 minutes per pound, unstuffed at 500 degrees FARENHEIT
  • 7 1/2 minutes per pound, stuffed
*WARNING: Do NOT buy any *turkey that has ANYTHING injected under the skin (especially butter!) or the fire department will join you for dinner after you scrub the black soot from your ceiling.
Q & A (I won’t bother you with the Q-part)
  • Yes, it comes out brown and beautiful.
  • No, it is moist and delicious
  • I always put the stuffing in a casserole rather than the turkey – others have stuffed the bird and said it was great.
  • Yes, it will smell like Thanksgiving not like a house-on-fire.
  • No, PETA would not endorse this because it is more humane . . . for the cook
  • Yes! 500 degrees.  It is not a typo
  • Yes, 7 minutes a pound
P.S.  A typical turkey will take a little over 1 hour to bake. The first year I made the turkey this way I had the critter sitting out raw and naked as a J-bird when the guests arrived.
When they found out nothing was in the oven everyone nervously inquired what time we were going to eat.
Made me smile.

19 comments on “How to Painlessly Cook a Turkey (painless for you, not the turkey)

  1. Noticed here a long time ago that I mentioned cheese cake in the crockpot and you said it sounded great….well here is a link to the recipe if you ever want to try it.
    I’ve changed mine up a bit to make it less fattening, but it is still too much for me this year. 🙂 but it comes out good. My bowls didn’t fit in my cooker as well as the person posting the recipe so I did it in batches. Worked great, I had mini cheese cakes. Everyone loves it. Our homemade cranberry sauce was good on it.

    If I ever make a whole turkey again I’ll have to try this.

    For us, we make a breast in the slow cooker. After all it is just us.

    Happy Thanksgiving!!


  2. Believe me people……this works like a charm! I have done it every year (sometimes twice in one year) since Judith wrote about it. Makes me hungry reading this!


    • Mo,
      NO kidding — it works great. I had a hard time this year finding a turkey without anything injected under the skin. Usually it’s the cheaper turkeys that have no injections. This year it was Zacky.
      Crock pot should work, at long as the turkey doesn’t mind being crocked!


  3. Really?!? This is a great solution for those who completely forget they have 12 people coming over for turkey dinner tonight…. Just crank up that oven to 500 (does my oven even HAVE a 500 setting?!)

    Your unusual recipe would have come in handy for a classic fictional Canadian radio story told and retold every Christmas here on CBC (our national broadcaster) from a show called “Vinyl Cafe”. In this episode, Dave, our hero, promises his long-suffering wife Morley that this year, for once! – he will take over cooking the turkey. But he realizes (too late!) that he has forgotten to even buy a turkey, and ends up with a frozen solid turkey that he needs to cook by the time Morley gets home from church with the kids. Very very funny….


    • Carolyn,
      You should write them an episode for next year and Dave will come out a TRUE hero. The original recipe was from a food stylist who realized the turkey was raw and the photo shoot was in 1 hour. So she cracked up the over to 500 and the turkey came out brown and beautiful in time for the shoot and then got eaten as a final insult.


  4. That’s pretty cool.
    Last year I had a medical procedure the day before Thanksgiving, I had everything set up and cooked everything in slow cookers. The easiest Thanksgiving ever. Stuart just had to turn the slow cookers on at different times.
    Everything from the Turkey to cheese cake…all in slow cookers…(yes I borrowed a few.)

    this year, we’re ordering dinner.
    no cooking for us.

    well…maybe Chex Mix…but in the crockpot!

    : )
    Happy Thanks Giving!


    • Ramesh,
      Happy American Thanksgiving! Turkeys were the traditional Thanksgiving dinner — probably because they were free roaming and inexpensive! I’ll have to check out thehistory. I was a vegetarian for a number of years but ended up a tiny bit mal-nourished since I don’t do much “serious cooking” and never got enough protein. So now I eat chicken, fish and turkey — not vegetarian but I certainly think that is the best course, morally and nutritionally. If I ever retire and have more time to cook that would be the way to go
      P.S. I’m working on Elph — it’s just been slow.


    • Ida,
      I’ve not forgotten you. I’ve been so under-the-weather that this week I’ve been on brain drain (double booked people, thought others were coming in and forgot they had canceled etc etc etc.) I WILL CALL.


  5. I swear to G-d that the first time I read that post I thought it said YOU were naked as the guests arrived. And in fact, since it’s you, I might have believed you!!! Great idea. As soon as we get back to the house we are having our own Thanksgiving….probably in late December. Please tell me the bird is DEAD first right? Happy Thanksgiving to you and Max, love, Laurie F. and Callie


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