turkey on farm at sunset

How to Turn a Roasting Turkey

How to Turn a Roasting Turkey Breast Down to Breast Up

The problem has been how to turn a roasting turkey over without dropping it, or knocking over a roasting pan full of hot fat. Turning a turkey over during the roasting process isn't necessary, but it can make the bird more evenly browned, and in some cases more juicy.

If your turkey is not too large, here is a way to turn it using butcher's twine. Use your judgment as to how heavy a turkey you (and your twine) can handle.

Tom from Pleasant Valley New York sent the following recommendation for starting a turkey breast side down - and then turning it over to finish. We tried his method and it and it worked very well. Thank you Tom!

Tom said that he has cooked his turkeys this way for years and he passed along these recommendations:

Here's how to make turning it SIMPLE & SAFE. Use strong butchers string and make a cradle about two + feet long.

twine cradle

Be sure to tie 3 cross strings in the large loop to make a lattice. This keeps the strings from separating when lifting.

Place the string cradle on the oiled rack first. Keep more of the cradle exposed to one side-1/3 2/3.

twine in roasting pan


Place the bird breast side down on the cradle. Try lifting it to test that your cradle is positioned properly & strong enough for the size of the turkey.

turkey set for turning


When the turkey is golden brown remove it from the oven and have someone steady the pan. Gently lift the turkey with the cradle. You do not want to tear the skin and lose the juices. It should roll over easily with the breast side now up.

Lower it back into the rack, baste and return to the oven to finish. When done, you should have a perfect turkey with very moist white meat that everyone will rave about.


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