How to Prepare a Turkey

Preparing a turkey for roasting is a simple task, no matter how big the bird. Learn a few basic techniques, such as how to tuck turkey wings, and you'll be ready to impress the whole family at your Thanksgiving dinner.

What You Need

  1. Check turkey
  2. Check kitchen twine
  3. Check roasting pan with rack
  4. Check baking tray
  5. Check paring knife

Follow These Steps

  1. Empty the inside and place turkey on a tray

    Reach your hand into the turkey’s cavity and remove anything that’s in there, such as a packet of giblets, and set aside. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rimmed baking tray or cookie sheet, which will catch any juices and make post-prep cleanup a snap.

  2. Tuck the wings under

    Holding a wing in your hand, lift that side of the turkey up a couple of inches and tuck the wing underneath the bird’s back. Lower the turkey and repeat with the other side. Tucking the wings will make for more even cooking and will keep them from burning.

  3. Tie the drumsticks together

    Cut a piece of kitchen twine to about 8 inches in length. Cross the turkey legs at their “ankles”—the thinnest point, directly above the bottom joints. Then wrap the twine around the two ankles, tying it into a knot or bow to hold them together. This makes for a tidy-looking turkey.

  4. Transfer the turkey to a roasting rack

    For cooking, transfer the turkey from the baking tray to a rack set inside a roasting pan.

    Tip: If one of the wings comes untucked, just tuck it back under the bird.

    Find a simple turkey recipe here.