No need to call the Butterball hotline this year. Just follow these easy instructions for how to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey.

So you've thawed your turkey and have the oven perfectly preheated to the right temperature. Now what?

We know it can sound intimidating, but preparing a turkey for roasting is a simple task, no matter how big the bird. All you need are 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.

Here's how to prep your Turkey to go in the oven, in four easy steps.

What You'll Need:

  • Turkey
  • Kitchen twine
  • Roasting pan with rack
  • Baking tray
  • Paring knife

How to Prepare a Turkey for Roasting:

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Empty the inside of a turkey
Credit: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

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.

how to tuck turkey wings
Credit: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

2 Tuck the Turkey 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.

how to tie turkey drumsticks
Credit: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

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.

turkey on roasting pan
Credit: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

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. If one of the wings comes untucked, just tuck it back under the bird. Find a simple turkey recipe here.

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