Everybody knows a high-quality oven is required to properly roast a delicious turkey. However, there’s some debate about cooking a turkey in a convection oven vs a regular oven. Does one method offer clear advantages over the other? By the end of this post, you’ll understand the difference between the two ovens and what it means when roasting turkey.
When it comes to cooking turkey, convection ovens cook the Thanksgiving bird more quickly (about 30% faster) and evenly than standard ovens. This is a result of internal fans that actively circulate hot air within convection ovens. For comprehensive information related to convection ovens, be sure to check out this convection oven guide.
Convection Oven vs Conventional Oven
Convection ovens circulate hot air around the oven while the foods cook and ventilate regularly to keep the inside of the oven at an even temperature whilst a regular oven has a single heating unit, that would produce inconsistent heat which will flow from one direction.
Pros of Convection Oven
Convection ovens yield more efficient results than conventional ovens. Because dry heat is heating up the food, your dishes should be cooked approximately 25% faster in a convection oven. Furthermore, the circulation of heated air throughout the oven helps prevent hot spots, which makes the entire oven space perfect to cook the whole meal at once.
Model Featured: Blodgett CTBR DBL Electric Double-Deck Convection Oven
Tips For Cooking Turkey On Convection Oven
Since convection ovens cut down cooking time of turkey, you should set them for a lower temperature than you would a regular oven. A 300-325°F temperature is perfect for producing a delicious bird that maintains a moist exterior while also reaching an ideal interior temperature of 165°F. Alternatively, regular ovens are usually set for 350°F when cooking the entire turkey.
The average cook time for turkeys in either type of oven is generally 3-4 hours, but that doesn’t account for the time it takes a turkey to thaw or be prepped. No matter what type of oven you use to roast your turkey, it shouldn’t make a significant difference in how delicious the bird tastes when it's served for consumption.
If you’ve roasted your fair share of turkeys and are looking into an alternate cooking method, you might want to consider deep frying.
The oven is undoubtedly the shining star of the holiday meal. But when it comes to using a convection oven, what makes this method of preparing turkey preferable to other styles of cooking? Don’t let the unfamiliarity intimidate you! We’re breaking it down to help you make the most of your convection oven this thanksgiving(or really any time of year).
Temperature Setting to Cook Turkey
To cook the turkey properly, place it in the center of the lowest rack or oven shelf at a temperature of 350°F so the top of the turkey will be centered in the oven. If two racks must be used, place the turkey on the lowest or middle rack. When cooking with two roasting pans, position the pans in opposite corners of the oven. Place the pans so one is not directly over the other.
How long do I cook a turkey in a convection oven?
If you're using a large turkey, follow the chart below for convection cooking or up until you've achieved the correct internal temp. To check if the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature in the thickest portion of the thigh but not touching the bone.
- 12-15 pounds, 1.5-2 hours
- 15-20 pounds, 2-2.5 hours
- 20-25 pounds, 2.5-3 hours
Other signs that the bird is cooked through include loose legs and clear juices. Check the internal temperature in several different spots – the thickest part of the breasts, thighs, and wings – to be sure.
Depending on your brand, it is recommended to cut down on the time you bake turkeys by up to 40 percent.
- Start with a fully defrosted turkey and if you don't already know how this USDA’s tips on safely thawing your turkey can guide you.
- You don't need to baste the Thanksgiving turkey when using a convective oven because the blowing hot air quickly seals in the turkey's natural flavors. Basting the turkey during the last half hour of cooking ensures that it gets evenly cooked.
- You don't need to wrap the turkey in aluminum foil because you want the meat to sear and get a nice golden brown color. If the legs or wing tips start to turn too dark, put some aluminum foil over them.
See More: Roasting Tips
- Fresh or frozen turkey
- ½ cup oil of your choice (olive or vegetable)
- Or any herbs you may desire
Steps on How to Cook Traditional Roast Turkey
- Set the oven rack to the bottom position so that there’s plenty of space for your turkey.
- Use a preheated oven. To do this, preheat your convection oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If your turkey has both the neck and giblet, you may want to save them for another use if you wish.
- Use a low-side sheet pan with a rack. Make sure to use a high-sided roasting dish if you're going to be cooking a large turkey. It helps keep the heat circulating around the bird by lifting it up off of the bottom. You want the hot, dry air circulating around the turkey as much as possible. Put the turkey on the rack inside the roasting pan.
- Don't truss or bind the turkey. This lets the hot air from the convection oven reach every part of the turkey.
- Fold the wings underneath the turkey.
- Loosen the skin around the edges of the breasts.
- Put some olive or vegetable oils into a small bowl and use a spoon or your fingers to spread them all over the turkey and underneath the skin of the breast meat.
- Sprinkle the turkey generously with rosemary and thyme.
- To balance it on the rack, use a long wooden skewer to hold the legs together.
- After touching raw meat, wash your hands and clean any surfaces you touched.
- Put the turkey in the preheated convection oven and cook for the recommended time on the oven temperature chart or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep an eye on it during cooking. If the wings and feet look like they're getting too dark, wrap them up in aluminum.
- After removing the turkey from the oven and covering it with foil, let it sit for at least 20 minutes before carving to serve. Carry-over cooking can cook the turkey to perfection since it continues to cook even after you remove it from the oven. This makes the turkey juicer.