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Turkey cooked in a convection oven relies on the size of the meat, which will determine the time it’ll take for it to become all tender and juicy. There is a distinct difference between a convection and convectional oven that we will be discussing later on in this article. You can cook a whole turkey, turkey breast, baked turkey or a roast turkey in a convection oven, with some precise steps that will guarantee a perfected meal.

Turkey meat is a popular poultry product used for everyday nourishment and is a key element in culturally important events. In the United States and Canada, turkeys are traditionally eaten as a main course during thanksgiving. Stuffed turkey is a popular delicacy during Christmas in the rest of the world. Usually roasted or baked in an oven, and you can choose between a fresh or frozen turkey.

Convection vs Conventional Oven

The clear distinction between the two is that a convection oven has a fan and an exhaust system that circulates heat around the oven, whilst the turkey is cooking, and ventilates regularly to prevent humidity. A regular conventional oven has a single heating unit, meaning that the heat is inconsistent and only flows in one direction. Which is why you’ll sometimes find that your roast turkey needs to be placed back in the oven as some parts of it are more cooked than the other, and you find yourself turning the meat in an angle so that the uncooked part can get the heat flowing into it.

How Long to Cook a Turkey in a Convection Oven?

The time it takes for a whole turkey to cook relies on the size and weight of the turkey. So for a turkey that weighs 8-pounds it’ll take 3 to 4 hours for the turkey to cook in a convection oven. Whereas a turkey that weighs 16 pounds it’ll take 4 to 5 hours for the turkey to cook in the oven.

Let’s neaten up this calculation to make it easier:

Whole Turkey Oven TemperatureCooking Time (hours)
8 – 12 pounds250 -325° F3 – 4 hours
12 – 16 pounds 250 – 325° F4 – 5 hours
16 – 20 pounds 250 – 325° F5 – 6 hours

Why is it Better to Cook Turkey in a Convection Oven?

Fortunately, cooking a roast turkey in a convection oven will have it cooking about 25% faster, as the circulating convection heat prevent oven hot spots using the entire oven space to cook the turkey to perfection. The preferred method is to roast the turkey in the center of the lowest rack or oven shelf so the top of the turkey will be centred in the oven. The formula for this would be 13 minutes per pound at 325° F for an unstuffed turkey.

Roasting a Turkey in a Convection Oven

There are a variety of different recipes when it comes to making a turkey roast in the oven, you can choose to cover the meat with whatever herbs and spices you wish before you place that magical stuffed or unstuffed bird in the oven.

How To Roast Whole Turkey Breasts?

When cooking for your family, you want the best outcome. Turkey breasts are tender and delicious when cooked correctly, follow these steps to make the juiciest breasts you’ve ever tasted.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325° F
  2. Remove the whole breast from the bag, drain its juices and pat it dry with clean paper towels.
  3. Place the turkey breast skin side up, on a flat roasting rack in a 2-inch deep roasting pan, but don’t add water to the pan.
  4. Brush or spray the skin lightly with vegetable/cooking oil for a better appearance.
  5. Roast uncovered for 10 to 11 minutes per pound, you can insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the breast to check if the internal temperature has reached 170° F. If the breast is stuffed, the center of the stuffing should be 165° F.
  6. Let your turkey breast stand for 15 minutes before carving, allowing the juices to set.

How To Roast Fresh or Frozen Turkey?

Making a whole turkey can be a bit much especially if there’s only a few people eating it, but for festivals like Christmas or Thanksgiving, a whole turkey is a must have centre piece for the table. Following these steps will help you roast a fresh or frozen turkey in a convection oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F, and drain the juices of the turkey, patting it dry.
  2. Place the turkey breast side up on a flat rack in a shallow roasting tray, 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep.
  3. Turn the wings back to hold the neck skin in place, which will help stabilise the turkey in the pan and when carving. Brush/spray the turkey with vegetable or cooking oil.
  4. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lowest part of the thigh without touching the bone. When the thigh has met the required temperature, and if the turkey is stuffed, move the thermometer to the center of the stuffing.
  5. Place the turkey in the oven
  6. When the turkey is about 2/3 done, loosely cover the breast with foil to prevent overcooking.
  7. The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 180° F in the thigh, and 170° F in the breast or stuffing.
  8. Lift the turkey onto a platter and surround it with your favourite roast potatoes, or French fries and let it stand for 15 minutes, before carving.

Is it Better to Cook a Turkey at 325 or 350° F?

Roast the turkey uncovered at a temperature ranging from 325 to 350° F. Any higher and the meat will dry out, but this temperature is preferred as it allows the internal parts of the meat to cook at a safe temperature.

How Do You keep a Turkey Moist?

You can use a combination of cooking techniques to keep your roast turkey moist. After you’ve thawed and cleaned the turkey rub the bird inside and out with coarse kosher salt. Then place the turkey in a bowl or plastic bag and submerge it in water. Add spices and herbs to season as desired, and let the turkey soak for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge. Then remove the turkey and rinse and dry the meat before roasting.

You can also salt your meat before roasting, thoroughly coat the freshly thawed turkey with coarse-ground kosher salt; clean the turkey inside and out, and allow it to remain salted for 24 to 48 hours in the fridge, before removing, rinsing and drying then roasting.

The Bottom Line

Roasting, or baking turkey in a convection oven may appear intimidating but it is so much better, as it allows the entire meat to cook thoroughly at an accurate time without the fear of having some cold, limp or wet parts of the meat that didn’t make it.

FAQ’s

How Long Does it Take a Turkey to Cook in a Convection Oven?

Place the turkey in the lowest rack of the oven and cook it for 2 and 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 180° F.

How Many Minutes Per Pound do You Cook a Turkey in a Convection Oven?

For an unstuffed turkey weighing 10 to 15 pounds, you’ll need to cook it for 8 to 11 minutes. Over 15 pounds would mean that you’ll need to cook the turkey for 7 to 10 minutes per pound.

What Temperature do You Cook a Turkey in a Convection Oven?

Turkey cooked in a convection oven should be roasted at 325 degrees F, however if you’re using a dark roasting pan or an oven-roasting bag reduce the heat to 300 degrees F.

Is it Better to Bake or Convection Roast a Turkey?

When cooking a turkey, convection ovens cook the bird about 25% more faster, and evenly than a standard oven. Setting them for a lower temperature than a regular oven since a convection takes less time to cook the meat.