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Oct 30, 2007 07:16 AM

Roasting a frozen turkey ~ stuffed or not ~ advice please

I keep hearing about people who are purchasing frozen turkeys that go straight from the freezer to the oven. I've done a search of the boards but I can't seem to find any relevant thread as everything comes up about general roasting advice ~ maybe it is just my search techniques. I also tried looking at some food company websites but they are promoting the product and I want to know what foodie people really think about them.

How does the process work? Wouldn't the turkey meat be overdone by the time the stuffing is the right temperature? Can you buy them unstuffed? Is the stuffing any good?Has the meat been partially cooked in some way? Is it injected with "stuff" to keep it moist. How does the meat taste? Is the texture the same? How long does it take to roast in comparison to a roast turkey done the traditional way?

The most important question for me is what do Chowhounders think of them? Do you recommend them?

Thanks.....enquiring minds want to know....

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  1. What are "them?"

    You can roast any frozen turkey. It takes a lot longer -- like several hours more.

    Google "roasting a frozen turkey"

    2 Replies
    1. re: C. Hamster

      I was referring to "them" as in the different brands of frozen turkeys being marketed and sold as going from freezer to oven.

      Oh, I found tons of information via Google, I was referring to searching the Chowhound website. I'm also curious to know what other foodie people think of the product.

      1. re: Island Girl

        My point was that you can cook ANY turkey from it's frozen state.

        I've never done it but I would question whether the meat would dry out, having to cook it for soooooo long. The exterior of the turkey will thaw and cook first, many, many hours before the interior is done.

        Turkeys that are sold as "fresh" can be held at temps of 30 degrees so they often freeze a bit but they should never be frozen solid.

    2. if you attempt to cook a bird that is frozen rock hard, you should plan on having a whole day to cook 12 hours or so at a low temperature (under 200 degrees). You are asking the oven to defrost and cook, so you have to be careful about the extra moisture, you don't want to poach the bird.

      The real question is: why bother? Turkey is really easy to make, whether stuffed or unstuffed. There are so many things that can go wrong when you are starting with something frozen, and expect it to be cooked appropriately. As it is, I leave any meat or poultry I am going to cook to come to room temperature before putting it in the oven, so to have some predictability as to the outcome.

      How many of us have purchased a "fresh" turkey from the supermarket, and found that it was partially frozen inside anyway?

      Sometimes, convenience and food are at cross purposes.

      1. I've always been wary about sticking a frozen turkey into the oven, so can't attest to that. However, aside from the health / overcooking white meat reasons, I've found that the stuffing from inside the turkey always comes out greasy, flat, and just plain unpalatable, so would stay away from those.

        5 Replies
        1. re: link_930

          Thanks for everyone's opinions about roasting a frozen turkey. I realize I can roast any frozen turkey but the websites I looked at talked about not removing it from their "special" bag and that you relied on their pop-up to tell you when the turkey was ready since you couldn't open the bag.

          I guess I kind of already knew I wasn't going to like this idea but sometimes someone comes up with a method to prepare something like a turkey that makes it turn out "perfect" each time. Reading that is has to roast for 12 hours reminds me of Anne Tyler's book The Accidental Tourist when Rose undercooks the turkey.

          You have to wonder why anyone would even consider roasting a turkey from its frozen state.....

          1. re: Island Girl

            Alton Brown's brined roast turkey recipe is practically foolproof. It's come out perfect for me every time.

            I do adjust the brine flavorings, though. Do do to your own taste.

            1. re: C. Hamster

              For a hamster, C. is surprisingly correct. (Odd, I never thought of rodentia as accomplished cooks.) Watch Alton Brown's turkey video on DVD, and TFN will likely re-run it during November.

              First, I wouldn't cook the bird from frozen unless you like turkey jerky.

              Second, do *not* cook stuffing in the bird's cavity. You run a real risk of food poisoning because the stuffing absorbs heat and will not cook thoroughly (i.e., to temperature) as it would in a pan.

              If you want to flavor the bird's interior, throw in a few sage leaves, a sliced orange and lemon with peel removed and zested, the zest, a peeled and chunked large yellow onion, and several smashed and unpeeled garlic cloves. Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. These are all small and light enough they won't interfere with the bird's cooking.

              1. re: KenWritez

                You'd be surprised at what I can cook, even without opposable thumbs!

                I agree with all you've said. I will add that a couple of chunks of stale bread soaked in white wine are nice in the cavity along with the aromatics.

              2. re: C. Hamster

                I haven't done a turkey without using this recipe since the first time I saw it. :) I love Alton!

          2. If you want to have a fairly decent turkey dinner:

            *Don't roast it while still frozen; defrost, brine, and then roast.

            *Don't stuff; make a dressing and cook it separate from the turkey. It's nearly impossible to get stuffing to a safe temperature without having a dried out, flavorless bird.

            3 Replies
            1. re: jnstarla

              One thing to add to jnstarla's excellent advice: I put a little bit of stuffing into just the neck cavity. It comes out with great flavor but isn't anywhere that will prevent the turkey from cooking through in a timely manner and it won't require cooking the bird longer since it's just a small amount of stuffing.

              1. re: jnstarla

                What's the best defrosting method? Saw Alton's show and what he did but are there are other suggestions?

              2. I was reading down in the thread and this sentence stood out to me " but the websites I looked at talked about not removing it from their "special" bag"
                Are you talking about the bag the turkey comes in??? From the store??
                I might be old fashioned but I wash my turkeys inside and out BEFORE I do any roastings.and get the neck & other goodies out. I am not a 100% germaphobic but I personally would freak out if I didn't remove it from the bag and wash the turkey hahaha

                1 Reply
                1. re: pamelakrest

                  If you cook meat/poultry covered, (or in a bag), you aren't are poaching. Can't get crispy skin that way...

                  My mother in law is an expert at that...she never roasted anything unless it was covered. Needless to say for the last 20 years Thanksgiving has been at our house. But then again, that may have been her plan.