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Roasting 101

When we all crave beautiful hearty meals in the winter, roasting is a wonderful almost fail-proof option. Roasting takes practice and your first roast may not come out as planned.

Ending up with a beautifully browned yet super moist turkey or crispy on the outside tender on the inside roast beef isn't as easy as following a chart with cooking times listed per pound. Sure it says a 15 lb turkey will take about three hours to cook. But the "about" is what makes me nervous. When planning a meal that revolves around a roast it's essential to make sure that it doesn't come out overdone because you can't exactly prepare for a ruined roast and sometimes the only solution is to dial your favorite pizzeria. To help avert disaster, I've listed some of my handy roasting tips.


  • To prevent the outside from burning before the inside is done, start with thawed meats that are close to room temperature.
  • To stop the meat from sticking to the roasting pan, place meats onto a roasting rack or a bed of vegetables.
  • If the meat or poultry is browning too quickly cover it loosely with foil.
  • When roasting whole chickens or turkeys, the bird is done when the juices run clear. Pierce the bird's thigh with a kitchen skewer or fork, if the juices that emerge are clear (not pink) the bird is done.
  • Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the roast being careful that it doesn't touch the bone.
  • Use the cooking times as a guideline. Always check for doneness beginning close to the end of the suggested cooking time.
  • Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes covered in tin foil (to keep it warm). This will bring the roast to the proper temperature and let the juices flow.
  • Remember that the meat will continue to cook (about 5-10°F) while it rests after you have removed it from the oven.
  • The USDA recommends that the internal temperature for roast whole poultry be 180°F for doneness (165-170°F for smaller breasts), 145°F for roast beef and lamb and 160°F for pork. Note: This is the doneness temperature for eating, not for oven removal (see the tip above).
Join The Conversation
My-Opinion My-Opinion 10 years
I agree, I usually go about 165 and let it rest, constantly basting. Works, looks and tastes great!
Arthur Arthur 10 years
Really! Awesome. Ok, here are my instructions on how to post your picture. It's easy. First go to and find the picture. When you're looking at the picture, right click (or if on a mac, control + click) on the picture and select the option to save the picture to your desktop or some other place you can find easliy. Then go to the Kitchen Goddess page on teamsugar: If you're logged in, you'll see a link to "Post Content to this Group". Click that. On the next page, select Recipe if you want to put down the whole recipe, or pick Blog if your gonna post just the picture. Ok, know you've got a form to create your post. First you enter a title, then skip the image. The next part is the body. Write something about your masterpiece, then click "Add Image" right below the body. WE'RE ALMOST DONE! Click upload in the upper left corner, locate the picture that you saved on your computer and click submit. You'll see your picture appear. Click on it to include it in your post. Choose a size (normal) and click insert. One last thing....enter a tag like: roast turkey, recipe I hope those instructions are good enough?
puddinpie puddinpie 10 years
It's one of those things that look amazing in real life, but kind of odd in a picture! But I do have a picture--how do I post it? It is in my Flickr account. I took the picture really quickly because we had 30+ guests and a ton of other food to deal with (we actually had so much food we fed like 45 homeless people outside afterwards. =) I didn't use a recipe--just basic French proportions for the forcemeat (the sausage-like stuffing). I can post what I used, though.
Arthur Arthur 10 years
whoa puddinpie, that sounds amazing....Pictures!?
Food Food 10 years
puddinpie your recipe sounds amazing! you should post the details in the kitchen goddess or the recipe database. Also, thanks for pointing out the temp. the USDA actually recommends 180 for whole birds and 170 for pieces, but you're totally right about the continuous cooking. I've put the two temperature related tips next to each other to hopefully make things a little bit clearer.
SeptemberLights SeptemberLights 10 years
Wow! your recipie sounds alot like mine! brining works everytime...
puddinpie puddinpie 10 years
180F is too much for poultry--chefs say hit 160F, then let it rest to 165-170 or so. Also, I brine the turkey beforehand to ensure moistness. =) This year I deboned a 16 pound turkey, and took the dark meat off to marinade overnight with fat back, herbs, a bottle of Madeira, garlic, onions, etc. Then I drained it and ground it into sausage the next day, and added a panade (bread soaked in milk), 8 eggs, and seasoning. Then layered the sausage between the two halves of the breast, and covered it with butter, sage, thyme, and strips of bacon. It turned out well!
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