Tips & Techniques Thanksgiving How to Stuff a Turkey

Cooking your stuffing inside the Thanksgiving turkey gives it an unparalleled flavor and texture. As the bird roasts, its juices are absorbed into the stuffing, resulting in a savory, moist, delicious mixture that’s hard to achieve any other way.

Keep in mind:

  • Temperature. Your turkey should be at room temperature for an hour before you stuff it. The stuffing should also be at room temperature. After roasting, take the temperature of the stuffing; it should be at 165 degrees when finished.
  • Timing. Stuff your turkey right before it goes into the oven to avoid risk of contamination.
  • Space. Pack the stuffing loosely inside the turkey, because it will expand during cooking. Bake any stuffing that won’t fit in a covered casserole alongside the turkey.
  • Trussing. Truss your turkey after stuffing so it will stay put while the bird roasts.

DON’T stuff your turkey if:

  • You’re short on time. A stuffed turkey can take up to an extra hour to roast.
  • You plan to brine your turkey. The brine solution may make your stuffing taste too salty.

The only problem with stuffing your bird? Removing stuffing from the turkey cavity can get complicated — and messy. Here’s our foolproof tip: use a cheesecloth!

Line the turkey cavity first with a cheesecloth that’s been folded in half, and then fill it with stuffing. That way, it’s easy to pull out the cheesecloth after roasting, and all of the stuffing comes out in one quick motion.