How to Cook a Turkey in a Convection Oven
With the holiday season coming up, you may already be thinking about that turkey you have to cook.
If you are like most people, cooking turkey to perfection probably intimidates you.
Luckily, convection ovens are a great tool to cook the moistest and most delicious turkey for your holiday events.
If you do not know how to cook a turkey in a convection oven, we've got you covered.
Convection ovens are easy to use, and cooking a turkey in one is no more difficult than doing so in a conventional oven.
Before we go through the steps, let’s first learn about what convection ovens are, how they differ from conventional ovens, and which oven type is best for making turkey.
What Are Convection Ovens?
To understand why one oven is better than the other when cooking turkeys, you must know the distinction between the two oven types.
Both a conventional oven and a convection oven use a heating element to heat the air inside and cook the food.
A convection oven is a special type of oven that includes a fan and exhaust system. Conventional ovens lack these fans.
This air system allows the hot air to circulate and be blown onto the food. This results in a more even cooking experience that is faster and more energy-saving.
A convection oven is best for foods that need even browning or quick-cooking.
Turkey and other types of meat will immensely benefit from a convection oven.
Pros and Cons of Convection Ovens
Similar to any other cooking method, using a convection oven comes with both pros and cons.
To know if this is the right turkey cooking technique for you, weigh these facts against your exact cooking needs.
Convection ovens are beneficial because they cook food faster at lower temperatures.
Since the hot air is blown directly onto the food, the cooking process is much faster.
Additionally, convection ovens are energy-saving. This fact is due to the shortened cooking times caused by the fans.
The last major benefit of convection ovens is that they decrease hot spots within the oven.
In conventional ovens, certain areas in the oven can be hotter than others, which results in uneven cooking.
The fans of a convection oven prevent this from happening by distributing the air more evenly.
Convection ovens have some drawbacks, as well.
Notably, they are more expensive than conventional ovens. This can be a significant disadvantage if you are on a budget.
Convection ovens can also be more challenging to cook with.
Since they can cook faster, it is very easy to accidentally burn your food if you do not monitor it properly.
Similarly, most recipes are designed for conventional ovens, which will require you to adjust most recipes to the convection oven.
Is It Better to Cook a Turkey in a Convection Oven or Regular Oven?
There’s nothing worse than biting into a piece of turkey only to find that it’s dry.
The cooking medium is a large contributor to the turkey’s taste and texture.
Overall, a convection oven is better at cooking turkey and other meats than a regular oven.
The fans within the convection oven allow the skin to crisp up enough to lock in the moisture within the turkey meat.
This results in a moister and tastier final product.
Why Convection Ovens Are Better
Convection ovens are better at cooking turkey than regular ovens for four main reasons:
1. Faster Cooking Time
The internal fans blow hot air directly onto the poultry.
This allows convection ovens to cook food 25% to 30% faster than a regular oven.
Since turkeys take a long time to cook, this is a significant benefit of convection ovens.
2. More Even Results
Whereas regular ovens have hot spots, convection ovens provide more even heating due to the fans.
This ensures that the turkey is cooked all the way around.
3. Browning Powers
Since turkey can become dry, your oven needs to brown the skin so that the outside is crisp and the inside is moist.
Convection ovens are superior for browning since the hot air is blown directly onto the skin’s surface.
4. Saves Energy
Convection ovens tend to save energy since they cook faster at lower temperatures.
Although this does not affect the turkey itself, it is always great for the environment to select the option with more energy savings.
How to Cook a Turkey in a Convection Oven
If you need help knowing how to cook a turkey in a convection oven, below is a simple recipe to try.
What You’ll Need:
- Paper towels
- Olive oil
- Roasting pan
- Internal meat thermometer
How It's Done
Cooking a turkey in a convection oven is pretty easy and straightforward.
Begin by defrosting the turkey. We offer an extensive guide to defrosting the turkey below.
Next, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
As the oven is preheating, wash the inside and outside of the turkey to prevent contamination and germs. Pat dry with paper towels.
Place the entire turkey on a roasting pan and brush it with olive oil.
Cut and loosen the skin from the turkey breast to help the oil seep in.
Rub rosemary and thyme all over the turkey to give it a naturally beautiful flavor.
When the convection oven is finished preheating, place the turkey on the lowest rack and cook for two to two and a half hours.
The exact time will depend on your oven and the size of the turkey.
Just make sure the internal temperature of the turkey thigh reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit before taking it out of the oven.
How to Defrost a Frozen Turkey
If you purchased a frozen turkey, you absolutely must thaw it before cooking it in your convection oven.
There are a variety of ways to thaw a turkey.
Here are two techniques you can follow depending on the amount of time you have on your hands:
If you're one of those people who are always on top of things, you may want to select the slow option for thawing your turkey.
For this, all you’ll need is a baking pan and refrigerator.
- Keep the turkey in its original wrapping during the thawing process.
- Place it breast-side-up in a baking pan. This prevents any moisture from contaminating other foods or getting on your refrigerator shelving.
- Keep the turkey in the refrigerator for up to two days before your estimated cooking time.
Quick Thawing Tips
If you are on a time crunch, there is an alternative method that is much faster.
For this, you will need a microwave and microwave-safe pan.
- First, make sure you remove the original wrapping and any metal clips or tags.
- Place the turkey breast-side-up in a microwave-safe pan.
- Put the pan in the microwave. Consult your microwave’s user manual for the amount of time you should input to thaw your turkey.
- Cook turkey immediately after thawing.
- While you’re waiting for the turkey to cook, remember to clean the inside of the microwave to prevent contamination.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does it take to cook a turkey in a convection oven?
As mentioned, the exact cooking length will depend on your oven and the size of the turkey.
On average, turkeys take two to two and a half hours to fully cook in a convection oven.
To ensure that your turkey is finished cooking, test the internal temperature of the turkey thigh. You will know when it's done when it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Monitor the turkey throughout the cooking process to prevent it from overcooking.
2. What temperature do you cook a turkey in a convection oven?
For optimal results, preheat your convection oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. What makes convection ovens better than a regular oven?
The internal fans and exhaust system set the convection oven apart from a conventional oven.
These fans allow the oven to blow hot air directly onto the turkey, eliminating hot spots, browning the skin, and increasing the evenness.
4. When should I use a convection oven?
It is best to choose a convection oven when cooking foods that require even temperatures or browning.
Meats and vegetables are two types of food that will taste delicious when cooked in a convection oven.
How Do I Cook a Turkey in a Convection Oven?
Aside from using your convection oven, there are also other methods you can use to cook your turkey.
You can do it in an air fryer, deep fryer, or even the microwave! We don’t guarantee it will come out as delicious, though.
In summary, convection ovens are largely better at cooking turkey than regular ovens.
They decrease cooking time and allow the turkey to be cooked more evenly.
This device will also crisp up the skin quickly, keeping the interior nice and moist.
If you've never cooked a turkey before, use the recipe we used above.
For those who want to be a bit more creative, feel free to add your own ingredients and flair to the turkey seasoning.
As long as you put the turkey in the oven for about two and a half hours at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, the final product should be absolutely delicious.
With this dish, you are sure to impress all your friends and loved ones this upcoming holiday.