Where to Put Turkey in the Oven

Thanksgiving is a time for many people to gather together and enjoy a delicious meal, but many people struggle with the proper preparation of their turkey. One of the most important factors people consider when cooking their turkey is the oven rack position they should put it on.

While it’s baking and cooking, you should place the turkey in the lowest position or rack in the oven. The main reason is that it will cook more evenly on the bottom rack.

On the middle or top rack (if you have a small turkey) it will tend to dry out or even possibly burn.

It does not matter if you have a conventional or convection oven the turkey needs to be put on the bottom rack.

Furthermore, keeping it on the bottom on the bottom rack of the oven it will tend to retain its juices better. The net result is more flavorful and juicier meat.

Which Oven Rack Should I Cook the Turkey On?

Place the turkey on the lowest or bottom rack of your oven. It will allow the entire turkey to cook evenly. Placing it on the bottom rack will allow the midsection of the turkey which is the thickest be in the middle part of the oven. It ensures that the entire turkey will cook evenly.

Depending on the turkey you’re planning on cooking, you may need to move up one rung on the bottom rack in the oven.

However, if you’re planning on cooking a smaller turkey, you might place the rack a few places above the most downward position.

Which Oven Rack Should I Cook the Turkey On
Which Oven Rack Should I Cook the Turkey On

Turkey Cooking on The Middle Oven Rack

If you’re planning on cooking a smaller turkey, you might want to put it on the middle oven rack. 

Should I Put A Turkey in The Oven Rack in The Top Position

Even if your turkey is small, don’t cook it on the top rack of the oven. Doing so will likely cause the top of the turkey to burn. It’s just too close to the heating elements or coils.

You may even find the bottom of the turkey is not cooked well either.

You can’t serve turkey to people unless it’s fully cooked. You have to keep the turkey in the oven until it’s fully cooked.

If you have previously experienced issues with the turkey becoming dry or burned, it’s probably best to put it on a lower oven rack. Doing so will allow it to cook evenly and quickly.

Why Is the Oven Rack Position Make a Difference?

The rack placement is essential for cooking correctly and completely a large turkey.

It will help circulate the heat and keep the meat tender. However, the oven rack placement is not as important when preparing a smaller turkey.

The rack position is essential for cooking correctly and completely a large turkey.
The rack position is essential for cooking correctly and thoroughly a large turkey.

Placing the turkey on the lowest oven rack will achieve optimal heat and ensure that the meat will cook evenly. Since both the surface and the bottom of the turkey will expose to a high amount of heat, they will retain their shape and color. 

The middle of the turkey will also be close to the optimal heat source, allowing it to cook for the duration you expect it to. 

Possibly placing it in the middle rack towards the end of the process can be used to brown and crisp up the skin.

Does the Oven Rack Position Vary with the Oven Type?

The oven rack arrangement you use to cook a turkey does not vary or change for either a conventional or convection or forced air oven.

Large turkeys, for instance, need hot air movement to cook thoroughly and the base rack supports that best.

What Temperature Should I Cook the Turkey At?

If you’re using a conventional oven, you should cook a turkey at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, if you’re using a convection oven, you should cook the turkey at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before removing the turkey from the oven, make sure it reaches at least 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle. Using a probe thermometer is best.

Leftover Turkey – Make a Homemade Panera Turkey Sandwich