How to Baste a Turkey

Опубликовал Admin
18-06-2021, 18:50
Basting is the process brushing, pouring, or spooning liquid over a food to make it moist and juicy from top to bottom and to give it a wonderfully golden look when cooked. While it isn't 100% necessary anymore like it used to be in grandma's day, it's still a quintessential image and tradition when you think of turkey.

Prepping Your Turkey for Basting

  1. Prepare your turkey for roasting. This includes de-frosting it, washing, stuffing, and trussing, etc. Want some ideas? wikiHow is full of 'em.
    • How to Roast a Turkey
    • How to Brine, Truss, and Roast a Turkey
    • Slow Cook a Turkey
    • How to Roast a Turkey With Moist White Meat
  2. Turn on the oven and place the prepared turkey in its large roasting pan. If you have one available, place the turkey on a rack in the pan so the drippings fall to the bottom of the pan and are easy to get to.
    • Some people choose to baste from the drippings in the bottom of the pan, while others choose to make a special mixture separately to put over it. What you use to baste is up to you.
  3. Set your timer, and let the roasting begin. You'll want two timers: one for the basting intervals and one for the whole time. How long you put it in for overall largely depends on the size of your turkey.
    • Set your basting timer for 30 minutes. You will be basting at every 30 minute interval.
  4. After 30 minutes, open the oven to baste. Pull out the rack part-way. Open the roasting pan lid, or pull back the foil tent cover a bit. Look at the meat. Is it starting to get a little tan? Excellent. Your turkey is ready for its first basting session.
    • Some people do prefer to baste every 20 minutes or so. However, the shorter the interval, the more you'll be strapped to the oven.

Basting Your Turkey

  1. Take out a spoon, cup, or bulb baster. A bulb baster is a special rubber tool to suck up and pour out liquids. It's like a large, soft syringe. If you don't have one, a spoon or cup will work just as well.
  2. Baste your turkey. Take some of the liquid you prepared for basting and pour it gently all over the surface, using your spoon, cup, or bulb baster. Use any kind of stock, wine, butter, oils, gravy, or juices. The idea is to keep the turkey meat moist.
    • It's easiest to use the juices at the bottom. However, if you have a recipe for an herb butter, a marinade, or a gravy, that's great, too.
  3. Put the lid or tent cover back on, and put the turkey back in to roast. Reset the timer for 30 minutes. Go watch an episode of your favorite TV show or pick up a book, but don't go too far away!
  4. Repeat this process of checking and basting with your reserved liquid every 30 minutes. Soon, once again, you will have liquid on the bottom of the pan. Now use that instead of any liquid from a bowl. Whether you used the original meat juices or something else, it is now at the bottom of the pan, infused with meat juices, ready to be reused again.
  5. Remove extra liquid if the juices touch the bottom of the turkey. Don't let the turkey stew in juices. This will make the meat soft instead of giving it that golden outside, crispy rind.
    • This is why a small rack in the roasting pan is best. With a rack, it stays out of all the juices.
  6. But keep the juices! Use some of the juices as a gravy base, or pour some into a bowl for table dressing over stuffing, vegetables, potatoes, etc. Don't let it go to waste! That juice has been stewing for hours with delicious turkey juices.

Using Basting Alternatives

  1. Make a foil tent. Many people choose to forgo the basting entirely and instead wrap the turkey in a foil tent – basically just a layer of aluminum foil loosely over the turkey. This keeps the juices in, serving the same purpose as the basting.
    • This is more convenient in that once the foil is placed, you can set it and forget it, instead of going into the kitchen every half hour for maintenance.
  2. Spray with apple juice. Instead of getting into the pan and dealing with hard-to-get-to juices or melting butter and herbs and getting sticky, just spray the turkey with apple juice! If you have a spray bottle, it's incredibly convenient.
    • Of course, you could always infuse the apply juice with honey, herbs, butter, or anything else you can imagine for a more savory touch.
  3. Use bacon. Want to put a trendy take on your turkey? What's better than bacon? Fry up some bacon, add in some paprika, garlic, or maybe some onion, and keep the juices. Set the bacon aside on paper towels to dry. Then pour the bacon juices all over the turkey.
    • When the turkey is near done, chop up the bacon and sprinkle it over the turkey.
  4. Know that you don't need basting for a brined turkey. A brined turkey is one that is kept in a large bucket or cooler for around 12 hours with a mixture of water, salt, broth, honey, and other additives. It's a great way to ensure that your turkey stays incredibly moist, and no basting required!
    • You still have to cook the turkey as normal, and using a foil tent is a good idea. Some people choose to use wood chips on the bottom of the pan to give it a roasted hickory taste. If this sounds interesting, check out the article!


  • Don't slosh the boiling liquid on the oven when you pull out the rack. Pull it out slowly and carefully. It may be heavy.
  • Don't use strong flavored basting liquid in a final gravy, as it will cover the gravy flavor.
  • Don't let the turkey dry out. Be sure to drizzle on enough liquid as it roasts.
  • Prepare a basting liquid according to a recipe. Or prepare your own with any ingredients that will add flavor and some oil. Pure butter will create a very rich flavor.
  • Don't let the turkey become submerged in liquid. If you are adding too much and it isn't baking away, stop adding more liquid, and spoon off some. Then use the rest of the liquid in the pan for basting.


  • Don't burn yourself when handling a hot oven rack, roasting pan, or lid. Use mitts or a thick towel.

Things You'll Need

  • Bulb baster, large spoon, or ladle
  • Cup to hold basting liquid
  • Pot holders for the hot roasting pan
  • Recipe to make basting liquid and necessary ingredients
  • Aluminum foil to cover roasting turkey if you don't have a pan lid
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