Turkey Done Early: What to Do? (All You Need to Know)

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While it is one of the most significant aspects of the Christmas season, cooking a whole turkey is something that most chefs only undertake once a year. It is a dish that is traditionally served at Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts as well as other dinner gatherings, and it has become a staple in the majority of nations. While the turkey is often prepared in advance, you may be wondering what to do if you finished the preparations too early. Thus, you may ask:

If my turkey is done early, what should I do? If your turkey is done early, you should first release the initial heat from cooking. Then, it would be best if you kept it warm in several ways. However, it would be best to do so without overcooking the turkey. Thus, we compiled four easy steps below to ensure you do it right. 

Things have the potential to get more problematic when turkeys are prepared in advance. It’s unfortunate that you made a calculation error and ruined your perfectly cooked turkey by serving it too soon. Therefore, there is no need to panic over this. That does not imply that the end of the world has occurred. You still have the option of preparing the delectable supper, which will save you the effort of preparing another meal.

You’ll find all you need to know about managing your turkey in the following paragraphs, particularly if you completed preparing it a little bit ahead of schedule. Even if you prepared the meal quite a while in advance, you will still be able to enjoy it in its finest form by following these instructions.

Let’s get down to business without further ado, shall we?

What should you do if the turkey is overcooked?

The following is a guide with four simple measures to take in the event that your turkey is ready ahead of schedule. You may read on down below for more information to help you properly store your turkey and savor it in the most satisfying manner.

Let the heat from the cooking to disperse.

To begin, you have to take some of the heat out of the turkey that was generated throughout the cooking process. After you have applied the coating on the turkey in this manner, it will not melt away from the poultry. The turkey should be allowed to rest for a number of hours after it has been cooked and before it is served to the guests. This should be done a few hours before the meal is served.

Warm up your turkey.

The next thing you need to do is make sure the temperature of your food is kept consistent. After finishing it an hour ago, you need to turn it on for at least twenty to thirty more minutes before turning it off. Following that, cover it securely in aluminum foil, making sure there are at least three layers between each layer. The next step is to fold it and then cover it with a huge towel. Make sure your turkey remains warm by wrapping it in foil and then covering it with a cloth or blanket.

You should use hot water.

The most time- and energy-effective method is to reheat your food in boiling water. Consequently, if the foil is not adequately maintaining the temperature of your turkey, you may immerse the turkey, still covered in foil, in water that is boiling. The aluminum foil retains the heat from the boiling water and prevents the water from seeping into the turkey, so keeping your dinner warm. The turkey does not need to be warmed up in order to use this approach. Nevertheless, the internal temperature of the turkey has to be at least 140 degrees before it can be considered done. In the event that this is not done, the presence of hazardous germs may increase.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Then, you should have a serving tray ready and then wrap the legs, chest, and buttocks with foil. Finally, immediately before to serving, the bowl should be baked in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for around twenty minutes. While this is not the best way to prepare and serve turkey, the flesh will still be juicy and moist, so you do not need to be worried about the quality of the dish.

Can I keep the turkey in the oven after it has been cooked?

You are able to keep the turkey in the oven even after it has been cooked. Nevertheless, this is not the greatest method to do it since you should let the heat to drain before proceeding in order to avoid the turkey from being overcooked. Hence, if you have completed cooking the turkey ahead of schedule, you should remove it from the oven, allow it to rest for at least half an hour, and then wrap it in foil while also covering it with a blanket in order to keep it warm.

Can I prepare the turkey ahead of time and reheat it later?

The answer is yes, you can both cook and reheat turkey. Having said that, this is hardly the optimal method to consume turkey, particularly around the holidays. Cooking your turkey at least a couple of hours before you want to consume it is the greatest course of action to take.

To ensure that the flavor fully permeates the turkey, you should start preparing the marinade or brine the day before you want to use it. You always have the option to prepare the turkey ahead of time and then reheat it if you don’t have that much time to make it.

How do you keep the turkey warm without overheating it?

By wrapping the turkey in foil and covering it with a blanket, you may prevent it from drying out while still keeping it warm. The second thing you need to do is keep the temperature of your food constant. When you have completed it, it is recommended that you leave it running for at least twenty to thirty minutes in order to get the finest results. When that step is finished, proceed to wrap it in a substantial amount of aluminum foil. After that, place a huge towel on top of it, and then fold the towel in half. Warmth may be retained in your turkey by first wrapping it in foil and then covering it with a blanket or towel.

Should you let the turkey rest after it has been cooked?

It is recommended that the turkey be allowed to rest once it has been cooked. But, resting is an important step that you should not ignore, particularly if you are preparing a turkey for a meal. After setting the meat aside for forty-five minutes, you should give it time to reabsorb the fluids. Otherwise, when you slice them, they would ooze, leaving the meat dry. It is unnecessary to cover the turkey with foil and tent it while it is resting to keep it warm since doing so would cause the skin to get mushy.

How do you rest a turkey after it has been cooked?

After cooking, the turkey just needs a brief period of rest. After the turkey is done cooking, take it off the baking sheet in a gentle manner and place it on top of the board. In the meanwhile, prepare your roast potatoes or other side dishes while the foil is just barely covering them.

How long will a cooked turkey keep warm?

When it has been cooked, the turkey may be kept warm for up to an hour or two (depending on how large it was). Hence, if you’re running behind schedule in the preparation of your holiday feast, you won’t need to worry about the turkey becoming cold too fast. Because of its round form and huge size, it is simple to retain heat and gives you the ability to eat for much longer than the typical 30 minute break would allow.

How long can a turkey be kept warm for?

After cooking the turkey, you should let it sit at room temperature for at least one hour before attempting to keep it warm for the whole two hours. After that, the most effective way to prevent the heat from escaping the meat for the next sixty minutes is to cover it with aluminum foil and a throw blanket. You will be able to eat a warm turkey even two hours after it has been cooked using this method.

How can you keep a turkey warm for three hours?

If you want to keep a turkey warm for three hours after you have cooked it, you should let it rest for an hour after cooking it. After that, you should cover the meat with aluminum foil and a blanket in order to keep the heat in for the following hour.

In the event that you believe the turkey will get chilly, you can either reheat it in the oven at a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit or immerse it in water that is boiling while covering it with foil to prevent the water from penetrating the turkey.

How long can a turkey be kept warm for?

If you want to keep a turkey warm for four hours, you need first let the heat from cooking drain and then let the turkey rest without a cover for one and a half hours. This will allow the turkey to retain its heat for the whole four hours. After that, you may wrap it in aluminum foil and cover it with a blanket to keep the heat in for the next sixty minutes.

You may also put it in the oven at the very lowest setting and cook it that way. In addition to this, just before you are ready to serve the turkey, you may keep it warm by preheating the dish that it will be served on.

What to do after the smoked turkey is done?

If you start smoking the turkey too soon, things may become a bit complex, but it’s not the end of the world if you do it. If you completed it about an hour earlier than expected, you should let it rest uncovered for around twenty to thirty minutes. Finally, cover the turkey in aluminum foil and a large towel in order to keep it warm as it cooks.


In a nutshell, prepping the turkey ahead of time may cause you to start cooking it at an inappropriately early stage. In the event that your turkey is already cooked, the first step is to let off some of the initial heat. After then, you should continue to keep it warm using a variety of methods. Just watch so that the turkey doesn’t become overcooked. In order to guarantee that you carry out the procedure correctly, we have explained below four easy stages.

When turkeys are prepared in advance, things have the potential to become more difficult. It seems that despite your best efforts, you made a calculation error and cooked the turkey for too short of a time. Yet, the end of the world has not occurred, therefore there is no need for fear. Even if you cook your turkey ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator, you may still enjoy it if you remember to follow the advice we gave you previously.

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How do you keep a turkey warm for several hours?

After twenty minutes, cover the turkey with aluminum foil and then set a dish towel on top of the foil. The towel will contribute much more to the warming effect. If you follow these steps, your turkey should remain warm for around 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

How do you keep a turkey moist if it gets done too early?

Add a little chicken stock or water and cover the turkey to keep it moist while cooking. Bring the temperature of the turkey back up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit on the inside. Check the temperature on the inside using a thermometer designed for food.

How do you keep a turkey warm for 6 hours?

When it comes ready to cut and serve the meat, placing a kitchen towel on top of the aluminum foil will help keep the meat warm and moist until then. You also have the option of wrapping the chicken in aluminum foil and placing it back into the oven at a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Put a dish of water below the turkey to generate steam, which will help keep the meat moist while it cooks.

Can you let a turkey rest too long?

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends not leaving turkey out at room temperature for more than two hours, and not for more than an hour in temperatures that are higher than ninety degrees Fahrenheit.

At what temperature does turkey become dry?

At the same time, the white flesh of the turkey will begin to release its water when the temperature hits the 150s Fahrenheit (60s Celsius), and it will be bone dry when it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). This Thanksgiving, you should consider doing your family a favor. At 157 degrees Fahrenheit (69 degrees Celsius), remove your turkey from the oven or smoker.

What are 2 ways to keep turkey from drying out?

Add a significant amount of butter on the chicken both before placing it in the oven and while it is roasting. It’s essential for achieving golden, crispy, flavorful skin. Brine your turkey. The brining process is excellent for achieving optimum flavor.

What to do if your roast is done too early?

Cover it securely in aluminum foil, and then return it to the oven at the lowest temperature possible, which I think to be 175 degrees Fahrenheit. This will keep the roast warm while minimizing the amount of further cooking that has to be done and keeping it out of the temperature danger zone.

How long can turkey rest and stay warm?

The temperature risk zone that extends from 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit may be entered by a turkey after it has been out for a maximum of two hours. If the indoor temperature is more than ninety degrees, the turkey should only be allowed to sit out for a maximum of one hour.

Do you rest turkey as long as you cook it?

REST: After you have determined that the turkey has been properly cooked (you can do this by inserting a skewer into the thickest portion of the leg and seeing whether or not the juices flow clear), let it to rest in a warm location for at least forty-five minutes and up to several hours. This enables the flesh to relax, which in turn permits the juices to be reabsorbed into the meat.

Can you leave turkey out for an hour before cooking?

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator an hour before you want to start roasting it so that it may come to room temperature. This will allow the bird to cook more evenly and more quickly. If you want to stuff your turkey, you should hold off on placing the stuffing into the bird until you are ready to place the turkey in the oven.