If you are a frequent victim of Murphy's Law as well as the Thanksgiving host, then you are headed on a crash course to an oven failure on the big day. No need to worry though. Believe it or not, cooking your turkey in a microwave oven is totally possible—whole or in parts. Keep these microwave cooking tips handy and you can still serve up a tasty bird.
- Turkey parts can be cooked in a dish with a lid, or cover the dish with plastic wrap and vent the top. Timing can vary because of wattage differences, so follow the recommendations in the microwave's owner's manual.
- If you want to nuke a whole bird, remember that a 12- to 14-pound turkey is the maximum size most microwaves can accommodate. Microwaves can be guilty of cooking a whole turkey unevenly, so using an oven cooking bag aids in even heat distribution.
- Skip the stuffing though. The stuffing may not be cooked to the proper internal temperature when the turkey itself is done. Instead, try cooking the stuffing in a separate casserole dish.
- Allow 3 inches oven clearance on top and 2 to 3 inches of space around the bird. The time for cooking a turkey in the microwave is 9 to 10 minutes per pound on medium (50 percent) power. Tip: Rotate the bird during cooking to ensure even cooking.
- If the bird is defrosted in the microwave, cook it immediately. Always use a food thermometer to determine doneness. The turkey is safely cooked when the food thermometer reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
- After removing from the microwave, let the turkey stand 20 minutes before carving it.
For additional information on cooking turkey, read Turkey: Alternative Routes to the Table
on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's site.