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Microwaving a Turkey

Turkeys can be successfully cooked in a microwave oven—whole or in parts. 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 owner's manual. A 12- to 14- pound turkey is the maximum size most microwaves can accommodate. Microwaves sometimes cook a whole turkey unevenly, so microwaving it in an oven cooking bag aids in even heat distribution. Microwaving a stuffed turkey is not recommended. The stuffing may not be cooked to the proper internal temperature when the turkey itself is done. Cook the stuffing in a separate casserole.

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%) power. 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 °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.

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