Last weekend, the 25-pound turkey challenge went viral. If you're not in the know, the prank involves people asking their parents or friends how to microwave a 25-pound turkey, a question that will elicit laughs and lots of judgment from the askee. (Guaranteed.)
Well, then we started thinking: Can you actually cook a turkey in a microwave?
The answer? A resounding YES.
According to Butterball rep Nicole Johnson, if your turkey fits the microwave AND doesn't touch the sides or top of the oven, you're fine to cook it in your favorite insta-appliance. Here's exactly what you need to do to make sure it's cooked properly:
You should also make sure your turkey doesn't exceed 14 pounds, as that's the maximum size that'll fit in a conventional microwave oven with enough clearance around the bird for heat to go around.
"Before starting, make sure the turkey is fully thawed," Johnson says.
Place the turkey in a microwave-safe dish, and microwave it at 100% power for four minutes per pound of turkey you have (so, a 12-pound turkey would need 48 minutes in the microwave).
After this initial heating phase, microwave your turkey at 50% power for eight minutes per pound of turkey you have (so, a 12-pound turkey would need 96 minutes).
When time's up, check that the meat is heated to 180ºF in the thigh and 170ºF in the breast. This will mean the turkey is ready to be served. 👌
As a skeptic, I HAD to fact-check this info with a USDA rep. And what do you know — USDA rep Archie Magoulas confirmed you can, indeed, safely cook a turkey in a microwave. As he said, "As long as the thickest part of the turkey reaches a temperature of 165ºF, it's ready to be eaten." 😮
The one major tip the USDA had was to let the meat rest after microwaving it, so you don't cut into a freshly cooked bird and squirt turkey juices all over your kitchen (and lose all that flavor!).
So what if you have a 25-pound turkey that you still really want to cook in a microwave? Portion your turkey into two 12.5 lb parts and follow the instructions above
You're welcome, kids.
Oh, and if you have any outstanding turkey microwaving questions, you can direct them to the Butterball Turkey Talk Line, which can be reached (at zero charge to you) by phone at 1-800-288-8372 or by text at 1-844-877-3456.
Here are their hours:
November 1st - 16th: 8 am - 8 pm (Monday - Friday)
November 17th - 18th: 8 am - 6 pm
November 19th - 20th: 7 am - 9 pm
November 21st: 7am - 10pm
November 22nd (Thanksgiving Day): 6 am - 6 pm
November 23rd - December 21st: 8 am - 6 pm (Monday - Friday)
December 22nd - 23rd: 8 am - 2 pm
December 24th (Christmas Eve): 8 am - 2 pm