Is it better to use the convection setting on my oven to roast my turkey?

Nevin Cohen


AntoniaJames November 23, 2016
Look in the manual of your oven to see what it recommends, or, better yet, call the manufacturer and ask for tech support or someone there who can answer questions of this kind. Many convection ovens have more than one convection setting, in which case, one will likely be better suited than the others. (My Dacor has a "Convection Roast" that puts extra heat on the bottom of the oven, as well as runs the fan.)
I always use convection. It's a little tricky tenting toward the end -- which I sometimes have to do, because the convection causes the skin to brown a bit more quickly -- but it's altogether worth it for the even heat, all the way around the bird.
I strongly recommend not putting the bird in a roasting pan - put it on a rack on a sheet pan if you can, to take full advantage of the circulating hot air. More on that point here:
Also, check the temperature with a reliable instant read thermometer well in advance of when you think the bird is ready. As Jeremy noted, cooking time could be shorter (that's quite variable, given other factors such as how many times you open the oven door, how well insulated the oven is, etc.) Have fun! ;o)
Kenzi W. November 23, 2016
From a nonconvection turkey-maker: I might say that if it's your first time baking with convection and you're hosting a lot of people, stick to what you know. Non-convection settings can work great, too! If your guests already love you, go forth and experiment. :)
Jeremy B. November 23, 2016
Nevin, I don't think there is a clear answer. There are tradeoffs you might want to consider. Using the convection feature will reduce the cooking time by 25-30% and cause the outside of the bird to be drier which can result in crispier skin. However, if you have a brine or rub that is at risk of burning, you could have problems with that. But, because it cooks faster, you will likely have a juicier bird that more evenly cooks.

meathead November 23, 2016
Convection will do wonders for the skin and cook faster, so go for it! Just make sure you are using a digital meat thermometer and not a clock or the popup to tell you when it is done.
Susan W. November 23, 2016
I love the even golden brown convection oven lends to a bird. We always use it at my mom's house. Some ovens need to be turned 25f lower to compensate for the convection.
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