Convection roasting a turkey - new oven!

I just got a wicked fancy new stove (yay!) with true convection (the fan actually generates heat, it doesn’t just blow air). I roasted a 4 lb chicken last night and it was awesome. But a 13 lb turkey? Will it brown too fast, and if yes (I think the answer is yes) then does tenting it with foil defeat the whole point of convection? Should I just roast it the traditional way?

  • Posted by: aargersi
  • November 19, 2021


Lori T. November 19, 2021
I too have a convection oven, and love it. How you adjust your oven temp will depend on if the stove itself will auto adjust, or if you need to do it yourself. So like Nancy said, start off the adventure by reading your manual. Regardless, you want the roasting temp with convection to be 325F. The moving air in the oven gets you more even browning, and yes- you might notice the breast browning a bit more/faster than the rest. I combat this by forming a sort of foil "breast shield" for the bird before I even begin roasting. Matter of fact, before I remove the wrapper, less mess that way. I fold a double layer of heavy duty foil into a size large enough to fit over the front of the bird, and use my fingers to form fit it to that area I need covered. Then remove it carefully, and set aside until required. When and if you see the bird is browning to just about your desired level, then you can more easily place that preformed shield on the appropriate area. You won't as likely scald your fingers playing with the hot bird, and you only protect the area that needs it. If you want, you can remove it again a few minutes before removing from the oven to re-crisp as needed.
Nancy November 19, 2021
Lori - what about spatchcocking as a way to cook but not overcook a turkey in convection oven? Does space allow? Flatten and, if needed, separate the parts that cook more slowly and those that cook more quickly?
Lori T. November 19, 2021
The amount of room available depends on your oven, but most have a full width, if not full size oven so you have the same amount of room as usual. Spatchcocking the bird would help even out cooking and browning, but I can't speak about the how to on that because I've never done it with a turkey. If you have a pair of kitchen shears that can take on the bird, though, and don't want or need a "presentation traditional view" bird, it would certainly be an idea. I roast by temperature rather than time as well, birds that I either wet or dry brine, so dryness hasn't been a problem. I highly recommend a thermometer rather than a clock method for that reason. I am not a big fan of the separate parts roasting thing, although I see the sense of it. Somehow it just seems to reduce what is a special feast item to the level of another weeknight clucker, only bigger. It's also a little more complicated to juggle when to put on and remove the various parts. Plus since most folks are not that adept at cutting up a full size chicken, the idea of reducing something the size of a turkey could be stroke inducing. Not to mention, potentially risky if you did not have a knife of sufficient sharpness and size for the task. But yes, you could spatchcock or roast in pieces if you wanted to do it that way. The oven just helps eliminate hot spots, it doesn't do miracles. Go too long or too hot, the bird still gets dry. Perhaps just more "evenly" dry. The best way to avoid overcooking still involves a thermometer, rather than a clock.
aargersi November 19, 2021
Thanks for all of the info! I want a traditional bird so no spatchcock for me … my oven has a built in thermometer (!) I am thinking I’ll do traditional for now and then experiment with the convection when we don’t have guests. But for sure I’m going to try it!
Lori T. November 19, 2021
Honestly, I would urge you not to fear using the convection part for roasting your turkey. You did a chicken, so have an idea of how your oven operates in terms of time, etc. I would put that thermometer to work, monitoring the temp of the breast. You can add another layer of foil shield, just make two of them - and put the second one on when your breast is at temp, while the thighs catch up. If you are not too fearful, you can also start your bird bottom side up, which jump starts cooking on the thighs. It also nicely browns the underside, so you don't end up with a tanned bird on only one side and ookey pale skin on the bottom! Start your bird roasting bottom side up, and flip it over once it has gotten nicely browned. Not only does it help get everything roasted done at the same time, the fat from those thighs will be dripping down into the breast to baste it as it roasts. Once your bird is nice and brown to suit you, flip it over in the traditional roasting position, and continue to roast until browned and done. It's a little odd to flip the bird, but it works.
Nancy November 19, 2021
Solid advice and some humor (another weeknight clucker). Thanks, for future use.
702551 November 20, 2021
I would not trust your new oven's built-in thermometer until it has been verified to be properly calibrated.

I would still use a remote probe thermometer and maybe an instant read thermometer anyhow to double check the meat doneness.

Overcooked turkey is a miserable affair.
Nancy November 19, 2021
Have a look at this article. It has good tips about adjusting recipes (including for roasting) from regular oven to convection oven.
Often recommend reducing time and/or temperature.
But some convection ovens have their own adjustment built in, so you need to read the manual of your machine to ensure you're not accidentally setting it too low (once manual, once in the programing).
If there is a more recent article that updates this info, use that. But this was the latest I could find.
Recommended by Food52