Turkey Guide

Our Guide to Choosing the Perfect Holiday Turkey

Flock to The Fresh Market for Your Holiday Feast

From birds to brines, bastings and broths, here is your turkey 101 guide! Whether you're cooking one of our fresh, never frozen turkeys from scratch or saving time with our fully cooked, heat-and-serve turkeys, you can find the right turkey for your Holiday feast at The Fresh Market!

So let's talk turkey:

  • Turkey Trot: What type of turkey best meets your needs, cooking tips for fresh turkeys, and how many pounds to purchase
  • Turkey Tool Kit: Everything need you need from twine to brine
  • Turkey Tips: The best brining and foolproof carving

Turkey Trot

From fully-cooked to fresh and ready to roast, The Fresh Market has a wide selection of turkeys that can feed just a few or a crew.

Fresh Turkey

Fresh Turkey

The Fresh Market only carries fresh turkeys that do not require defrosting (or taking up residence in your refrigerator for days).

To ensure a moist, succulent bird, it all starts with how it’s been raised. The Fresh Market’s turkeys are raised in a stress-free environment, with plenty of room to roam in comfortable barns. Our farmers use holistic practices to promote their well-being, which helps keep them healthy without ever having to use antibiotics.

The care given to raising them and feeding them an all-vegetarian diet, translates in their unmatched taste and tenderness.

Here are the Turkey Varieties at The Fresh Market

Fresh Whole Antibiotic Free Turkey Available in 10-14 lb, 16-20 lb, 20-24 lb

Fresh Bone-In Antibiotic Free Turkey Breast Avg. weight 8 lb

Fresh Boneless Antibiotic Free Turkey Breast Avg. weight 2.5 lb

Organic Fresh Whole Turkey Available in 16-20 lb

Choosing & Cooking A Fresh Turkey The average size turkey bought by our guests is 16-pounds. The recommendation is to plan on one and a half pounds of meat per person. So if you are only having a small gathering, consider buying a breast versus the whole bird.

Cooking times vary depending on whether you prefer to stuff your bird, but the general rule is 15 minutes per pound, so a 16-pound bird can take four hours to cook at 325 degrees. The key is to cook it until a meat thermometer registers 165° (take temp at thigh, wing and thickest part of breast). Also allow 30 minutes of resting time after the bird comes out of the oven to allow the juices to re-absorb into the meat (or you will lose all that basting work you did if you carve it too soon!).

Unstuffed Turkey Stuffed Turkey 8-12 lb | 2¾ to 3 hours 8-12 lb | 3 to 3½ hours 12-14 lb | 3 to 3¾ hours 12-14 lb | 3½ to 4 hours 14-18 lb | 3¾ to 4¼ hours 14-18 lb | 4 to 4¼ hours 18-20 lb | 4¼ to 4½ hours 18-20 lb | 4¼ to 4¾ hours 20-24 lb | 4½ to 5 hours 20-24 lb | 4¾ to 5¼ hours

Let Us Do The Cooking For You with a Ready to Heat, Fully-Cooked Turkey

You can save time and cut down on the cooking stress by purchasing one of our fully-cooked turkeys, that are pre-basted with an exclusive brine that ensures great tasting, moist meat. Our stores sold close to 30,000 pre-cooked turkeys last year to rave reviews!

fully cooked turkey

Fully Cooked Turkey A perfectly-cooked Holiday staple, without all the mess and fuss! Simply heat and serve. Reheating may take 1 – 3 hours. Please see reheating instructions for details. 10-12 lb

Fully Cooked Organic Turkey Our organic turkey is fully cooked, ready to heat and serve. Sourced from birds that are fed a 100% non-GMO, vegetarian diet with no antibiotics ever, every bite is moist and flavorful. Requires cooking. 9-11 lb

Boneless Turkey Breast This fully cooked turkey breast is moist, delicious and bursting with oven-roasted flavor. The all-natural meat comes from whole muscle and is antibiotic-free. Reheating may take 1 – 2 hours. Please see reheating instructions for details. 2.5 lb

Turkey Tool Kit

To brine or baste? Cook in a bag or on a pan? Whatever way you prefer, we have all the essential tools you’ll need for roasting perfection.

Here are some of our favorite products to take your turkey to the next level:

Pacific Broth

1Pacific Broth

We recommend using this flavorful organic chicken or vegetable broth from Pacific Foods to add moisture to your roasting pan with more flavor than a simple water bath.

If You Care Cooking Twine

2If You Care Cooking Twine

When cooking a turkey, twine is your best friend. Trussing is important for a variety of reasons. Tying your bird so its legs are together ensures even cooking and also helps distribute more air around the legs, for perfectly crisp-skin on the outside and tender meat on the inside. Trussing its wings also lends a more impressive presentation. This twine is made with organic, unbleached cotton. Securing the legs of the turkey ensures an evenly cooked turkey.

The Fresh Market Turkey Brine

3The Fresh Market Turkey Brine

Brining turkeys is one of our favorite ways to ensure a moist, flavorful bird every time, without fail. Our brine is crafted with hints of rosemary, thyme, vanilla and peppercorns, for a fragrant combination that simplifies the brining process and creates a succulent turkey.

KL Keller Herb Bundles

4KL Keller Herb Bundles

Using these versatile, aromatic herb bundles from northern Spain is our go to shortcut for adding max flavor from the inside out. Thyme, oregano and savory are wrapped in a bay leaf, hand-tied and ready to tuck inside your fresh bird.

Bell’s Turkey Seasoning

5Bell’s Turkey Seasoning

This salt-free seasoning is made with rosemary, ginger, sage, oregano, marjoram, thyme and pepper. Season your bird before roasting for flavor in every bite.

Medlee Butter

6Medlee Butter

Simple, convenient and innovative, these flavor-infused butters make great sauté-starters and finishing flavors. Medlee Butters are AA, rBST-free and come in beautiful medallions.

Urban Accents Gourmet Brine Bag

7Urban Accents Gourmet Brine Bag

This BPA-free plastic brine bag is resealable, gusseted and super sturdy – it can hold up to a 24 lb turkey! Best of all? It’s reusable so you can wash it and use it next year!

Reynolds Turkey Bag

8Reynolds Turkey Bag

Cooking your turkey in a bag is an excellent way to guarantee your bird is ultra-moist and succulent and never, ever dry. Also, this method is more efficient since the turkey cooks faster in a bag and you don’t have a big, bulky roasting pan to clean afterwards!

Brining Tips

If you’ve volunteered to cook the turkey this year, be sure to brine your bird. Brine is a basic salt-and-water solution that helps your turkey retain more moisture and flavor throughout the cooking process. Giving your bird a long, luxurious brine bath is a simple way to guard against dry meat. All it takes is a little planning ahead, and you’ll have your best turkey yet. Here are some of our essential brining tips:

thanksgiving turkey
  • Be sure to choose a container that’s large enough to hold the bird and the brine. It also needs to be able to fit in your refrigerator or a large cooler.
  • Plan to brine your turkey for at least 24 hours (remember, we’re going for maximum juiciness).
  • To minimize clean-up, line a large 3-5 gallon container with an oven roasting bag. Add your turkey and cooled brine, then place the container in a fridge or cooler with ice.
  • Tack an additional 30 minutes onto the estimated roasting time, just to be safe. There are many variables that come into play, from the temperature of the turkey, to an inaccurate oven, to frequent opening of the oven door (which drops the temperature) and even the temperature of the stuffing.
  • Let the turkey rest. A rest period before carving (for the turkey, not the cook) is one of the secrets to a moist, juicy bird. The hot juices in the turkey must cool and relax back into the meat—carving it too soon could release them, resulting in a dried-out texture.
  • The larger the bird, the longer it can stand at room temperature without cooling off. Allow 30 minutes for an average-sized bird of about 15 lbs. and up to 1 hour for large birds around 20 lbs. With the turkey on the platter, the oven is now free for reheating sides.

Tips for Carving Whole Turkey

The ritual of carving the holiday turkey is a time-honored tradition. But sometimes it can be a challenge. (After all, it could have been a year since your last carving session!) We recommend carving in the privacy of your own kitchen rather than at the table. That way, you can remove the meat before slicing it up, allow guests to enjoy more of the coveted crispy skin, and have the platter presentation-ready before you bring it out. Keep reading for more turkey carving tips.

first cut on the turkey
  • GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF A SHARP CARVING SET: You’ll have the best results with a carving set containing a long, thin-bladed carving knife (to make easy work of the slicing) and a two-pronged meat fork (to hold the bird steady and help with the actual serving). Be sure the knife is good and sharp—you may even want to plan ahead and have it professionally sharpened.
  • LET IT REST: After roasting, let the turkey rest on the serving platter for 30 to 45 minutes. The bird will not get cold during the rest period. However, the hot juices (which have been moving around inside the bird) will settle and soak back into the meat. Remember: don’t carve it too soon! You’ll want to retain as much juice as possible.
  • CARVE IN PRIVACY: Don’t feel that you have to carve the turkey at the table. Especially for larger groups, it’s best to present the whole bird at the table (garnished with fresh herbs, fruits or veggies, if you like) and let everyone admire your masterpiece. Then, duck into the kitchen and carve in privacy. In the meantime, you can ask the guests to start passing around the sides.
  • CARVE IT ALL: We find it much easier to carve up the entire bird instead of serving the old-fashioned way, one guest at a time. This makes it possible to separate the white and dark meat before serving (and allows for a better presentation). Cut the turkey into its major sections on the platter, and then do the actual carving on a wooden or plastic board, preferably with a well to contain the juices.
  • REMOVE THE STUFFING: If you’ve stuffed the turkey, scoop the stuffing into a serving bowl before carving. Cover the dish with its lid or aluminum foil to keep it warm.
  • A JUICY TIDBIT: Here a caterer’s trick to guarantee hot, steaming servings of carved meat: Pour any carving juices from the board over the sliced meat. Then, ladle about half a cup of piping-hot turkey or chicken broth over the carved meat on the platter. Your turkey is now beautifully carved, steaming, juicy and ready to serve!