How to Cook a Turkey on a Stove Top

roast turkey with stuffing
Braised turkey doesn't brown as deeply as roast turkey. (Image: bonchan/iStock/Getty Images)

The most common way to cook a turkey is to roast it in the oven. If you don't have an oven, however, or if you just want a change, you can try cooking it on the stove top. Cooking a turkey in a large, covered pot with a small amount of liquid in the bottom is called braising. Braising produces a moist, flavorful meat and a rich sauce that can be turned into gravy. It is also a relatively quick method for cooking turkey.

Step 1

Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator.

Step 2

Heat some vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or pot large enough to hold the turkey. Saute the onion, carrot and celery in the oil until they brown lightly.

Step 3

Place the turkey on top of the sauteed vegetables. Add about 1 1/2 inch of liquid.

Step 4

Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot tightly with the lid.

Step 5

Simmer the turkey gently. Check the liquid level every 20 to 30 minutes. If it's boiling, turn down the heat. If it drops below an inch, add more liquid.

Step 6

Test the turkey at the two-hour mark. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue cooking if the temperature is low.

Step 7

Test the turkey every 15 minutes. When the temperature in the thigh reads 165 degrees, check the thickest part of the breast as well. It, too should read 165 degrees. Cooking will probably take three to four hours.

Step 8

Remove the turkey to a carving board. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

  • A large pot or Dutch oven with a tight lid

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • 3 stalks of celery, diced

  • 1 to 2 qt. liquid -- water, chicken stock, apple juice, wine, water or a combination

  • Instant-read cooking thermometer

  • Carving board

Tip

If you don't have a pot with a lid that is large enough to accommodate the turkey, you can use a pot without a lid. Cover the pot with aluminum foil, and seal the foil tightly to the sides. You will probably have to watch the liquid level more closely if you use this method, as it will boil off more quickly than if you use a pot with a tight lid. Strain and use the liquid in the bottom of the pot to make a sauce or gravy. It is full of flavor from both the vegetables and the turkey.

Warning

If you take the turkey's temperature and it's below 165 degrees Fahrenheit, make sure you wash the thermometer with soap and hot water before using it later to take the temperature again. Thermometers can pick up harmful bacteria from an underdone turkey.

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