Can You Cook Turkey on a Stove Top? 7 Effective Methods for Oven-Free Turkey Cooking

There are many reasons to cook a turkey without an oven, such as wanting to try something different this holiday season or simply not having one that works. Luckily, there are a few ways to do it.

“The stovetop may be the best option if you’re cooking just turkey parts or don’t need a whole turkey,” says King Phojanakong, a chef at the Institute of Culinary Education.

The Cheesecake Factory’s executive chef for culinary research and development, Brandon Cook, advises cooking the turkey with a lot of broth if cooking it on the stovetop. Cook claims that the liquid will “be super fortified with turkey greatness,” resulting in amazing gravy.

Additionally, “you will be cooking with moist heat so youre lowering your chances of having a dry bird,” he says, adding that there are other advantages.

You have several options if you choose to cook a turkey on the stovetop: you can pressure cook, poach, braise, sauté, or steam the bird. Here’s how to use your stove to cook a turkey without using an oven.

Yes, you can absolutely cook a delicious turkey on your stovetop! While ovens are the traditional method for preparing this Thanksgiving staple, there are several alternative approaches that offer equally satisfying results. Whether you’re dealing with a broken oven, limited space, or simply seeking a new culinary adventure, these stovetop techniques provide a convenient and flavorful way to cook your turkey.

7 Stovetop Methods for Cooking a Turkey:

1. Sautéing: This method is ideal for smaller turkey pieces like tenderloins, cutlets, or cubed breast. Simply pat the turkey dry, season it to your liking, and sauté in a pan with butter or oil until golden brown and cooked through

2. Deep Frying: This technique involves submerging a whole turkey or separate parts in hot oil until golden brown and cooked through. While deep frying requires a bit more equipment and attention it delivers a crispy exterior and juicy interior.

3. Poaching: This gentle method involves simmering turkey pieces in a flavorful liquid like broth, wine, or milk until cooked through. Poaching results in tender, moist turkey that’s perfect for salads or sandwiches.

4. Steaming: Similar to poaching, steaming involves cooking turkey pieces in a steamer basket positioned over simmering water This method yields tender, flavorful turkey that retains its natural juices

5. Smoking on the Grill: For a smoky, flavorful turkey, consider using a kettle grill or smoker. This method involves slow-cooking the turkey over indirect heat with wood chips for added flavor.

6. Pressure Cooking: This fast and efficient method utilizes a pressure cooker to cook turkey pieces in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and effective pressure cooking.

7. Braising: This technique involves browning turkey pieces and then simmering them in a covered pot with a small amount of liquid, creating a rich sauce and tender, flavorful meat.

Additional Considerations for Stovetop Turkey Cooking:

  • Thawing: Always thaw your turkey safely in the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave before cooking.
  • Food Safety: Ensure proper food handling practices by washing your hands and utensils, and cooking the turkey to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Equipment: Choose the appropriate pan or pot size based on the turkey pieces you’re cooking.
  • Resting: Allow the cooked turkey to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving to ensure even distribution of juices.

Cooking a turkey on the stovetop is a viable and delicious alternative to using an oven. With various methods available, you can choose the approach that best suits your preferences and equipment. Remember to follow the safety guidelines and cooking times to ensure a perfectly cooked and flavorful turkey for your next meal.

How to Smoke a Turkey on the Grill

  • Turkey, legs tied and plastic doneness indicator removed
  • Kettle grill
  • Long tongs
  • Disposable aluminum pan
  • Untreated charcoal briquettes
  • Wood chunks or chips
  • Vinegar, for basting
  • Basting brush
  • Aluminum foil

You can smoke a turkey in a backyard smoker or on a kettle grill if you’d rather not use the stove. Although it may seem difficult to do on the grill, the results will undoubtedly be worthwhile if you do it correctly.

It can be challenging to regulate the cooking temperature when smoking a turkey on a grill. To guarantee precise cooking temperatures, it could be worthwhile to purchase a probe thermometer if your grill lacks the temperature sensor and display found on some models.

When smoking a turkey on the grill, use untreated charcoal briquettes instead of lump charcoal because they burn longer and will produce the smoke.

For a more juicy outcome, you can decide to brine your turkey before smoking it. Before cooking, either pat your turkey dry with a paper towel or let it air dry in the refrigerator for the entire night.

To smoke a turkey on the grill, follow these instructions:

  • Soak your wood chips in water.
  • Open your grill’s bottom vent and give it a thorough cleaning. To ensure adequate airflow, you will periodically open and close the top vent in addition to keeping the bottom vent open while smoking your turkey.
  • Pour one inch of water into a disposable aluminum pan and set it off to one side of the grill to create a cool zone for the turkey. The water will help produce a moist bird, and the pan should be placed underneath the turkey to catch any drips.
  • Using tongs, move the lit briquettes to the side opposite the aluminum pan, covering approximately one-third of the grill’s bottom, once flames begin to appear. Place the highest side of the coals against the grill’s wall by banking them into a slope.
  • Place the soaked wood onto the coals.
  • After covering the grill and letting it heat up to 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, shut off the top vent. Once the temperature drops to between 300 and 350 F, close the top vent. To maintain that temperature for five minutes, adjust the top vent by opening and closing it.
  • Take off the cover and place the turkey breast-up on the grill over the water pan. The turkey should never be placed directly over coals. If your turkey is too large, place it sideways on the grill and turn it once or twice while it cooks.
  • Place the lid back on the grill. The temperature will drop, but dont open the top vent. After an additional hour, check the temperature and if it continues to drop, add more coals and open the top vent.
  • Baste the turkey every 30 minutes with vinegar. Verify that it is browning uniformly on all sides, or turn it.
  • When the turkey’s internal temperature reaches 165 F, it is done smoking. The size of your bird will determine how long it takes to cook, so check it every 45 minutes.
  • Try your best to lift the finished turkey from underneath and avoid making too many contact with the skin when transferring it to a chopping board. Before carving, tent a piece of foil over it and let it rest for half an hour to allow the juices to settle.

How to Defrost Turkey

Its best to defrost turkey before cooking it. There are three safe ways to thaw poultry, according to the USDA — none of them involve leaving the bird out on the counter, which is dangerous and can lead to foodborne bacteria growing and multiplying, according to the USDA.

can you cook turkey on a stove top

can you cook turkey on a stove top

can you cook turkey on a stove top

‌1. Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator. ‌ This is the most recommended option from the USDA. This will take longer if your piece of meat (or entire turkey) is larger.

The USDA estimates that it will take a full day for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey to thaw.

‌2. Thaw the turkey in cold water. While it takes more time than thawing the turkey in the fridge, this method is a little quicker. The USDA estimates that it takes 30 minutes per pound to thaw a turkey. Follow these steps:

  • Make sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely submerged in cold water by submerging it in its bag. You can use the kitchen sink or a plastic container.
  • Until the turkey is completely thawed, change the water every thirty minutes.
  • Cook the turkey immediately after its thawed.

‌3. Thaw the turkey in the microwave. According to the USDA, this should take about 6 minutes per pound, though this can vary depending on the microwave. Follow these steps:

  • Put the turkey (whole or in pieces) in a dish that is safe to microwave after removing the wrapping.
  • Use your microwaves defrost function, and follow the manufacturers instructions. Aim for 6 minutes per pound.
  • Throughout the process, turn and flip the turkey or the pieces. Allow it to cool for about five minutes if it begins to cook before returning it to the microwave.
  • You must cook the turkey right away after it has thawed.

When it comes to food safety, one crucial component is safely thawing the bird. Here are some additional things to think about, especially if you’re cooking the turkey on the stove.

  • ‌Cut the turkey into pieces. Break it down if you’re cooking a turkey on the stovetop, advises Phojanakong. The reason why: “Mainly to promote even cooking,” he says. Another reason to cut the bird into smaller pieces is for food safety; you want to make sure the meat isn’t too cold because that can encourage the growth of bacteria. You can either buy a turkey breast, turkey thighs, or turkey wings at the grocery store, or you can ask your butcher to cut up the turkey.
  • ‌Wash up. Hands-off on washing the turkey, utensils, cutting boards, and anything else that comes into contact with raw poultry.
  • ‌Dont wash meat. According to the USDA, doing so is not required and may result in bacteria splattering throughout your kitchen.
  • ‌Have a thermometer on hand. The only safe and reliable method to determine if a turkey is cooked through is to use a food thermometer; appearance, smell, and taste are not reliable indicators of doneness. The USDA states that the internal temperature of all poultry, including turkeys, should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • ‌Store and reheat leftovers safely. ‌ All turkey leftovers should be refrigerated within 2 hours. According to the USDA, you should slice the turkey breast rather than refrigerate large portions of the meat. Place leftovers in small, shallow containers.
  • ‌Make sure you have the right equipment. Equipment may be required depending on the method you’re using. If you’re sautéing or braising, for instance, you’ll need to make sure your pan is large enough to accommodate the turkey parts you’re cooking. It might be necessary to divide the turkey between two pans. Make sure you have a pressure cooker on hand if you decide to use one.

Stove top Turkey Recipe using Saladmaster


Can you cook turkey in regular pan?

You don’t need a roasting pan and roasting rack to cook a turkey. By replacing the pan with a rimmed sheet pan, Dutch oven, or skillet, you can still get a boatload of delicious bird. And wire cooling racks, spoons, scrunched aluminum foil, and chopped veggies are all fair game as roasting rack replacements.

Can you cook a turkey on top of a wood stove?

400°-500° is a typical “roasting zone” temperature as described in The Art of Wood-fired Cooking. Most high temperature recipes for roasting a turkey in a wood-burning oven have you build a fire, let the oven accumulate some heat and maintain a small fire while roasting the turkey.

How do you cook a turkey in the oven without a turkey pan?

But if you don’t have an oven-safe rack on hand, don’t worry: you can easily create a rack using aluminum foil. Scrunch up a long piece of foil into a thick rope and sculpt it into a spiral or a figure eight, high enough to lift the bird away from the cooking surface.

Can you cook a Turkey on a stovetop?

Unlock and remove the cooker’s lid and lift out the pieces of turkey. Slice and portion the white and dark meat, or serve them together on a platter. For any stovetop method, smaller turkeys of 10 to 12 pounds work best. Larger birds can also be cooked on the stovetop, but they’ll usually need multiple pots or unusually large pots.

How do you cook a Turkey on a stove?

A tall-sided pot with a tight-fitting lid will help retain moisture and heat. A pot with a non-stick surface will make clean-up easier. When cooking turkey on the stove, it’s important to take your time and cook it slowly to ensure that it cooks evenly and remains tender and juicy.

Can you cook a turkey breast on the stove?

Cooking on the stove requires the skillet to be covered after searing the turkey breast. This helps the juices from the stock absorb into the turkey breast resulting in moist, succulent and tender turkey breast. How do I get my turkey to brown? Today’s recipe has guaranteed browning and crispy skin on our turkey.

How do I choose the right Turkey for stovetop cooking?

Before you start cooking, make sure to choose the right turkey for stove-top cooking. A smaller turkey, around 10-12 pounds, is ideal for stovetop cooking as it will cook more evenly and thoroughly. Make sure the turkey is fully thawed before beginning the cooking process.

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