Cooking a Turkey with Giblets Inside: Safety Tips and Giblet Gravy Recipe

Giblets are the extra parts of the turkey—the liver, gizzards, heart, and neck—that you don’t roast for Thanksgiving. These days, most people don’t eat them by themselves at Thanksgiving, but there are some excellent ways to use them to maximize the flavor of your holiday dishes.

If you do forget to remove the giblets before roasting your turkey, all may not be lost. Giblets wrapped in paper can cook safely inside the cavity. However, if the giblets are wrapped in plastic, the plastic might melt inside the bird and leak toxic substances. In this case, discard the giblets and the turkey if the plastic has started to melt.

First, whether you’re using the giblets or not, remember to take them out of the turkey. You most certainly don’t want to cook your turkey with the bag still inside because they are typically packaged in a paper or plastic bag that is placed inside the bird’s cavity.

Turkey giblets are most commonly used to make a giblet gravy. To make a flavorful giblet stock, the parts—aside from the liver, which turns bitter when boiled—are simmered with herbs and vegetables. After that, the chopped giblets are stirred back in at the very end of the thick gravy made from the turkey pan drippings, stock, flour, and cream. If you want the taste of the giblets but don’t want to eat them, you can skip this last step.

The liver can still be added to the gravy if it is roasted rather than simmered, even though it isn’t used in the turkey stock. Alternatively, some people mix it into their stuffing for a deep, savory taste.

Ever wondered what to do with that mysterious packet of giblets nestled inside your Thanksgiving turkey? This guide will answer all your questions about giblets, including their purpose, safe cooking methods, and a delicious giblet gravy recipe to enhance your holiday feast.

What are Giblets?

Giblets are the heart, liver, and gizzard of a poultry carcass, often packaged with the neck While they may seem like an afterthought, these flavorful organs can be transformed into a delectable gravy that complements your turkey and stuffing.

Can You Cook a Turkey with Giblets Inside?

The answer depends on the packaging of the giblets:

  • Paper-wrapped giblets: If the giblets are enclosed in paper, you can safely cook them inside the turkey cavity. The paper acts as a barrier, preventing contamination.
  • Plastic-wrapped giblets: If the giblets are packaged in plastic, it’s crucial to remove them before cooking. Cooking plastic can release harmful chemicals into the surrounding meat, compromising food safety.

Uh-oh! I Forgot to Remove the Plastic-wrapped Giblets. What Now?

Don’t fret! If the plastic bag remains intact and the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F throughout, both the giblets and the bird are likely safe to consume. However, if the plastic bag has melted or shows signs of damage, it’s best to discard both the giblets and the turkey to avoid any potential health hazards.

Giblet Gravy Recipe: The Perfect Thanksgiving Accompaniment

Now that you’ve safely dealt with the giblets, let’s turn them into a delectable gravy:


  • 1.5 sticks (¾ cup) butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (with additional tablespoons as needed)
  • 48 ounces chicken broth
  • Salt, pepper, and sage to taste
  • 3-4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced or chopped
  • Boiled and chopped giblets


  1. Make the Roux: Melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat. Gradually whisk in the flour, ensuring a smooth consistency. If lumps appear, keep whisking until they dissolve. The roux will darken as the flour cooks. Continue adding flour and whisking until the roux reaches a rich, golden-brown color. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Gravy Base: In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth and seasonings to a boil. Gradually whisk in a portion of the broth into the reserved roux, then combine the mixture back into the main broth. Maintain a gentle boil while whisking until the gravy thickens.
  3. Finishing Touches: Add the chopped eggs and giblets to the thickened gravy. Adjust the seasoning if needed, and keep the gravy warm on the stove until ready to serve.

Additional Tips:

  • For a richer flavor, brown the giblets in a pan before adding them to the gravy.
  • Adjust the amount of flour to achieve your desired gravy consistency.
  • Feel free to experiment with additional herbs and spices to personalize your gravy flavor profile.

With these tips and the delicious giblet gravy recipe, you’re well-equipped to handle those Thanksgiving giblets like a pro! Remember, food safety is paramount, so always double-check the giblet packaging and follow the appropriate cooking guidelines. Happy Thanksgiving!

Remove Turkey Neck, Giblets, Heart, Kidney, Liver, Innards, Guts


What happens if you cook a turkey with the giblet bag inside?

If you do forget to remove the giblets before roasting your turkey, all may not be lost. Giblets wrapped in paper can cook safely inside the cavity. If the giblets are wrapped in plastic, however, the plastic may melt inside the turkey and release harmful chemicals.

What happens if you forget to remove giblets?

However, “if the giblets were packed in a plastic bag and you forgot to remove them and they were cooked, then we have a problem,” she said. “Once the bag has been altered or melted by the cooking process, do not use the giblets or bird because harmful chemicals may have leached in the surrounding meat.

Is it OK to leave giblets in turkey?

Nolan had reassuring advice for cooks who don’t know giblets are in the turkey cavity or forget to remove them before roasting. When you cook your turkey, it is perfectly fine to let the giblet bag cook inside (on purpose or accidentally).

What if a turkey has giblets still attached?

You will need to remove them before brining or cooking your bird. After your turkey is fully thawed (if you purchased a frozen bird), you can gently un-tuck the cut end of the legs from the flap of skin at the bottom of the bird. You can then reach inside and pull all the giblets out.

How to cook Turkey giblets?

2. In a large bowl, combine the giblets, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. 3. Spread the giblets in a single layer in a roasting pan. 4. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the giblets are cooked through and browned. 5. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. 6. Serve with your favorite roasted vegetables. * Fried Turkey Giblets

What are giblets used for in a Turkey?

A: Giblets are the internal organs of a turkey, including the heart, liver, gizzard, and neck. They are often used to make gravy or stuffing. Q: How do I cook giblets?

Can you roast a Turkey with a bag of giblets?

Whatever you do, don’t roast your turkey with a plastic bag of giblets still inside. That’s a recipe for toxic chemical leakage according to the USDA. Instead, remove the giblets from the bag and get ready to use them. Roast turkey with giblet gravy is a little bit like Caesar salad with anchovies.

How do you make Turkey giblets gravy?

Turkey giblets are most commonly used to make a giblet gravy. The parts (besides the liver, which becomes bitter when boiled) are simmered with herbs and vegetables to make a flavorful giblet stock. Then, the turkey pan drippings, stock, flour and cream combine to form a thick gravy, and the chopped giblets are stirred back in at the end.

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