I wish to expedite the cooking process of my turkey this year.

How do I cook a full 25 lb. turkey in the microwave?

It must be edible - preferably delicious!

  • 5
    By „cook“, I assume you mean „heated to a temperature that makes it safe to eat“, not a whole bird with crisp skin?
    – Stephie
    Nov 27, 2019 at 17:14
  • 2
    You do know how microwaves work? This is a bad idea.
    – Johannes_B
    Nov 27, 2019 at 17:14
  • 4
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a prank.
    – moscafj
    Nov 27, 2019 at 17:36
  • 4
    I agree with Stephie, and I applaud her attempt at an answer. People who are interesting in this "prank" may very well wonder whether it is actually possible and search for answers online. I think it's a really good thing for us to have some informed thoughts on the issue here.
    – Athanasius
    Nov 27, 2019 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


Ok, I‘ll bite.

While according to Today.com Butterball posted a recipe, my contradicting answer is

You don’t.

At least not when you want a whole bird with crisp skin. Like this:

while turkey (Source)

  1. The inner volume of your microwave is most likely not big enough - for the experiment, I checked my freestanding 25l model: inner space is 215.0 x 337.0 x 354.0 mm, and the turntable has a diameter of 315mm. No 25-pound bird will fit in that.
  2. Cooking can therefore be done only in batches and you need to cut and portion the bird prior to any cooking attempt. The time needed to sufficiently heat the different batches (and reheating etc, so that you can serve your party) means you will not save any time.
  3. Microwaves cook, they don’t bake or grill and they are notorious for uneven heating. So to get a food safe bird, you need to plan a lot of extra time to ensure heat distribution which will almost certainly mean you need to overcook parts to get the whole entity to a safe temperature. Plus you don’t get the coveted crisp skin (at least not without a few tricks and even then the results are more dry than crisp, believe me, I tried). This means that it will barely meet the “edible” requirement and “delicious” only to those with rather uncommon preferences or expectations.

So if you have only a turkey and a microwave, I see these options or a combination thereof:

  1. Forget about the classic thanksgiving turkey dinner with the whole bird a showstopper on the table.
  2. Find someone who has a suitably large oven, for a 25 lb bird, you will need one that can hold a 16 inch roasting pan and don’t underestimate the needed height. Alternatively, a grill or barbecue, a turkey fryer or other suitable equipment should do.
  3. Cut the bird in parts, ideally separating various kinds of meat (breast, thigh...), find microwave recipes for the different types and prepare multiple turkey dishes.
  4. Get a significantly smaller bird and follow the USDA’s instructions or the ones from Butterball.
  • Yes! That's the spirit! :)
    – SnakeDoc
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:29
  • 2
    I applaud you for making the effort with an answer here. I'd just note two things: (1) cooking a roast chicken or small turkey was actually a standard marketing gimmick for early microwave ads (see images here), and (2) it is possible to get somewhat crisp skin in the microwave, and various techniques could actually get better crisp skin. Aside from the size problem, this can be done; just not a very good idea.
    – Athanasius
    Nov 27, 2019 at 22:03
  • 1
    I also would second your point about "not saving time." Even with a whole roast bird, the way to counterbalance the unevenness of a microwave's cooking is to use lower power levels, use periodic resting, etc. Microwave manuals of the 1970s and 1980s were filled with such recipes to roast large cuts of meat, etc. (along with special probes and other gadgets supposedly to improve cooking). But to get a somewhat decent result in a microwave for a whole bird, it will probably take as long (or longer) to cook than in a conventional oven.
    – Athanasius
    Nov 27, 2019 at 22:07
  • 2
    @Athanasius somewhat crispy ;-) and the answer is based on the 25lb premise.
    – Stephie
    Nov 28, 2019 at 6:08
  • 1
    @Rob hence the link to the USDA.
    – Stephie
    Nov 28, 2019 at 13:06

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