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Can anyone tell me the interior oven dimensions needed to comfortably fit an 18 lbs turkey?

I've searched around on the internet, but seeing as Thanksgiving is an American holiday, where most people have large, built-in ovens, I haven't had much luck pinning down an answer.

I don't know much of anything about cooking or turkeys or ovens, and I am living in China where ovens are rare and the sand-alone ones you can purchase tend to be small (more of a large toaster oven than what we're used to in the states).

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    Bigger than a toaster oven, put it that way. – ElendilTheTall Nov 21 '14 at 11:36
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    It also depends on how you want to prepare the turkey - if you butterfly it or break it down, you'll end up with something considerably smaller / easier to cook. You only really need a large oven if you want to roast it. – Kogitsune Nov 21 '14 at 15:07
  • Even if you can get your turkey in a small oven, like a toaster oven, there still needs to be room for air flow so that the turkey cooks evenly. Wall ovens, at least in the states, are usually 24" or 27" or 30" (as measured by exterior width - that is NOT the diameter of the cooking space). Last Thanksgiving, I cooked a 23 lb. turkey in my 24" oven with great results - they don't sell turkeys much larger than that. – Stephen Eure Nov 22 '14 at 9:46
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The oven in a standard 20" kitchen stove will accommodate a bird even as large as 20 lbs (9 kg).

The very detailed chart here, the pertinent details of which are replicated in the chart below, establish the standard dimensions of such an oven as 18 X 16 X 14.5 inches (46 x 41 x 37 cm).

enter image description here

In their downloadable Thanksgiving pdf, for a turkey as large as 20 lbs (9 kg) Williams-Sonoma recommends a 16 X 13 X 3 inch (40 x 33 x 7.5 cm) roasting pan. A pan of this sort is available with a rack which rises just above the bottom of the pan, as here and pictured below.

enter image description here

This kind of pan keeps height requirements down to roughly the height of the bird plus 3" (7.5 cm) above the bird, plus the standard 2.5" (6.5 cm) below the bottom rack. With 14.5" (37 cm) worth of oven height to work with and about a half inch space between the bird and the pan, that still leaves room for a bird 8" (20 cm) tall. (We won't expect the bird to be half as tall as the pan is long.) Meanwhile, an 18" (46 cm) oven depth accommodates a 16" (41 cm) long pan, and a 16" (41 cm) oven width a 13" (33 cm) pan width. Also, as seen here and below, the pan's handles fold down.

enter image description here

Now, none of this is to say that there's anything the slightest bit convenient about roasting so large a bird in so small a space. But it can be done. It should just be done with every whit of safety in mind.

  • You're welcome, nrser. I'm glad I was able to apprehend your meaning. – Tom Raywood Nov 22 '14 at 19:40
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MetroKitchens suggests that for a 17-20 lb bird, you need a roasting pan that is 16 x 13 x 3 inches (about 41 x 33 x 8cm). The oven will need to be taller than the pan, because a turkey sticks out above a roasting pan, but you can reduce that considerably by spatchcocking the bird. I'm bad at estimating visually, but I think it'd be around 6-10 inches (15-25cm) tall when spatchcocked. You also will want some headroom to avoid having the heating element too close to the bird if you have a heating element on top, or else to avoid having the bird brush up against the oven if your heating element is located elsewhere.

So this large-capacity toaster oven might barely work, as it is 10.35 H x 18.19 W x 15.39 D, but I wouldn't go much smaller.

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General Electric (http://products.geappliances.com/appliance/gea-support-search-content?contentId=18680) says:

• A 30" Freestanding Range will hold a turkey about 24-26 lbs.

• A 30" Freestanding Double Oven Range (lower oven) will hold a turkey about 20 lbs. Note: The turkeys we test are normally in the 20-25lb range, and in those cases we use the lower oven of the double oven. We do not have any information on turkey sizes for the upper oven, nor do we recommend cooking whole turkeys/chickens/hams in the upper oven.

• A 30" wall oven (convection or conventional) will hold up to a 35 lb. turkey. Note: For 30" Single/Double Wall Ovens, it is recommended to go by turkey size rather than weight. Check oven interior dimensions by model.

• 27" and 24" built-in ovens will hold a turkey approximately 22-23 lbs. A larger bird may be accommodated depending on the shape of the bird.

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