From a user who posted as an answer elsewhere:

I cooked the 22 pound turkey way to early. It's done at 10:30 and we aren't eating till 4:00. Right now I have it sitting in the roaster covered with towels and aluminum foil. What should I do? Should I keep it there for the three hours? Then it's still another 2 hours till serving.

Whatever the exact specifics, what can someone do if they end up in this situation? Similarly, what if someone wants to cook the turkey early like this - is there anything they can plan ahead for?

3 Answers 3


If possible I'd remove it from the oven and slice it up and put it in the fridge to cool it down as fast as possible to stop the cooking.

When closer to serving, just reheat the meat.

You can pour some of the juice on the carved slices to keep them as moist as possible.

For christmas, this is what we will do (more "extreme) and cook the turkey one day in advance.


If you have the oven space available (ie, you aren't using it for something else), you can wrap it in foil, and keep it in a low oven. The breast meat may end up overcooking, but if you give most people sufficient gravy, they won't complain. If they do, you can use our family rule : 'if you complain about the food, you have to cook next time'.

You can also cut the breasts off and chill them, so that you're only keeping the dark meat warm, but you'll need to wrap it well, as that large cut surface will lose moisture in the oven.


Our 23 lb turkey was ready 2hrs early. Took it out of the oven, popped on the roasting pan lid and let it rest. Then drained out the juices and made gravy. Turkey stayed in the roaster, lid on. First hr, just turned the oven down to keep warm and it was fine. Second hr, out of the oven and roasting pan on the counter wrapped in towels. Freed up my oven for everything else. By carving time it was still toasty hot and everybit was moist.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.