How Often to Baste Turkey (Plus Super Simple Method)

You should baste the turkey every 40 minutes for a delicious turkey with golden brown crispy skin, juicy breast, and thigh meat.

Achieving this requires some basting during cooking, but how often should you baste? Is it always necessary?


How Often to Baste a Turkey

You should baste the turkey every 40 minutes during the cook.

Turkey Basting – Why Do We Do It?

Basting the turkey during cooking has many benefits.

It Keeps the Meat Moist

Introducing loss of moisture back into the meat proteins will ensure a juicy turkey!

It Helps to Form a Crisp Turkey Skin

Basting rendered fat from the turkey juices will caramelize the skin. This helps form crisp golden skin, the quintessential image of roasted turkey.

It Slows Down The Cooking Process

The legs and thighs take longer to cook than the breasts. Adding the basting liquid over the breasts will protect and slow down the cooking time, so your turkey isn’t done too early. This ensures that the breast stays moist while you wait.

Turkey Baste Recipe

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup of parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon zest 
  • sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • Blend all the ingredients in a food processor: the butter, garlic cloves, herbs, salt, pepper, and citrus. Blend them together until combined.

How to Baste a Turkey

Follow this simple guide and tips to ensure you are getting the maximum effect when basting.

  • Set a basting timer every 40 minutes from when you start cooking the turkey.
  • Make the turkey baste; see my favorite recipe for above
  • Clean and prepare your turkey baster and brush.
  • At the basting intervals, spoon or suck up the juices in the oven tray that your turkey is in.
  • Carefully baste the turkey from the top of the breasts with the hot pan juices.
  • Ensure that every part of the turkey is covered.
  • 10 minutes before your last baste, take a saucepan and add the following;
    200g Unsalted butter
    Chopped fresh herbs
    1 tsp brown sugar
    Heat this mixture until the butter and sugar have melted. Finish by basting the turkey with the herb butter mixture.
That is my basting liqiuid

Do You Baste a Stuffed or Unstuffed Turkey?

You can baste if your turkey has stuffing or not. Just bear in mind the kosher salt levels you use in your recipe.


Which Parts of a Turkey Do You Baste?

Baste the whole turkey on top of the breast and let the natural juices fall so they coat every part. Invest in a basting brush or turkey baster; this makes it easier and less likely to burn yourself.

Tip: Make sure you use an oven tray so you don’t lose any juices through the grill grates!

Are There Basting Alternatives?

Basting is not imperative to get a perfectly moist turkey. There are some other techniques if you don’t have the time.

Wrap the Turkey Breasts in Tin Foil

Want to keep the breast meat moist while waiting for it to finish cooking? Putting a layer of foil on top of the turkey will help lock in moisture and protect the meat from going dry or burning.

Use Brown Sugar in Your Turkey Spice Rub

Another alternative to basting. Having brown sugar in your turkey rub will help form crisp skin through the Maillard reaction and caramelization.

Wet Brining Before Cooking

A brine is a salt concentration that helps the proteins retain moisture.

1 cup of water (230ml) to a tablespoon (14 grams) of salt.

Make enough to submerge the turkey and brine while refrigerating for up to 12 hours.The salt will permeate the proteins and help retain the moisture while cooking.

How Long Does a Turkey Take to Cook?

This depends on the size of the turkey and the temperature at which you cook it.

I always recommend that you cook your turkey at 270°F – 275°F for smoked turkey. At 275°F it takes around 25 minutes per pound to cook. So make sure you find out how much your turkeys weights. If your using an oven and want to get crispy skin, you want to roast your turkey at 350°F.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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