How to Transport a Fully Cooked Turkey, and Still Keep it Warm

With our Thanksgiving meal kits, we’ve made it easy for you to cook the turkey, but if you’re having a Thanksgiving dinner away from home, you might be wondering how to properly handle the bird on the road.

Don’t Go Cold Turkey on Thanksgiving

This is a toughy—how do you transport a fully cooked turkey across town, maybe across multiple towns, and still keep it warm and intact? We have a few savvy ideas that you can try.

But, please keep in mind that it is not recommended to keep food at room temperature for longer than two hours, (USDA). Food that is kept out longer than two hours is not suitable for consumption.

The Cooler Method

Since you’re trying to keep your turkey warm, transporting a turkey in a cooler might seem like a paradox, but it’s actually a pretty great way to ensure that your turkey stays fresh during the journey to the dinner table.

Coolers are excellent insulators. To avoid making a mess and losing tasty turkey juices, you’ll want to keep the turkey in the roasting pan that you cooked it in, so make sure that the cooler is large enough to fit it. Around the roasting pan, fill the cooler with crumpled newspaper. Additionally, line your cooler with a couple towels, for extra insulation.

Foil Your Plans

This one is a classic: Wrap your bird in foil. It’s an oldie, but a goodie, and there are a few more details to the hack that are easy to forget. So, this is your reminder!

When you wrap the turkey in foil, be sure to do it loosely. You know, loosey-goosey; or, loosey turkey.

When the bird is wrapped, place it in a brown paper bag. Use the pan you roasted the turkey in for convenient carrying.

Another option if you’re choosing to wrap your turkey in foil is to cover the wrapped up turkey with towels that have been soaked in hot water. Just be very careful not to burn yourself.

The Crockpot Solution

Once the turkey is completely roasted, let it cool for thirty minutes to an hour. You can use this time to be productive and prep other sides or dishes that you might also be bringing—or, you can use this time to catch up on your favorite binge-worthy show, whichever.

After the turkey is cooled off a bit, begin to carve it. Carve it as you would to serve it. Warm up your crockpot ahead of time and insert the carved portions of the turkey. Don’t forget about the turkey stock and pan juices! Be sure to pour the juices from the pan onto the carved bits of the turkey and it will keep the meat from becoming dry during the journey.

Hit the Road, Turkey

Are there any Thanksgiving turkey tricks that you and your family use to keep the meal warm during travel? Have you tried any of these suggestions and want to provide feedback? Where are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year? Share your comments and questions. We’ll gobble them up!