How to Cook Turkey Necks in The Oven

How to Cook Turkey Necks in The Oven

Turkey necks are often overlooked, but they possess a hidden gem of rich, deep flavor when appropriately prepared, particularly by roasting them in the oven. If this is the first time you have considered this cut, let me show you how to unlock their full potential, making them the star of many mouth-watering meals. In this article, I will guide you through cooking turkey necks in the oven, extracting maximum flavor while achieving a tender texture.

Embarking on a culinary adventure by exploring less commonly used cuts like turkey necks can be a thrilling experience. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the depth of flavor and versatility they bring to your table. So, whether you’re an experienced home cook looking for something new or a beginner eager to expand your cooking repertoire, read more in this article as we delve into the beautiful world of oven-roasted turkey necks.

Why Choose Turkey Necks?

Why turkey necks? Let’s delve into the unique benefits and flavors this cut of meat offers. Firstly, turkey necks are full of flavor. They have a higher bone-to-meat ratio, which means they are perfect for dishes that require slow cooking, where the marrow in the bones has time to break down and infuse the meat with additional richness. 

How to Cook Turkey Necks in The Oven
How to Cook Turkey Necks in The Oven

Secondly, turkey necks are often less expensive than other cuts of meat. They can be an excellent choice for those on a budget or anyone looking to make a cost-effective meal that doesn’t compromise taste. Finally, they’re versatile. Turkey necks can be used in various dishes, from soups and stews to roasts, providing a hearty and satisfying addition to your meals.

Nutritional Value of Turkey Necks

While they might not be your first choice, turkey necks are surprisingly nutritious; let’s break down their nutritional content. Turkey’s necks are a good source of protein, essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. They’re also rich in minerals such as selenium, which are critical in maintaining immune function and metabolism. 

Besides, turkey necks are highly collagenous, thanks to their connective tissue. When simmered, this collagen breaks into gelatin, contributing to a rich, flavorful sauce and beneficial for skin, hair, and joint health. However, like other parts of the turkey, the necks are high in cholesterol, so they should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Where to Buy Turkey Necks

Sourcing turkey necks can be a bit trickier than other cuts of meat, but we’ve got some tips to help you find them. Start with your local butcher. They often have a more comprehensive range of cuts available than your standard supermarket, and they can usually source specific items for you if they still need to get them on hand.

Alternatively, you can often find turkey necks at farmers’ markets. This not only allows you to support local farmers, but you’ll also often find that the quality of the produce is superior. If all else fails, many online meat suppliers stock turkey necks and deliver them to your door.

Ingredients Required for Oven-Roasted Turkey Necks

Cooking delectable oven-roasted turkey necks starts with gathering the right ingredients. You’ll need the turkey necks themselves, of course, but beyond that, a few simple additions can help bring out their natural flavor and create a truly memorable dish. 

Ingredients Required for Oven-Roasted Turkey Necks
Ingredients Required for Oven-Roasted Turkey Necks

For a basic recipe, you will need:

– 2-3 pounds of turkey necks

– Olive oil

– Salt and pepper

However, if you want to elevate your dish, consider adding some aromatic herbs and spices. Garlic, onion, rosemary, and thyme pair wonderfully with turkey. Consider rubbing these onto the necks before roasting to infuse the meat with these flavors. A splash of white wine can add acidity and depth to your dish, and a squeeze of lemon juice can help cut through the meat’s richness. 

Consider baking your turkey necks with melted butter and your favorite herbs for a decadent dish. This can add an extra layer of flavor and help keep the meat moist during roasting. 

Finally, a little chicken or vegetable broth can be used to deglaze the roasting pan after the turkey necks are cooked, creating a flavorful sauce that can be drizzled over the meat when serving. You’ll be prepared to cook a batch of delicious, oven-roasted turkey necks with these ingredients.

How to Prepare Turkey Necks for Cooking

Preparing turkey necks for cooking is a crucial step that involves some cleaning and prepping; let’s walk through this process. Start by rinsing the turkey necks under cool running water. This helps remove residual blood or bone fragments from the butchering process.

How to Prepare Turkey Necks for Cooking
How to Prepare Turkey Necks for Cooking

Next, pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. This is an important step, as moisture on the surface of the meat can prevent it from browning correctly in the oven. Once your turkey necks are clean and dry, you can season them. A generous pinch of salt and pepper can go a long way. If you’re using any additional herbs and spices, now is the time to add them. 

Step-by-step Cooking Method

With your turkey necks prepared and your oven preheated, it’s time to delve into roasting. While straightforward, this method requires some attention to detail to ensure that the turkey necks are cooked to perfection.

  1. Arrange the turkey necks: Begin by arranging your turkey necks in a single layer in a roasting pan. This ensures they cook evenly and have plenty of room to brown on all sides.
  2. Season the turkey necks: Drizzle the turkey necks with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. If you’re using additional herbs and spices, this is the time to add them. Toss everything together to ensure the turkey necks are well-coated.
  3. Roast the turkey necks: Place your roasting pan in the oven. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of your turkey necks, but generally, you’ll want to roast them for about 90 minutes to two hours at 375°F (190°C). The goal is to achieve a golden brown color on the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy.
  4. Baste the turkey necks: Remember to baste your turkey necks every 30 minutes with the pan juices. This helps keep them moist and enhances their flavor. If the pan juices run out, you can add a little chicken or vegetable broth to the pan.
  5. Check the turkey necks: Ensure your turkey necks are cooked before serving. The meat should be tender, and the internal temperature should reach at least 165°F (74°C) when measured with a meat thermometer. This ensures that the turkey necks are safe to eat.
  6. Rest and serve: Remove the turkey necks from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and juicy bite.

By following these steps, you can create a delicious and unique dish showcasing turkey necks’ depth and richness. Whether serving this as a main course or using it to add flavor to another word, oven-roasted turkey necks are sure to impress.

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Serving Suggestions

Now that you’ve successfully cooked your turkey necks let’s explore some serving ideas to complete your meal. Turkey necks can be served in a variety of ways. Their rich flavor makes them a great addition to stews and soups, where they can be simmered until the meat falls off the bone.

Serving Suggestions
Serving Suggestions

Alternatively, roasted turkey necks can be served as a main course, accompanied by your favorite sides. Think mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, or a fresh salad. For a comforting, homestyle meal, consider serving your turkey necks with cornbread or biscuits to soak up the flavorful juices.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Turkey Necks

Cooking turkey necks to perfection might require a few tries; here are some tips and tricks to get it right first. Firstly, don’t rush the cooking process. Turkey necks benefit from slow, gentle cooking, which allows the tough connective tissues to break down and the flavors to develop fully.

Secondly, make sure to skimp on the seasoning. Turkey necks have a strong flavor that can stand up to bold seasonings. Feel free to experiment with different herbs, spices, and marinades to find a combination that suits your taste.

Finally, remember to save the pan juices. These are flavorful and can make a delicious gravy or sauce to accompany your turkey necks. Simply deglaze the pan with broth or wine, then simmer until reduced to your desired thickness.


Cooking turkey necks in the oven might seem daunting initially, but with these steps, you’re on your way to creating a delicious, unique dish. Remember, the key to a great turkey neck dish lies in the slow roasting process and the balance of flavors in your seasoning. 

So the next time you’re at the butcher’s shop or the farmer’s market, why not pick up some turkey necks and try this recipe? You may discover a new favorite dish with a bit of patience and creativity.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q: What temperature should I roast turkey necks at?

A: Turkey necks should be cooked moderately to ensure they become tender without burning. A temperature of 375°F (190°C) is recommended.

2. Q: How long does it take to roast turkey necks?

A: This will depend on the size of the necks, but generally, you should roast them for about 90 minutes to two hours. They should be golden brown on the outside and reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure they are cooked safely.

3. Q: How can I tell if turkey necks are cooked through?

A: The best way to check is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach at least 165°F (74°C). The meat should also be tender and easily pulled apart with a fork.

4. Q: What can I serve with oven-roasted turkey necks?

A: Oven-roasted turkey necks can be served with a variety of sides. Mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a fresh green salad would all be excellent choices. You could also help them with gravy made from pan juices.

5. Q: Can I use turkey necks to make gravy?

A: Absolutely! The pan juices left behind after roasting turkey necks can make a flavorful gravy. Simply deglaze the pan with a little chicken or vegetable broth, scraping up any browned bits, and then simmer until reduced to your desired thickness.

6. Q: Can I prepare turkey necks in advance?

A: You can season and arrange the turkey necks in the roasting pan a day in advance. Just cover and refrigerate them until you’re ready to roast. This can help save time on the cooking day and allows the flavors to meld together for a more flavorful result.

7. Q: Can leftover turkey necks be reheated?

A: Leftover turkey necks can be reheated in the oven or microwave. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking and consume them within 3-4 days.

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