When the oven temperature is too high, a roast turkey or chicken can turn into a smoke-producing beast, leading to a hazy kitchen and a trashed oven. That’s because, as the watery juices that leak from the bird hit the hot fat in the pan, they instantly expand into steam, creating tiny explosions that splatter fat onto the hot oven walls. Then, as the oil droplets break down, the troublesome smoke begins.
So what’s the magic oven temperature? Four hundred degrees: It’s hot enough to produce a gorgeous, golden-brown bird (as well as nicely browned pan juices) yet still cool enough to significantly reduce vigorous bubbling and splattering, thereby preventing a smoke-filled kitchen.
Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter
The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.