An Easy Fix for Torn Turkey Skin

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2017

Use this test kitchen technique for darning turkey skin that emerges from the packaging torn.

As the showpiece of the holiday meal, a roast turkey should look as good as it tastes. We have many tricks for ensuring moist and tender meat and a crisp, golden-brown skin. But every so often, a turkey emerges from the packaging with torn skin. Besides marring the bird’s appearance, the patch of exposed meat tends to overcook without the protection the skin provides.

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. Before placing the bird in the oven, arrange the skin so that the torn edges are lined up, and then use toothpicks to pin the skin to the flesh underneath. Toothpicks should be spaced ¾ to 1 inch apart. Roast per the recipe instructions, and when the bird comes out of the oven, remove the toothpicks. As heat sets the proteins, it helps glue the torn skin to the meat, and only the most discerning eyes will be able to pick out the patch.


A simple wooden toothpick is all you need to mend this tear.