How to cook your holiday turkey in the dishwasher

Charlotte H. Pownell, consumer relations director at an appliance company, shows off a whole salmon and vegetables, seasoned and cooked in a triple-thickness of foil in a dishwasher in 1970.
(Los Angeles Times)

If you can’t seem to keep your Thanksgiving turkey moist in the oven, you may want to try your dishwasher. Yes, people have been using the kitchen washing machine to cook proteins and fish since the 1970s, but famed chef David Burke insists you can also use it to cook the star of your Thanksgiving meal.

But before you start shoving your entire turkey in the dishwasher, Burke’s recipe calls for two boneless turkey breasts, not the entire bird. The meat and herbs are packed tightly in plastic wrap then sealed in Tupperware containers before hitting the top shelf of the dishwasher for three cycles or about 3 hours and 25 minutes.

It’s not exactly the best way to get that golden skin on top for that initial wow factor when the bird is brought to the table, but it could work in a pinch. And the cooking method should make for some spirited dinner party conversation.

Burke first used his dishwasher to cook a 10-pound salmon in 1982 after discovering he did not have a pot large enough to cook it in. The Los Angeles Times ran a recipe on dishwasher poached salmon in 1986. The recipe says to wrap the salmon in foil then run it through a full cycle without using any soap.


If you’re thinking about running your dishwasher without actually washing anything is too much of a waste of water and energy, you may want to try Italian author Lisa Casali’s method for dishwasher cooking. In her book “Cucinare in lavastoviglie,” she suggests recipes for meals cooked in airtight sealed jars during regular dish cycles, with detergent.

Here’s Burke’s recipe from the Daily Meal. *Note: This recipe has not been tested by the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen.


2 boneless turkey breasts, 2 3/4 pounds each

4 tablespoons chopped parsley

3 tablespoons chopped sage

3 tablespoons chopped thyme

4 tablespoons chopped garlic


4 tablespoons chopped shallots

1 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons black pepper



Combine herbs, garlic, shallots, salt, and pepper with olive oil. Rub into turkey breast and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in Tupperware and sit on top shelf of dishwasher.

Run dishwasher for 3 full cycles for a total time of about 3 hours and 25 minutes. Let sit for 25 minutes, then place under broiler to crisp skin for finish.

Would you try cooking your turkey in the dishwasher? Let us know in the comments below.


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