So, what is the cooking time for a turkey? This is a common holiday cooking question.
General Rule For Cooking A Turkey
As a guide, cook your thawed turkey 20 minutes per pound, but the actual cooking time will differ depending on whether your turkey is stuffed and the actual oven cooking temperature.
- For food safety reasons: It is strongly recommended that stuffing on the side and cook the turkey unstuffed.
- Plus, you can actually cook more stuffing if you have a large enough dish and sufficient ingredients, than the inside of a turkey would have the capacity to hold.
How long to cook a turkey
- The times on the chart below are based on the turkey being placed a preheated ( 350o F / 175o C) oven with the roasting pan on the center rack.
- Use an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is maintaining the proper temperature, once preheated.
- When roasting a turkey, always cook your turkey to a safe temperature (165o F / 74o C), use a meat thermometer, and check the thermometer often.
Turkey cooking times reference chart
|Turkey Weight||Unstuffed Roasting Time||Stuffed Roasting Time|
|10 to 18 pounds||3 to 3-1/2 hours||3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours|
|18 to 22 pounds||3-1/2 to 4 hours||4-1/2 to 5 hours|
|22 to 24 pounds||4 to 4-1/2 hours||5 to 5-1/2 hours|
|24 to 29 pounds||4-1/2 to 5 hours||5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours|
Turkey Roasting Tips
- Start with a completely thawed turkey; for food safety reasons, plan ahead and use the refrigerator to thaw the turkey.
- Always Preheat your oven
- Basting is optional if you want a browner and more even browning of the skin.
- Cook the turkey uncovered until the skin is lightly golden and then cover loosely with a foil tent.
- remove the foil tent for the last 45 minutes of baking to finish browning the skin.
- The only safe test for turkey doneness is the temperature of the meat, and the turkey is cooked when the thigh meat has reached an internal temperature of (165o F / 74o C). To get an accurate internal reading, be sure that your meat thermometer is not touching the bone.
- If you stuffed the turkey, the stuffing must reach the temperature of (165o F / 74o C), which can result in a drier and slightly overcooked turkey
- When the turkey is cooked, remove the turkey from the oven and allow the turkey to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving. Resting the turkey allows the juices to redistribute throughout the turkey and makes for easier carving.