Turkey Cooking Times

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. 

Note:

  • 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 WeightUnstuffed Roasting TimeStuffed Roasting Time
10 to 18 pounds3 to 3-1/2 hours3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds3-1/2 to 4 hours4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds4 to 4-1/2 hours5 to 5-1/2 hours
24 to 29 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 hours5-1/2 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.

Using a square cake pan for round cake pan recipe

If you have a recipe for a round cake and want to bake it in a square tin, use a square tin which is 2.5 cm (1 in) smaller than the round tin size.

For example, the recipe for a 23 cm (9 in) round cake could also be used to make a 20 cm (8 in) square cake. Halving the quantities given for the 23 cm (9 in) round recipe will make a 12.5 cm (5 in) square cake or doubling the quantities will be sufficient for a 28 cm (11 in) square cake

Cooking Tip – Break Eggs Into a Separate Bowl First

Egg Cracked Into Checking Bowl before Use
Egg Cracked Into Checking Bowl before Use

To prevent mishaps and damage to more than the egg you’re currently working with, it is strongly advised break each egg one at a time into a separate bowl or a breaking bowl, if you will. This allows you to work with each egg and ensure it’s of the quality you want before combining it with other eggs or other ingredients and regretting an unpleasant surprise.

Things like a piece of eggshell falling in can be more easily retrieved from a single egg than several eggs. Worse yet, if for some reason you should come across the bad egg, you can simply dispose of the egg wash the dish and move on the next egg without having lost anything but the egg that was bad. This minimizes risk before transferring the egg it to your mixing bowl.

This using a separate bowl, also, applies to separating eggs; always do them one at a time to prevent one broken yolk from spoiling a bowl full of whites.

Related References