How long to cook a turkey
Follow this chart for turkey cooking times based on the size of your bird. All cook times are based on placing a whole turkey without stuffing on a rack in a roasting pan and in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In this article, we read about How long to cook a stuffed turkey?
- Turkey is made at an internal temperature of 165 degrees F
- Let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
- It is recommended to use an oven thermometer and a meat thermometer to obtain accurate temperature readings.
How much turkey to buy
The general rule of thumb is 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person, depending on how much you like your leftovers! If you are not making turkey soup or sandwiches, all you will need is 1 pound per person. If you expect the leftovers almost as long as the main event, definitely go for 1 1/2 pounds per person. Check out our Turkey Buying Guide for more tips.
How to defrost turkey
Note that a whole turkey can take several days to thaw and the cooking times above are for a fully thawed bird. Generally, after placing your turkey in the refrigerator you need 24 hours of defrosting time for every 5 pounds of turkey, but if it’s Thanksgiving morning and your turkey is still frozen, don’t worry, you have options! Our Turkey Thawing Guide walks you through three different methods to safely thaw turkey.
How long to cook a stuffed turkey
A stuffed turkey takes longer to cook than a turkey without stuffing. Roast a stuffed turkey for 15 minutes per pound at 350 degrees F. It is important to check the temperature of the stuffing; It should be 165 degrees F (75 degrees C) when you insert the thermometer into the center of the filling.
How to cook a turkey in five easy steps
Remove the package of giblets from the bird cavity and save for sauce or stuffing. Then use paper towels to dry the bird inside and out.
2. Truss and brush
Tie the drumsticks together with string and brush the skin with melted butter or oil. See how to tie a turkey.
Place the turkey on a wire rack on a roasting pan and in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and follow the cooking times above based on the weight of your bird.
4. Tend and baste
Broil until the skin is light golden brown, then cover the brisket loosely with an aluminum tent to prevent further browning. During the last 45 minutes of broiling, remove the foil carp to brown the skin. No need to spread, but helps promote even browning.
5. Rest, then carve.
When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and makes cutting easier. See how to cut a turkey.
Get more tips and advice from the experts in our How to Cook a Turkey guide.
How to know when the turkey is done
The only true test of doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin. The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). To get an accurate reading, make sure your thermometer is not touching the bone. See our guide that shows you how to check a turkey’s temperature the right way.
To prevent your turkey from drying out, consider drag cooking while the turkey is resting: The internal temperature of the turkey will continue to rise 5-10 degrees once it is out of the oven. You can take the turkey out of the oven when the thigh meat reaches 155 degrees F (68 degrees C) and let the remaining cook do the rest. While the turkey is resting, check the temperature again after 10 minutes to make sure the turkey has reached 165 degrees F.
Making gravy while the turkey rests
Use the 20 to 30 minutes while your turkey rests to make a delicious sauce. Check out our step-by-step guide to see how to make turkey sauce from the fat.
How to carve turkey
For some of us, cutting the turkey is the most intimidating part. If you’ve been patient and let the turkey rest before carving, you’re already halfway there! Letting the turkey rest allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring that the turkey is not dry, but it also avoids a big juicy mess on the cutting board, making it harder to cut.
Watch our step-by-step video and guide on how to cut turkey for everything you need to know to put turkey on the table.
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