Cooking a turkey just right can make or break your turkey day gathering. As you create your Thanksgiving Day invitations make sure you thoughtfully choose a start time. It’s important to allow yourself enough time to cook the turkey and heat up all your other dishes. Check out this turkey cooking guide for help determining what size you turkey should buy this year, and approximately how long to roast your stuffed and unstuffed turkey. Always use a meat thermometer to gauge doneness.
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Turkey Cooking Guide
A rule of thumb for choosing a turkey is add 1.5 lbs per person, or two if you want to have plenty of leftovers. Make sure to buy your turkey early so you aren’t stuck with a turkey far too large or too small, and so you have plenty of time to thaw it properly.
- For a stuffed turkey, the roasting time may vary up to 30 minutes, depending upon the bird and the oven. Use the meat thermometer to check the temperature of the dressing. The center of the dressing inside the bird must reach a temperature of 165 degrees F. for food safety.
- For an unstuffed turkey, place the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, taking care that it does not touch any bone. Roast the turkey until the meat thermometer reaches 180 degrees F.
- Roasting times listed below are for a preheated 325 degrees F. oven.
Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight: Hours
6 to 8 pounds: 3 to 3-1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds: 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds: 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds: 5-1/2 to 6 hours
20 to 24 pounds: 6 to 6-1/2 hours
Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight: Hours
6 to 8 pounds: 2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds: 3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds: 4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds: 5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds: 5-1/2 to 6 hours
Be sure to also refer to your turkey’s packaging for specific or special instructions. We hope this turkey cooking guide was helpful, happy Thanksgiving! Find even more Thanksgiving inspiration!