Turkey Roasting Times

Roasting Your Turkey

As Thanksgiving is approaching fast I am writing tonight to share with you what I believe are the proper times for roasting a perfect turkey. I hope you will find these helpful with your Holiday dinner.

Set your oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees.

Place your turkey or turkey breast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.

For the safest turkey, stuffing a turkey is not recommended. For more even cooking, it is recommended you cook your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.

If you choose to stuff your turkey, the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time; however, keep wet and dry ingredients separate. Chill all of the wet ingredients (butter/margarine, cooked celery and onions, broth, etc.). Mix wet and dry ingredients just before filling the turkey cavities. Fill the cavities loosely. Cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.

A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

If your turkey has a “pop-up” temperature indicator,I suggest, that you also check the internal temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer. The minimum internal temperature should reach 165 degrees for safety.

For a juicy, tender turkey, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. The turkey will carve much more easily.

Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities. If you have not used a stuffing bag or cheese cloth to place the stuffing in prior to roasting the turkey.

Timetables for Turkey Roasting
(325 degree oven temperature)

Use the timetables below to determine how long to cook your turkey. These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing.

Unstuffed
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours

Stuffed
4 to 6 pounds (breast) Not usually applicable
6 to 8 pounds (breast) 2½ to 3½ hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds 3½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4¾ to 5¼ hours

It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet packages during the cooking time. Remove carefully with tongs or a fork.

Additional Cooking Tips

Tuck wing tips under the shoulders of the bird for more even cooking.

Add ½ cup of water to the bottom of the pan.

If your roasting pan does not have a lid, you may place a tent of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the turkey for the first 1 to 1 ½ hours. This allows for maximum heat circulation, keeps the turkey moist, and reduces oven splatter. To prevent overbrowning, foil may also be placed over the turkey after it reaches the desired color.

If using an oven-proof food thermometer, place it in the turkey at the start of the cooking cycle. It will allow you to check the internal temperature of the turkey while it is cooking. For turkey breasts, place thermometer in the thickest part. For whole turkeys, place in the thickest part of the inner thigh. Once the thigh has reached 165 degrees, check the wing and the thickest part of the breast to ensure the turkey has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees throughout the product.

If using an oven cooking bag, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the package.

REMEMBER! Always wash hands, utensils, the sink, and anything else that comes in contact with raw turkey and its juices with soap and water.