How Long to Cook a Turkey

How long should you cook a turkey? This is a hot question from amateurs and advanced cookers who want to prepare this meal on holiday, for example, Thanksgiving Day.  But not only this family evening is excellent for fried turkey – any other occasion will be perfect for baking or frying the whole turkey at home.

So you’re here because all your questions about turkey cooking are covered! Let’s start our journey and deep into exciting cooking tips and tricks, and still find out how long to cook a turkey.


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How Much Turkey to Buy for the Family

It depends on the number of people present at the table, you need to choose the turkey’s weight. An essential rule of thumb will help you in this case: one to two pounds of turkey per person. This should be enough to feed all the people at your holiday table. What’s more, you’ll have leftovers to prepare soup or pizza the next day!

Related: How to Buy Turkey

How to Thaw Turkey – 2 Different Ways

Buying a frozen turkey in the store, you understand that it need to be thawed. It may take at least several hours of your time. The time of the procedure depends on the bird’s size and weight. If the bird is large, you will need to spend at least a day to defrost it.

Defrost a turkey in its wrapper (a large container or a plastic bag) in the refrigerator. Keep the turkey’s surface away from moisture so it doesn’t develop ice crystals, which can cause freezer burns. The safest place to store thawed poultry is in a paper bag. Always make sure to use freezer-safe bags before storing them in your freezer again. If you plan on cooking more than one bird at a time, place the wrapped unfrozen turkey in the cool place.

Another way is to defrost a turkey at room temperature. Take out the frosted turkey and set it on a roasting pan or other flat, sturdy ovenproof dish. The turkey will thaw reasonably quickly at room temperature under a dish towel, leaving behind fewer drippings than if it softened entirely at room temperature.

How Long to Cook a Stuffed Turkey

If you prefer roast turkey with different fillings, hope you understand that the time to prepare such dish will be increased than for the meal without filling. Cooking temperature plays an important role in the process. For your best results, please try to make turkey for nearly twenty mins for each pound at 340-350 F

How Long to Cook Turkey Breast

I know that many of you prefer to cook a turkey breast rather than roast the whole bird. Turkey breast usually cooks faster than a whole bird. The total time could be less. Depending on the thickness, you should roast turkey breast for 10-15 mins per pound at 325 F. If you increase the oven temperature, cooking time also should be reduced. As long as the turkey is not dripping pink juices, it will be fine.

Related: How To Air Fry A Boneless Turkey Breast

How to Cook a Turkey in the Oven – 5 Easy Steps

  • Prep – unpack and defrost the turkey, stuff it if necessary, use gravy when needed. Then, dry the bird’s skin with towels.
  • Tie up and brush – fix turkey drumsticks, then brush outside surface with oil or melted butter.
  • Roast – firstly, you need to preheat the oven up to 325-350 F. Then, transfer brushed turkey to the roast pan that fits your oven and cook according to the cooking time I’m talking about above.
  • Cover – cook the dish until the skin becomes lightly golden. Then, cover the breast to prevent burning. You can use foil for that. Forty minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil in order to make the skin completely browned.
  • Rest & Cut – set aside cooked dish give and give a rest for at least 30-40 mins before cutting and serving. It allows the turkey to become wholly done. Then carve, serve and enjoy.

How to Understand When Turkey Is Done

Neither the meat or skin color, or meat juices will tell you if the meal is ready or not. The only reliable way to know if a bird is prepared is through the meat’s internal temperature. As long as the breast temp is 170 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re flying. If higher, it’s overcooked. Therefore, it is essential to check the meat’s internal temperature and stuffing (if present) at least once every half hour.

Best Turkey Recipes You May Like

I find some turkey recipes for you:

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Minutes Per Pound do you Cook the Turkey?

This is all going to depend on the size and weight of the bird, among other factors. Generally, about 15 mins for every pound is a good rule of thumb but check for any unique cooking methods in the recipe first.

How Much Time Does it Need Cook 10-12 Pound Turkey?

Cooking a turkey of this weight can take up to 3 ½ – 4 hours. This time is based on 15-18 mins per pound at 325 F. If you are going to make stuffed turkey, please increase the time by about 2-3 mins per pound.

Do you cover a turkey to roast it?

No. Roasting it uncovered allows the drippings to escape and the meat to brown. To prevent any large flare-ups, use a cooking rack placed on top of a roasting pan or, in some cases, a disposable foil pan.

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