How Long Does Turkey Take to Cook: Your Ultimate Guide for Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

A turkey takes approximately __ hours to cook. Whether you’re roasting, smoking, or deep frying, knowing the right cooking time is essential.

Food Network suggests calculating the cooking time based on the weight of the turkey, while Epicurious and Allrecipes provide comprehensive guides for cooking the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. It is also important to consider thawing the turkey and properly trussing it before cooking.

Once cooked, learning how to easily carve the turkey will ensure a beautiful presentation on your dining table. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned cook, having a chart or guide to reference will make the cooking process a breeze. So, let’s dive into the world of turkey cooking times and temperatures to master this Thanksgiving staple.

Turkey Cooking Times For A Perfect Thanksgiving

When it comes to cooking a turkey, proper cooking times are essential to ensure a delicious and safe meal. Understanding the weight of your turkey is key in determining the cooking time. As a general rule, a whole turkey should cook for about 15 minutes per pound at a temperature of 325°F (165°C). So, for example, a 12-pound turkey would take approximately 3 hours to cook.

However, it is important to note that these times are just estimates. To be completely sure that your turkey is fully cooked, it’s always a good idea to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the turkey should reach 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh. This ensures that the turkey is cooked through and safe to eat.

Additionally, if you plan to stuff the turkey, you need to factor in additional cooking time. Generally, it is recommended to add about 30 minutes to the total cooking time for a stuffed turkey.

Overall, understanding the weight of your turkey and using a meat thermometer will help you achieve a perfectly cooked turkey for your Thanksgiving feast.

How Long Does Turkey Take to Cook: Your Ultimate Guide for Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey


How To Calculate Cooking Time For A Turkey

Calculating the cooking time for a turkey can be easy with our helpful guide. Learn how long it takes to cook a turkey based on its weight, ensuring your Thanksgiving meal turns out perfectly juicy and delicious.

Determining the weight of your turkey
Before calculating the cooking time for your turkey, you need to determine its weight. Most turkey recipes provide guidelines based on the weight of the bird. Simply weigh the turkey using a kitchen scale, making sure to exclude any packaging or stuffing inside.
Understanding the cooking time per pound
The general rule for cooking a turkey is to allow approximately 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time per pound. This estimated cooking time can vary depending on factors such as the oven temperature, the turkey’s placement in the oven, and whether the turkey is stuffed or unstuffed.
Using a cooking time chart for reference
To get a more accurate cooking time, you can refer to a cooking time chart specifically designed for turkeys. These charts provide recommended cooking times based on the weight of the turkey. Simply find the weight of your turkey and follow the recommended cooking time.

The Best Cooking Methods For Turkey

Roasting: The Classic Turkey Cooking Method

  • Oven temperature and roasting time
  • Tips for moist and flavorful roasted turkey

Smoking: Adding A Smoky Flavor To Your Turkey

  • Smoking time and temperature guidelines
  • Tips for achieving a smoky and juicy turkey

Deep Frying: A Crispy And Delicious Turkey

  • Deep frying time and temperature recommendations
  • Essential safety tips for deep frying your turkey

Factors That Impact Turkey Cooking Time

Factors that impact turkey cooking time can vary depending on the weight of the bird, whether it is stuffed or unstuffed, and the cooking method used. Using a turkey roasting time chart or following a recipe will help determine the appropriate cooking time per pound or kilogram.

It is important to ensure that the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature before serving.

Stuffing The Turkey: Does It Affect Cooking Time?

Stuffing a turkey can significantly impact cooking time and temperature. When the turkey is stuffed, the heat needs to penetrate through the stuffing as well, which increases the overall cooking time. It is important to note that stuffing a turkey also increases the risk of undercooking the meat, as the stuffing can create a barrier that slows down the cooking process. To ensure safe cooking practices when stuffing a turkey, it is recommended to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of both the turkey and the stuffing. This will help determine when the turkey is fully cooked and safe to consume.

Trussing A Turkey: Does It Affect Cooking Time?

Trussing a turkey, or tying its legs and wings together, can impact the cooking time. Trussing helps to promote even cooking by keeping the turkey’s shape intact and ensuring that the heat is distributed evenly. When trussing a turkey, it is important to consider the trussing technique used. Some techniques require more time and effort, which may impact the overall cooking time. However, the benefits of trussing, such as a juicier and more evenly cooked turkey, make it worth considering.

Turkey Thawing Methods And Their Effect On Cooking Time

Thawing a turkey properly is crucial for accurate cooking time. Different thawing methods can impact the time required to cook the turkey. For example, thawing a turkey in the refrigerator generally takes longer than using the cold water method. It is essential to follow the recommended thawing guidelines provided by reputable sources to ensure a fully thawed turkey. This will help prevent undercooking or overcooking the turkey and ensure a delicious and safely cooked turkey for your Thanksgiving feast.

Additional Tips For Cooking The Perfect Turkey

When it comes to cooking the perfect turkey, one of the most common questions is how long does it take to cook. The cooking time of a turkey depends on its weight. A general rule of thumb is to cook a turkey for about 13-15 minutes per pound at 350°F (175°C) in a regular oven. However, it’s always important to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure it’s fully cooked. The turkey should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh. Here are some additional tips for cooking the perfect turkey:

  • Check for doneness without overcooking: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
  • Rest the turkey: After cooking, let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more flavorful and juicier turkey.
  • Achieving a golden brown skin: To achieve a beautiful golden brown skin, baste the turkey with melted butter or oil every 30 minutes during the cooking process. You can also start the cooking process at a higher temperature (around 425°F/220°C) for the first 30 minutes and then reduce the heat.

By following these additional tips, you can ensure that your turkey is not only cooked to perfection but also has a delicious golden brown skin.

Frequently Asked Questions On How Long Does Turkey Take To Cook

Is It Better To Cook A Turkey At 325 Or 350?

For optimal cooking, it is recommended to cook a turkey at 325°F.

How Long To Cook A 20 Pound Turkey At 350?

A 20-pound turkey at 350 degrees F takes about 4 to 5 hours to cook.

How Long Does It Take To Do A 7 Pound Turkey?

A 7-pound turkey takes about 2. 5 to 3 hours to cook in the oven.

How Long Does It Take To Cook A 20 Pound Turkey?

A 20-pound turkey takes about 4 to 5 hours to cook in the oven.


Cooking a turkey can be an exciting and delicious experience. The amount of time it takes to cook a turkey depends on its weight and the cooking method used. Using a turkey roasting time chart or a cooking calculator can help you determine the optimal cooking time.

Remember to follow safe food handling practices and ensure the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. By following these guidelines, you can cook a perfect turkey that will impress your guests this Thanksgiving. Happy cooking!


Mehzabin, the culinary wordsmith at LifestyleWebPaper, excels in unraveling global flavors for your kitchen. Her specialty is taking you on a culinary adventure with every article. With a personal connection to her family's kitchen, Mehzabin's articles are a delightful blend of international cuisines made accessible for all. Her love for locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients adds an eco-conscious twist to her creations. Join her on a gastronomic journey as she simplifies the art of cooking, one captivating article at a time.
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