How to Cook a Turkey
Carve a Turkey
Thaw a Turkey
Turkey Cooking Instructions, Tips, Chart & Guidelines

Are you going with a stuffed or unstuffed turkey?

Because Roasting times can vary. With these turkey cooking time charts and guidelines will help you to determine how long you should roast that stuffed or unstuffed turkey.

Be sure to have a meat thermometer to check temperture of stuffing and turkey.

These times are base on you Preheating oven to 325 degrees F.

Roasting Times For Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
Cooking Time
6 to 8 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 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
Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
Cooking Time
6 to 8 pounds 2-1/2 to 3 hours
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours

Thanksgiving AKA “Turkey Day”

First tasks of the day:

- Prepare stuffing for the turkey and/or the dressing to cook in a baking dish. If you choose to stuff the turkey, stuff loosely, allowing about 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. As soon as the turkey is stuffed, place it in a preheated 325°F oven.

- Prepare the beverage garnishes (lime wedges, lemon twists and olives) cover and refrigerate.

- If the table arrangements are based on fresh fruit, assemble the centerpieces.

- Prepare the cleaned vegetables for cooking - peel and chop. Cover the ready-to-cook vegetables and put them in the refrigerator.

- Boil and mash potatoes; they can be reheated just before serving. Consider holding the warm mashed potatoes in a slow cooker. They will stay warm and creamy up to two hours.

Second tasks of the day:

- An hour before the turkey is done, begin cooking fresh vegetables and get other foods ready to go into the oven (stuffing, rolls, etc.)

- Open red wines so the wine can breathe.

- Put the butter on the table so it will soften.
- Prepare the relish tray. Cover and return to the refrigerator.

- Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey and dressing. A whole turkey should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F throughout the bird. Most home cooks enjoy the dark meat at a higher internal temperature of 175°F to 180°F. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The stuffing should reach 165°F, whether cooked inside the bird or in a separate baking dish.

While the cooked turkey is resting:

- Put a foil tent over the turkey and allow the turkey to rest for 20-25 minutes before carving begins.

- Bake casserole dishes of stuffing/dressing in the preheated oven.

- Warm other foods – including mashed potatoes, soups, casseroles and rolls.

- Remove cold desserts from the refrigerator to allow them to come to room temperature.

- Cook frozen vegetables.

- Ask a volunteer to fill the water glasses.

- Make the gravy and preheat the gravy bowl with hot water so the gravy will stay hot.

Place all the food on the table or buffet. Ask for volunteers to help with last minute preparation such as opening white wine and placing foods in warm serving bowls.

Be thankful you are surrounded by family and friends on this most American of holidays.

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