Turkey Cooking Time Chart

Turkey Cooking Time Chart – Combined Average Popular Brands

Updated Every Year…

How Long To Cook A Turkey?

Your mileage may vary, so to speak. There are some variables and your own turkey might cook a bit different. But the following information should get you fairly close for estimating the time you should plan for cooking a turkey.

How long it takes to cook a turkey depends on the oven temperature, whether the turkey is stuffed or not, how many pounds the turkey weighs, and the “doneness” temperature.

The following Turkey Cooking Time Chart is a guideline. Your results may vary, but this should help give you an idea! (More tips below!)

FIRST, A RECOMMENDATION, After looking at the time chart and tips, I would plan a little longer time than listed. Maybe half an hour longer… Why? Because it might be better to have the turkey done early (it can ‘rest’ while staying warm enough), rather than not being done while everyone is waiting for Thanksgiving Dinner!

(Jump to TIPS)

Cooking times are based on an oven temperature of 325 degrees-F. This is the preferred temperature for cooking a turkey according to most all brand recommendations.

I feel that this is the best turkey cooking time chart because I have combined and extrapolated the average cooking times from Butterball, Honeysuckle, Jenni-O, Norbest, Shady Brook, and Foster Farms.

I believe this will provide a more accurate average typical time that it may take to cook a turkey as cross referenced with pound weight.

TURKEY COOKING TIME CHART

DOWNLOAD: TURKEY COOKING TIME CHART

( The image above reflects the same information. )

TurkeyStuffed TurkeyUnstuffed
poundshrs:mins poundshrs:mins
62:36 62:15
72:45 72:34
83:11 82:43
93:23 92:50
103:35 102:54
113:42 113:00
123:48 123:06
133:57 133:17
144:05 143:27
154:10 153:34
164:15 163:40
174:20 173:46
184:25 183:51
194:32 193:59
204:44 204:07
214:51 214:15
225:00 224:24
235:10 234:38
245:20 244:52

Cooking Turkey Time | Minutes per Pound

Averaged from the popular brands of Turkey listed above, cooked at 325 degrees-F,

Cook an unstuffed turkey for about 15 minutes per pound.

Cook a stuffed turkey for about 17 minutes per pound.

A widely publicized general average is 20 minutes per pound.

TIPS:

The Best Way To Know Turkey Is Done

IMPORTANT: The only true way to determine if a turkey is safely cooked all the way through, is by measuring the internal temperature of the bird with a meat thermometer. For an accurate reading, the thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of a thigh not touching the bone, and also check the center of the breast.

“Turkey is done and safe to eat when internal dark meat temperature reads 180 degrees F.”

With that said, we generally take ours out at 165-F. Just saying…

I recommend the following, most well reviewed meat thermometer:

Long Probe Instant-Read Meat Thermometer
(view on amzn)

Cook Low-and-Slow

Cooking (roasting) the turkey low and slow (325-F) results in a more juicy tender bird than higher temperatures which may dry it out quicker.

Oven Temperatures Vary!

Be aware that there is variability in actual real world oven temperatures compared with what they’re actually set to. Some may be off by as much as 25-degrees. This will affect your turkey cooking time (either shorter or longer).

Verify With Oven Temperature Thermometer

Tip: Use an Oven Thermometer to verify the accuracy of your own oven. I recommend the following:

Cooper-Atkins Oven Thermometer
(view on amzn)

The turkey cooking time recommendations from each of the mentioned brands vary somewhat. That’s why combining them together as an average should provide you with a close approximation as to what you may expect from your own oven.

Turkey Tips

How Big a Turkey Should I Get?

Turkey cooking time certainly depends on how big the turkey is!

Here’s a general guideline to figure out how many pounds that turkey should be:

These recommendations presume you want leftovers and everyone is a ‘big eater’ (who isn’t on Thanksgiving, right?!)

Number of Adults | Turkey Pounds

4 | 8 lbs.
6 | 12 lbs.
8 | 16 lbs.
10 | 20 lbs.
12 | 24 lbs.

( just extrapolate for kids who will eat less)

How Soon Can I Carve The Turkey?

Let your turkey ‘rest’ for 20 minutes before carving.

How Long Does It Take To Thaw A Frozen Turkey?

In the refrigerator, 3 to 5 days (15 to 20 pounds)

In a cold water bath, 7 to 10 hours (15 to 20 pounds)

HOW TO SAFELY THAW A FROZEN TURKEY

How To Brine A Turkey

  • Rinse the turkey in cool water.
  • In a clean container large enough to hold the turkey, mix your favorite brine recipe solution and ingredients.
  • Submerge the turkey in the brine solution.  If there is not enough brine to cover make additional brine.  Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine.   Discard brine.  Do not use brine.  Pat skin and cavities dry.
  • Roast turkey according to directions and cooking time chart.

( Here’s a brine recipe that we’ve used )

Are there any other Turkey Tips that you would like to share?

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35 Comments

    1. Kulafarmer;
      16 pound turkey at 375 takes about 45 minutes
      20 pound turkey at 375 takes right at 1 hour
      As Ken suggest have a meat T ready to check the “doneness” of the bird.

      PS; never try to “stuff” a Turkey if deep frying…. Yes I know someone that tried, what a friggen mess…. HAHAHAHA

      PSS; try deel frying some Sweet Potato (or Yam) French Fry Cut Fries after the bird is done…. YUMMMMMMM.

      1. Heres a cool thing i saw done for dressing and stuff for a fried turkey
        Stovetop stuffing
        Make it
        Lay it on parchment
        Lay sliced cranberry sauce on it
        Roll it up
        Freeze it
        Cut into 2” thick slices
        Dip in a beer batter, double dip
        Fry it

    2. If I remember right, we always used the 3.5 minutes per pound at 375 degrees as a rule and it worked out great. It’s been several years since we fried one so just going from memory.

      Make sure that it’s completely thawed though or you won’t be able to cook it through without the middle being raw while the outside is burned!

    3. Kulafarmer,
      We usually deep fry so the Saturday after Thanksgiving our family gets together to reuse the turkey oil (filtered) by having a fry party. Everyone has to bring something to deep fry. French fried potatoes and sweet potatoes are always on the menu along with beer battered pickles and onion rings, chicken wings, wonton wrapped mozzarella sticks, beer battered fish, and a lot of other fun things. Sooooo good!

  1. Kulafarmer
    See you have a timetable sheet from Ken.

    If you deep fry, just make sure you do NOT over fill your fryer. It appears to be the largest mistake most cooks make, and turkey fryer set up in an area where there no other combustibles.

    1. Yup,
      Friend of mine in Co just about burned his whole house down when he stuck the turkey in an overfilled fryer

    2. Antique Collector;
      Deep Frying amount of oil is easy…
      Defrost the bird, clean/wash the bird and set it in the empty Deep Fryer pot.
      Add water till the bird is covered (amount of oil you would use),
      Remove the bird leaving the water (make sure you pat-dry the bird inside and out.
      Mark the side of the Pot with a Marker at the water line and dump the water, dry the pot and fill to the line with oil.
      Make sure to heat the oil before adding the bird for frying, I like the oil around 375, but these new POS Deep Fryers have a safety to only allow the Oil temp to around 325.
      Now I would never suggest modifying the safety thingy to raise the temps, but……
      Anyways, just add the bird after heating the oil and poof, there ya go, the correct amount of Oil.

      1. NRP
        That is a cool way to estimate the oil for cooking the bird & not burn everything down.
        Thanks for the information, bil has a deep fryer but his is styled differently than those you see advertised. Believe his is the Butter Ball cooker for turkey.

      2. NRP,
        I like 385f oil, 5-6 minutes per pound of bird. I inject at least a quart of marinade into the bird the day before and refrigerate over night. Make sure you inject marinade until it looks like a junkie, you need full coverage!. Oh, and s l o o o w l y lower it into the hot oil. Best to cook this in the middle of the driveway so you don’t burn nothing down!

  2. Ok back on subject with Kens Article….
    NEVER overcook a Turkey (or undercook one) A dried out bird is awful and I don’t care how much Gravy ya dump on top, it’s still dry.

    Don’t forget the;
    Mashed Taters
    Sage Stuffing
    Baked Candied Yams
    Green Bean Casserole
    Gravy
    Fresh Baked Rolls
    Cranberry Sauce (not that jelled stuff)
    Salad
    Fine Wine
    Pumpkin Pie w/ Whipped Cream, not that canned stuff
    Pecan Pie

    AND most of all, the Thanks and Blessings for all we have in life.

    OHHHHH and remember the Leftover Snack 2 hours later hehehehe

    1. Chuckling NRP don’t forget the “Tom’s last hurrah” sandwich. Good bread, turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, condiments of choice I prefer mayo myself.

      To Give THANKS is the point of Thanksgiving. We all have something to give thanks for on MSB.

    2. Adding a few other dishes to the list:
      – Bourbon brown sugar glazed ham (trying it in the crock pot to save oven space)
      – Cheesy potatoes (goes w/ the ham – plus mashed for the turkey)
      – Homemade cream corn
      – Brussels with bacon & onion
      – Baby peas with mushrooms
      – good vanilla ice cream for the pecan pie!

      – And that fine wine is not to be missed – including a bit for the hard-working cook ;)

      This years stuffing will be cornbread with sausage and pecans, the cranberries cooked down with brown sugar, a bit of fresh orange zest, and about 1/4-1/2 cup fruity Pinot for a mulled cranberry sauce that is really good.

      Yum – so hungry already!

      Have a great Thanksgiving!

    3. Add to the above
      Vegetable tray
      Pickle tray
      Cheese tray
      Scalloped corn

      And no Pecan Pie this year saving that for Christmas

      Thanksgiving is my DH favorite holiday but it’ll be just the 2 of us. I am making most of the usual dishes but in smaller batches.

      Finally bought him a turkey fryer. We’re doing 2 breasts. One soaked in a traditional spiced brine and one injected cajun.

      Will vaccuum pack leftovers after saving some for

      Turkey pot pie
      Turkey tetrazinni
      Hot Turkey Mashed Potato sandwiches

  3. i LOVE either barbecuing turkey or smoking it either way just totally blows plain baked turkey out of water to me

  4. The best way to cook a turkey is in one of those reynolds turkey bags. It takes 1/2 the time and it is always juicy. And the top also browns. When it comes out the pan all the juices are in the bag (if you are careful) making cleanup a breeze and also making gravy.

  5. The mommy state says 175-185 but a turkey is as good as a turkey gets when the breast is 165. But I’m a dare devil who makes sauces with raw egg..

  6. Life is not always easy, but it is usually interesting… so much to be thankful for again this year!

    Wishing Ken & Mrs. J and our entire MSB family a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with the people you love most and lots of yummy food that lasts all weekend long – enjoy everyone!

  7. Love me some fried turkey. We always used to do a 14 pounder, 40-45 minutes and the bird was good to go. Just make sure it’s thawed and patted dry!

  8. A southern thang, Stove Top corn bread stuffing, use OJ instead of water, add chopped pecans, maybe a little crushed red pepper flakes. Makes great stuffing !

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  9. At the risk of committing sacrilege, I did not cook a turkey for Thanksgiving this year. I cooked a 6 lb, 3 rib section of Prime Rib for my wife and myself on this past Sunday. ( my wife and I will both be working as RN’s on Thanksgiving day- so do not feel sorry for us. We do not suffer on our days off )

    We bought this meat and froze it long ago. In the past we had trouble cooking this in our oven because the initial phase of high heat to seal in the juices would set off our smoke alarms inside our house. This year, I cooked the roast outside on our propane BBQ ( made by Weber ) and the roast turned out well with no smoke alarm being set off. The propane BBQ has a thermometer on the cover and I have been getting lots of practice using this over the summer slow cooking baby-back ribs every Sunday afternoon.

    The cooking guidelines: Roast was removed from the fridge and placed on a foil covered baking pan/ old cookie sheet. The grill was preheated to high temp of 450 F. Pre-seasoned roast was placed in grill and covered until the temp rose to and stayed at 450 for 10 min. Roast was then rotated to evenly cook all sides of the roast and this was repeated. ( 10 minutes at 450 F. ). Heat was then reduced to 350 or 340 F and timer was set for 25 minutes.

    For each pound of meat, I set cooking time for 1 cycle: this was a 6 lb roast so after 25 minutes at 350 F I would open the lid, rotate the cookie sheet and close the lid. For a 6 lb roast, I did this 5 more times for a total of 6 times. Rotation is due to the fact that outdoor grills all have hot and cold spots depending on the prevailing wind. Rotation of the roast alleviates this potential problem.

    My wife and I both like our meat relatively well done so the guidelines are simply that: a starting point from which you can further experiment with at your home. ( guidelines indicate 20-30 minutes at temp of 350 F )

    We roasted potatoes in the oven and fixed some brussel sprouts to go with the prime rib. Of course my dog helped me and I was doing the work with an adult beverage in hand. ( I do not drive buzzed but I almost always cook while buzzed ).

    Cooking a prime rib is intimidating to me because of the relative high cost of the roast itself. ‘For me, it was good to learn and do what I could on the propane grill as an outdoor oven. The wind carried away the smoke and fumes from the cooking area and we had a prime rib dinner without setting off the smoke alarms this year.

    1. Prime rib is our traditional Christmas meat. My DH and BIL both worked at finer restaurants during college and usually take charge of that part of the meal. Americans should be so very thankful we have such a wide variety of high quality food at EXTREMELY reasonable prices thanks to the American farmers.

  10. ok i gonna do our turkey in a smoker i TRY sometimes i cant the temp just right it can very between 200 and 300 so i keep in longer sometimes i take as much as 12 hours just make sure its well done i once had bad turkey i PAID for it in the largest sense possible i mean putting out both ends at the same time i mean so i am VERY careful with em now

    1. Kevin,
      We usually deep fry, but we’re smoking our bird after a 24 hour brine soak. It took 2 hours less than what we anticipated so it’s wrapped and resting until the rest of the sides are done. It looks dark golden and beautiful. Hope it tastes as good as it looks. Good luck with yours.

  11. We’ll be doing the whole shebang for dinner this year. Can’t wait! We still have much to be thankful for this year in our great country. I wish all of you here at MSB a wonderful, healthy, blessed, and Happy Thanksgiving. God bless you all.

  12. Happy Thanksgiving to the MSB family and a special thanks to Ken and his family for all his efforts here.

    1. MamaLark,
      Happy Thanksgiving to you and my MSB friends. My wife and I celebrated Thanksgiving last night with 2 friends and we all had a good time. I cooked all day Tues and Weds and it was well worth it as I enjoy cooking.

      During the blessing, I thanked the Lord for the few remaining Americans that love our Country as founded and asked he bless them in the coming year as we may not be celebrating Thanksgiving as a nation in 2021. I didn’t ask Him to bless the Nation as I feel he has given America way more than we deserve and to ask for more when the vast majority do not appreciate what he has already given is being selfish and greedy. Instead I thanked him for the blessings of the past and to guide us through the years ahead as we will need all of the help we can get.

      Sign me as an appreciative and very thankful American that was fortunate enough to grow up when our Country was grateful for and acknowledged the source of our blessings.

  13. In case anyone runs out of poultry seasoning, this is a copy cat recipe like Bell’s Poultry Seasoning.

    4 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
    4 tsp dried oregano
    3 3/4 tsp dried sage
    3 1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
    3 tsp dried marjoram
    2 3/4 tsp dried thyme
    3/4 tsp ground black pepper

    Mix and then add to outside of turkey after rubbing skin with softened butter.
    Makes about 1/2-cup and really seasons the skin with a great flavor.

    And if anyone missed the video of the little boy cleaning out the insides of the turkey for his Mom, just imagine his surprise when he reaches in, feels the neck and says, “Mom! It’s a boy turkey!”. 🤣

  14. We did something different this year. I made all the trimmings starting Tues and finished and cooking the Turkey Wed- today. We had pre Thanksgiving dinner. Then we cleaned up and tomorrow- Thanksgiving we can have leftovers which will look just like a regular dinner, and I didn’t have to cook all day. I can really enjoy Thanksgiving. I am looking forward to that. It may become our regular thing.

  15. We are having a Venezuela style dinner her in possible preparation for Biden getting the nod. What is the cooking time fora nine pound cat?
    In all seriousness, Happy Thanksgiving to all here!

  16. Get yourself a Granite Ware 18-Inch Covered Oval Roaster. You just put the turkey in and bake it, no need to uncover the turkey because it browns with the lid on. Greatest pan I’ve ever had.

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