How Long to Cook a Turkey?

Question:

How long to cook a 12 pound turkey?
How long to cook a 16 pound turkey? How long to cook an 18 pound turkey?
How long to cook a 22 pound turkey?

Answer:

Since all turkeys are unique by weight, there is a chart provided below with cooking times for turkeys. Remember that times are for planning purposes, providing the ideal time to take the internal temperature of a turkey.

WARNING: Always cook a turkey to 165°F, when tested with a meat thermometer in the thickest part.

time to cook a turkey

How Long to Cook a Turkey

How Long to Cook a Turkey

The time needed to cook a turkey, specifically using an oven to bake the turkey, depends on the temperature of the oven, the weight of the turkey and whether or not the turkey is stuffed. Also, always be sure to allow ample time to thaw a turkey because you never want to cook a turkey from the frozen state.

The following table is approximate cooking times for a turkey by weight. The only way to be sure that a turkey is properly and safely cooked is to be sure that the innermost meat has reached 165°F. This is measured by inserting a meat thermometer into the crease at the back of the thigh until it reaches the innermost thigh meat.

So, how long does it take to cook a turkey?

Table of Baking / Cooking Times for Turkeys:

Weight in Pounds Cooking Time Unstuffed @ 325°F Cooking Time Stuffed @ 325°F
6 – 7 lb. Turkey  2-2½ hrs. Hours 2¼-2¾ hrs. Hours
7 – 10 lb. Turkey   2½-3 hrs. Hours 2¾-3½ hrs. Hours
Turkey 10 – 18 lb.  3-3½ hrs. Hours 3¾-4½ hrs. Hours
Turkey 18 – 22 lb.  3½-4 hrs. Hours 4½-5 hrs. Hours
Turkey 22 – 24 lb.  4-4½ hrs. Hours 5-5½ hrs. Hours
Turkey 24 – 30 lb.  4½-5 hrs. Hours 5½-6¼ hrs.Hours

Note: After thawing your turkey, be sure to remove the internal organs and the neck from both ends open ends of the turkey before stuffing or baking the turkey. These parts can be boiled in water to make a gravy base, but should not be baked inside the bird.

How Long to Cook a Turkey?

For Additional Information

For more information on turkey thawing, visit our how to thaw a turkey page.

To find out how long turkey lasts, visit our turkey page.

If stuffing the turkey, read these precautions before stuffing.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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