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A meat thermometer is essential for roasting a turkey. Check the turkey temperature at least 30 minutes before the timer goes off because birds might cook faster or slower than these approximate times. Insert the meat thermometer into the turkey in three places (inside the thigh, in the thickest part of the breast not touching the bone, and under the wing). All three should register 165 degrees. If the bird is stuffed, the thermometer should also register 165 degrees in the center of the stuffing. (The US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends cooking stuffing outside the turkey.) See How to Roast a Turkey for cooking instructions.

UNSTUFFED TURKEY

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8 to 12 pounds, 2¾ to 3 hours

12 to 14 pounds, 3 to 3¾ hours

14 to 18 pounds, 3¾ to 4½ hours

18 to 24 pounds, 4½ to 5 hours

STUFFED TURKEY

8 to 12 pounds, 3 to 3½ hours

12 to 14 pounds, 3½ to 4 hours

14 to 18 pounds, 4 to 4¼ hours

18 to 24 pounds, 4¼ to 5¼ hours

Source: USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

SHERYL JULIAN



Sheryl Julian can be reached at sheryl.julian@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.