Get the cooking times and temperatures for your Thanksgiving turkey, per pound so that you know how to tell if your turkey is done.
Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 28, 2019, this year and now it’s time to share your delicious turkey dinner with friends and family, should you choose to go the traditional route for the holiday. And, with poultry, making sure your bird is cooked all the way through is very important. Consuming raw turkey can make one sick.
Read on below for cooking times per pound of a full turkey, as well as for smaller meals like just a turkey breast.
Turkey Cooking Temperatures
Please remember that the below times are for cooking your turkey at an oven temperature of 325 degrees. As a general reminder, you should always test your turkey with a thermometer and cook to a minimum temperature of 165 degrees.
Williams Sonoma reported that you should take your turkey out of the oven when the thermometer registers between three and four degrees below the minimum cooking time. This will help make sure that your turkey retains the maximum amount of moisture, to keep from drying out. If you have a digital thermometer and are able to preset the time, it may make your cooking experience a little easier. You can simply set your desired temperature and wait for the alarm to sound once the turkey reaches the set degree.
Turkey Breasts Cooking Times
If you are having an intimate gathering or don’t have many turkey fans in the house, you may have decided to cook only a turkey breast, as opposed to the whole turkey. Food Safety has stated that the appropriate cooking time for a turkey breast between four and six pounds, unstuffed, will cook for anywhere between 90 minutes and 135 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
For turkey breasts between six and eight pounds, you will cook the unstuffed turkey between 135 minutes and 195 minutes. For stuffed turkey breasts between six and eight pounds, the time increases to 150 minutes to 210 minutes.
When it comes to just cooking turkey legs, thighs and wings, 325 degrees is still good. Place the turkey pieces in a pan and cover, baking for 1 – 1 ½ hours. Then, uncover the meat and bake for another 30 minutes and the temperature with an instant-read thermometer says 165 degrees. Make sure the thermometer does not touch bone of the reading will be inaccurate, as reported by Gourmet Love to Know.
Whole Turkey Cook Times
If you have decided to celebrate your holiday by cooking an entire turkey, the cooking times have increased for an unstuffed turkey between eight and twelve pounds between 2 ¾ hours and 3 hours.
For those who have stuffed your turkey, the cooking times are between 3 and 3 ½ hours. For turkeys between 12 and 14 pounds, the times for an unstuffed turkey are between 3 hours and 3 ¾ hours; for stuffed turkeys, it is 3 ½ hours and 4 hours. Unstuffed turkeys between 14 and 18 pounds have their cooking times ranging from 3 ¾ hours to 4 ¼ hours; and for stuffed turkeys, it is between 4 and 4 ¼ hours.
For unstuffed turkeys between 18 and 20 pounds, the time is 4 ¼ hours to 4 ½ hours; for stuffed turkeys, it is 4 ¼ hours to 4 ¾ hours. Unstuffed turkeys between 20 and 24 pounds need a range of cooking time from 4 ½ hours to 5 hours; for stuffed turkeys it is 4 ¾ hours to 5 ¼ hours.
In a convection oven, Gourmet Love to Know has reported that the turkey should be roasted at 325 degrees but should be reduced to 300 degrees Fahrenheit if you are using a dark roasting pan or oven-roasting bag.
Deep Frying Turkey Time and Temp
If you decide to take on deep frying your turkey, the times will range as the temperature of your oil can vary. Please be sure you have a thermometer to monitor your turkey’s temperature. The temperature should always be taken from the thickest part of the turkey, away from any bone.
You should read the digital thermometer’s instructions to verify if it may be used in hot oil. If you have a regular thermometer you can simply check your turkey for the proper cooking temperature every so often as your turkey’s temperature will rise every few minutes.
Some may decide to put their bird in the oven while others will decide to slowly lower their bird into a hot pot of oil. Either way, please make sure you are doing everything safely, as safety comes first before any delicious bird. Safety tips for deep frying your turkey, according to State Farm, include keeping the fryers away from structures of any kind, skip stuffing when it comes to frying, wear goggles and never leave the fryer unattended.