Per Pound Cooking Time to Roast a Whole Turkey for Christmas
There are several factors to consider when roasting a Christmas turkey. First, the temperature of the bird is essential. A turkey stuffed with stuffing should be cooked higher than an unstuffed bird.
A turkey that has not been stuffed should be cooked for fifteen to twenty minutes per pound. If the turkey is stuffed, it should be cooked for about 25 to 30 minutes per pound.
Calculating Whole Turkey Cooking time and Temperature
The quickest roasting times are calculated at 13 minutes per pound at 350°F for an unstuffed turkey (roughly 3 hours for a 12- to 14-lb turkey), or at 15 minutes per pound for a stuffed turkey. Then, roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and thickest part of the breast meat registers 165°F.
After that, every 10 minutes, recheck the temperature.Use these recommendations whether you want to roast your turkey at a higher or lower temperature. The cook times listed below are for birds without stuffing. (Our general guideline is to steer clear of stuffing your turkey, and bake the stuffing alongside the turkey so that it can quickly reach a safe temperature.)
If your turkey weighs 8 to 12 pounds, roast it at:
325°F for 2¾ to 3 hours
If your turkey weighs 12 to 14 pounds, roast it at:
425°F for 2¼ to 2½ hours
400°F for 2½ to 2¾ hours
350°F for 2¾ to 3 hours
325°F for 3 to 3¾ hours
Time Required per Pound of Unstuffed Turkey
If you’re planning to roast a turkey, you need to know how much time it takes to cook it. For each pound, unstuffed turkeys usually need about 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time. Stuffed turkeys require approximately half the time. You should check your turkey for doneness with a meat thermometer.
The roasting schedule listed is an approximate guideline, so it’s essential to check it for doneness about a half-hour before the recommended cooking time. To check the turkey, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding the bone. The meat should register 180 to 185degF, with clear juices when pierced. Stuffing should register at least 165 degrees F.
Remember that higher temperatures create a more significant temperature gradient inside the meat. This means a turkey cooked at 450degF will have more overcooked meat around the edges. You should also be aware of the turkey’s thermal center or the point of the turkey farthest from the exterior. It is the thickest and deepest portion of the breast meat.
To prepare your turkey:
- Place the breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
- Place the pan on the lowest rack of the preheated oven.
- Sprinkle the bottom with water to prevent dryness and keep the turkey moist.
You can also baste the turkey throughout the cooking process. While basting helps to create a crispy skin, it also increases the roasting time. In addition to basting, you can also use aluminum foil to tend the turkey near the end of the cooking time.
Once the turkey is cooked, it needs to rest for 30 to 45 minutes before carving. Resting also gives you time to make gravy, sip wine, and memorize jokes.
If you’ve bought a frozen turkey, you can cook it directly from frozen or keep it in the refrigerator. The defrost time depends on the size of the turkey. In some cases, cooking time will be shorter than thawing time. Keep in mind that when you’re thawing a frozen pre-stuffed turkey, bacteria can multiply quickly in the stuffing.
25 to 30 minutes at 350degF per pound of stuffed turkey
When roasting a turkey, the cooking time should be adjusted to allow for the weight of the turkey. For example, if you have a 15-pound stuffed turkey, the cooking time should be about 3 hours and 45 minutes at 350 degrees. When checking the internal temperature of the turkey, ensure that the breast meat is at least 165 degrees F.
Because stuffed turkeys require a higher cooking temperature, the cooking time will be longer. It would help if you allowed 25 to 30 minutes more time for a 20-pound stuffed turkey. Using a foil cover during the cooking process will help the bird brown.
The cooking time for a stuffed turkey varies according to the type of turkey and oven used. Roasting turkeys at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes per pound is recommended. The USDA recommends using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of a turkey.
Turkeys should be cooked to a minimum of 170degF for the breast and 180degF for the thighs. The temperature will increase another 5 degrees as the turkey rests, so be sure not to overcook it. As the bird thaws, it will lose some of its juices and become overly dry.
For smaller turkeys, the cooking time is approximately 25 to 30 minutes per pound at 350degF. The cooking time for more giant turkeys depends on size and weight. You can also thaw a large turkey by placing it in a refrigerator. You should turn the turkey every 20 to 30 minutes to keep the meat from drying.
While it may take longer to cook a turkey, the skin of a stuffed bird should be crispy. Stuffings should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees for white meat and 180 degrees for dark meat. Once the turkey is cooked, it can be finished with a buttered heatproof dish.
A thermometer for measuring a turkey’s internal temperature will help you ensure that it is cooked to perfection. This is particularly important when cooking a stuffed turkey because the internal temperature will rise by 5 degrees once it has been removed from the oven.
A turkey roasting time calculator is a great way to calculate the cooking time for your turkey. Using this tool, you can quickly determine the exact time for a stuffed turkey based on its weight and cooking method. For example, a stuffed turkey may take as little as 25 to 30 minutes at 350degF.
15 to 20 minutes at 400degF per pound of stuffed turkey
To check if your turkey is ready:
- Use an instant-read thermometer.
- Place the thermometer between the thigh meat and the leg meat.
- Gently pull the probe through the meat.
- Check the display often.
The turkey will cook from the outside in, so check the meat temperature with a probe after 15 to 20 minutes. When the probe reaches 165degF, the turkey is done. If not, move the turkey to a more relaxed spot.
A stuffed turkey will take about 3 hours and 45 minutes to cook at 350 degrees. It will be juicy, complete, and bursting with flavor from the turkey’s filling. The cooking time will vary based on the size of the turkey.
If you’re cooking a stuffed turkey, you should cook it for at least 15 minutes per pound.
However, if you’re cooking a giant bird, you can reduce the cooking time slightly but still cook the turkey to a safe temperature.
To avoid overcooking the turkey, you can use a dual-temperature cooking method. Instead of cooking the turkey at a high temperature, you should cook it at a lower temperature for about 15 minutes, then finish it with the final broiling at 450 degrees for about five to seven minutes. Using a dual-temperature cooking method allows you to brown the skin more quickly and give the turkey a richer flavor.
Once the turkey is cooked, you should let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving. After letting it cool down, you can use the rest of the turkey to make turkey soup or stock. For a festive touch, consider using fresh herbs when stuffing it. Always wash your hands and use oven mitts when handling the turkey.
Traditionally, home cooks would use the color of the meat as a guide to determine when their meat is done. But this method is not reliable for several reasons. For one, the color may disappear before the safe temperature is reached. Furthermore, some turkeys never lose their pink color.
When cooking a turkey, check its internal temperature regularly. If it is more than 20 pounds, the bird’s internal temperature should be at least 140degF.