Turkey Cooking Time Guide Article - Allrecipes.com
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Turkey Cooking Time Guide

Don't dry out the bird! Use this chart to determine how long to cook a turkey.

These times are based on placing the whole turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven.

 Weight  of Bird

 Roasting Time (Unstuffed)

 Roasting Time 


  10 to 18 pounds

3 to 3-1/2 hours

  3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours

  18 to 22 pounds

3-1/2 to 4 hours

  4-1/2 to 5 hours

  22 to 24 pounds

4 to 4-1/2 hours

  5 to 5-1/2 hours
  24 to 29 pounds

4-1/2 to 5 hours

  5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

Cook the turkey until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but will promote even browning.

The only true test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.

  • The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. To get an accurate reading, be sure that your thermometer is not touching the bone.
  • If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing; it should be 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).
  • When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving.

Related Recipe Collection and Advice:

Nov. 4, 2009 5:54 pm
Nov. 23, 2009 5:35 pm
I do declare, this sets my giblets a swirling!
Nov. 25, 2009 8:04 am
Does anyone remember roasting a turkey wrapped in foil at 450 Degrees? My bad, I threw out the timetable.
Isabel in Spain 
Nov. 26, 2009 12:15 am
According to Betty Crocker: 7 to 9 pounds 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours 10 to 13 lbs 2 3/4 to 3 hours 14 to 17 lbs 3 1/2 to 4 hours 18 to 21 lbs 4 1/2 to 5 hours 22 to 24 lbs 5 1/2 to 6 hours all with 185º internal degree at 450º F Hope this helps
Nov. 26, 2009 7:14 am
Remember the first thing this article stated...."Don't dry out the bird!" 450 Deg is great for dry bird. This timetable is right on the money! The only thing I do different is start bird for first 1/2 hour at 500 deg to make skin extra crispy. I have never had a complaint yet. And to all the amateurs...... invest the $10.00 in a nice digital thermometer.
Dec. 23, 2009 8:35 am
I use the 15mins per lb at 350F and it works great for us...
Tom Ball 
Dec. 24, 2009 1:37 pm
Cooking a Turkey can be tricky. I stuff my Turkey with a scratch made cornbread stuffing. I Keep it very moist. The stuffing inside the Bird Keeps the breast portions moist. Rember when you are stuffing the Turkey to also stuff the neck cavity. This gives you a very moist Turkey and additional stuffing. I Cook a 14# Turkey stuffed with a moist stuffing@ 350 degrees for 4 hours covered. Then i remove the cover for an additional 45 mins to brown the skin. I also place a seasoned butter mix under the skin on the breast and the breast meat. I also rub the same mixture on the skin as well. Remember to BASTE your Turkey every 30 mins or so. The more you keep it wet the moister it will be. Let Your Turkey set after coming out of the oven for a minimal of 30 mins before attempting to carve. Every one enjoy. If any one would like to knwo thew seasoning i use for the turkey let me know.
Jan. 5, 2010 8:09 am
Thanks so much for this guide!
Apr. 4, 2010 11:12 am
I found this very helpful...ty so much
Jul. 31, 2010 8:34 pm
This guide is so helpful. THANKS!
Sep. 9, 2010 10:38 am
This Guide is wrong! You need to cook the bird to an internal temp of 180! Just use a thermometer and an oven temp of 350( your supposed to "slow roast") and it will turn out fine. And don't forget it has to stand at least 20mins and furthers the cooking process.
Oct. 27, 2010 8:32 am
This guide is the best for a first time turkey cook. Thank you so much.
Nov. 21, 2010 9:26 am
I've always covered my turkey in mayonnaise and seasons and put in a cooking bag then slowly bake overnite, falls off the bone in the morning and no one has ever been sick afterwards...
Nov. 21, 2010 12:02 pm
How long and at 375 should I roast a a 10-12 lb. turkey in a CONVECTION oven?
Nov. 22, 2010 9:01 am
I did NOT see a save button for time table etc. & was recommended to save this.
Nov. 23, 2010 5:11 am
Can you cook a turkey overnight? i would like it to be fresh cooked on Thankgiving day, but will be traveling 1 1/2 hours around 10:00 am and having dinner around 2:00. can you partially cook it then finish it off?
Nov. 23, 2010 8:15 pm
Aa of two years ago, the US Dept. of Agriculture set the safe temperature for turkey at 165 degrees. This goes for the stuffing inside the bird, which should be checked separately. Check their web site at
Nov. 24, 2010 8:19 am
If you use a blue speckleware roasting pan (also called graniteware), you can cook it covered for the specified times mentioned in the chart, and it will come out tender, juicy, and perfectly browned...no basting or other attention required! I swear by speckleware for all poultry roasting!
Nov. 24, 2010 3:00 pm
blond-one: You never, ever want to partially cook meat and then finish cooking it later. Once you start cooking, you have to finish it. Otherwise it's a field day for bacteria.
Nov. 24, 2010 4:25 pm
I am using a Turkey I raised Illegally in our City. It weighed in at 18 pounds. I am using the Brine Method mentioned here on this site using Sea salt. I plan to do the stuffing in a Crock pot, (also found on this site) and I am using a Turkey oven bag in a Roaster. I plan to roast it in a 350 degree oven for 4 hours. I hope this thing turns out!! Any help from my other Brother and sisters on this site would be GREATLY appreciated. Steve aka. fiddlefreak936
sean's mom 
Nov. 24, 2010 4:32 pm
Nov. 24, 2010 5:47 pm
fiddlefreak,you are going to roast a turkey that you raised illegally in your city ? Wow, pretty cool. Good luck with that =)
Nov. 24, 2010 10:55 pm
anyone know how long to cook a 20 lb turkey using a Roaster? Not using the normal oven, but a Hamilton Beach Roaster Pan.
Nov. 25, 2010 4:55 am
wendy: I am cooking a 20lb turkey in my GE roaster today. I set the timer for 3 1/2 hrs b/c that is the minimum time stated on the bag that the turkey came in. It also said to roast at 325. I bought a digital thermometer yesterday, and I am going to determine when the turkey is done based on it. The bag said the min temp is 170 degrees. That's a lot less than the above chart at 185. I think the thermometer method is the most accurate/safest, but I am setting a timer to find out how long it really takes. Good luck!
Nov. 25, 2010 5:39 am
I roast at 325 F until breast reaches 160. Salmonella and E. coli cannot survive above 120 F so dont worry too much. The uSDA changing their gudelines is just government trying to scare you (food safety, terrorism, Four Loko) into submission. If you cook to 165 F, you will have a dry untasty bird.
Nov. 25, 2010 5:43 am
Just to be clear y'all, the final cook temp needs to be 165 degrees to kill saminelosis and other bacteria found it poultry. According to any health department or culinary school in usa this is the standard. Another thing to be aware of is carry over cooking. Once you remove the bird from the oven you can expect the temperature to go up another 10 degrees. I pull mine out between. 155 and 160. Leave the thermometer in whie its resting and you will see it go up to the magic 165. The time table above looks pretty spot on. Good luck everyone, happy thanksgiving
Nov. 25, 2010 6:14 am
I had a 49 pound turkey and cooked it in a brown paper bag for twelve hours and fifteen minutes at 350 degrees F, then cut off the bagand brownedthe skin for twenty montoya basting with Katherine and garlic and juice from the turkey I first surrounded the turkey with a ridgeof kosher salt to absorb the grease. Turkey was delicious. Served with homemade cranberry bread and cranberry sauce. Yummy. Carlos
Nov. 25, 2010 6:35 am
Help, please! I have never brined, and have had my turkey brining nearly 24 hours now. Everything I am reading says that a brined turkey will cook faster. I have a 22lb. unstuffed brined turkey. How long should I plan for cooking? Thanks, and Happy TG!!!
Nov. 25, 2010 7:11 am
For the juiciest turkey ever, cook the turkey upside down (bottom side up)for the first 2 hours. All of the juices run down and make the breast meat awesome! Rotate and finish cooking. Baste with a little melted butter and it will come out perfect everytime!
Nov. 25, 2010 9:25 am
Very helpful site. I have cooked a turkey before but it is still helpful to hear how others cook theirs,
Nov. 25, 2010 11:01 am
I'm cooking a small young 8lb. turkey at 350 degrees for 3 1/4 hours. My family is tiny. :) I'm cooking it unstuffed, upside-down in a turkey bag, seasoned with salt, pepper, bay, and garlic cloves in the bottom. The garlic infuses the breasts and the drippings and makes a lovely gravy.
Nov. 25, 2010 12:10 pm
My father always cooked his turkey completely sealed in foil at 450 degrees. Timing was 15 minutes per lb if under 15 lbs and 10 to 12 minutes for over 15 pounds. We always had a juicy bird on Thanksgiving.
Nov. 25, 2010 2:00 pm
I had to check this timetable. MIL cooked the driest turkey I've ever had. She blamed it on buying a grocery store brand turkey. I blame it on roasting the bird about 2 hours longer than it should have been. Dang. She insists on doing the turkey. Every year. Without fail.
Jan. 1, 2011 1:22 pm
I cooked a turkey this morning and we cut it cold but when I got to the bone it was slightly under done and was a pinkish color I would like to know if i can recook part of it ?
Don Torrini 
Apr. 1, 2011 10:43 pm
Wonder why your turkey turns out dry? I am a butcher, customers ask me about this all the time. Poultry should only be cooked to the point of just being done....no raw meat, slightly pink jucies, and some pink coloring on the bone. The correct internal temperature to acheive this is between 160 and 165. The bird will continue to cook as it rests. Same rule is also used for chicken.
r&r kitchen 
Oct. 9, 2011 9:08 pm
does anyone remember when our mothers got up at 5:00 in the morning to put the turkey in the oven? It seems to take half as long now a days.
Nov. 16, 2011 6:52 am
For just two of us I am fixing a turkey breast. Please tell me the guidelines for roasting such. Can I skip thawing?
Maura Vrabel 
Nov. 23, 2011 4:08 pm
How long cook 2 15 pound turkeys at same time
Nov. 23, 2011 8:25 pm
I have been brineing a turkey for years. It does not change the cooking time. It makes the bird more tender. Crock pot stuffing. Never thought of that. I will have to check it out.
Nov. 23, 2011 9:51 pm
cook your two turkeys as if you were only cooking one of them, you will possibly have a time concern as your oven may take longer to rereach your set cooking temperature but should have a minimal impact as long as air flow in the oven is not impeded by both turkeys and their container(s), at the usual completion time for 1 15# bird I would check temperature but expect to have to cook it not much more than 1/4 to 1/2 hour longer unless oven air flow is blocked, if so this would change the entire dynamics of the cooking process.
Nov. 24, 2011 7:33 am
180 degrees is going to ensure a nice dry Griswold family vacation turkey. Cook the bird until you get a reading of 160. it will carry over to 165. Remember that the breast meat cooks faster than the dark sections so you will need to cover the breast section with bacon to slow the cooking process in that area.
Nov. 24, 2011 8:46 am
I would like the seasoned butter recipe from Tom Ball. It was posted back in 2009, but if you're around, please post it! Thanks.
Nov. 24, 2011 9:30 am
To answer Julie from 2 years ago. The foil and 450 degree method is amazing. I was chef and restaurant GM and this is method from Betty Crocker's 1961 Cook Book is a classic. One trick open the bied with 20 mins left drain the juice and but it back in to brown. You can also stuff the cavity with rosemary and citrus. Timetable For Cooking Turkey In Aluminum Foil Ready-To-Cook Weight (Unstuffed) Oven Temperature (Slow Oven) Total Cooking Time (Stuffed Bird) Internal Temperature 6 - 9 lbs. 10 - 13 lbs. 14 - 17 lbs. 18 - 21 lbs. 22 - 24 lbs. 450 degrees(F) 450 degrees(F) 450 degrees(F) 450 degrees(F) 450 degrees(F) 2-1/4 To 2-1/2 Hrs. 2-3/4 To 3 Hrs. 3 To 3-1/4 Hrs. 3 To 3-1/2 Hrs. 3-1/2 To 3-3/4 Hrs. 180 - 185 degrees (F) 180 - 185 degrees (F) 180 - 185 degrees (F) 180 - 185 degrees (F) 180 - 185 degrees (F)
Nov. 24, 2011 9:31 am
Sorry for sloppy typing not my forte
Nov. 24, 2011 1:30 pm
I start my turkey out at 350, with a very thick coat of foil tightly secured to the pan. About half way through, I turn down to 325, the last 15 to 30 minutes, I baste and brown the skin. Shut the oven off and let it sit in the oven for about 15 min. Take it out of the oven let it sit about 20 minutes, while I make the gravy, and mashed potatoes. I have never had a dry turkey...
Dec. 14, 2011 3:16 pm
I am having a hard time trying to find out about cooking a bird overnight. There have been a lot of medical issues with my family and the best way to get the turkey cooked is cooking it overnight at a low temp. I am positive if it is not cooked right, it will be dry or overcooked. Any ideas?
Jan. 14, 2012 12:17 pm
thank you
Nov. 21, 2012 10:14 am
When I first started to bake a turkey we did it in a brown paper bag. NO INK, on it. covered it in bacon grease. Those turkeys came out so tender, and tasted the best of all I have cooked. I wish I could still get the bags.
Nov. 22, 2012 2:01 am
Ever wonder about the "extra" stuffing that didn't fit into the bird? I had an idea once that went over quite well with the family and I've done it ever since. Fill a muffin pan with the extra stuffing (try and use each section or at least fill the empty ones with water). Bake along side your dinner rolls (about 10-14 minutes @ 350)...My kids started calling them "Stuffin Muffins"...Enjoy!
Nov. 25, 2012 12:27 pm
Thanks for having this, its been so long I couldn't remember how long per pound, I mostly cook just about everything at 350F so that was right, its the length of time I needed. I got a nice light brine from here and have brined the turkey, trying this for the first time, I picked this brine recipe because it has very little sugar, and I'm diabetic and don't like sweet meat. It smells heavenly, just went in the rival roaster (countertop rather than oven) and then I have the mixed veg scallop to get cooking. Grey Cup day here, so we are having turkey, already had our Thanksgiving last month, and had ham. I love this resource.
Dec. 18, 2012 1:45 pm
i am planning on using one of those tin roasting pans cuase i have a turkey thats wayy too big for my roasting pan, is this going to change the cooking time? im planning on also putting a meat thermometer in the turkey while cooking so i guess i can monitor it but just so i know and can have everything else on time as well...
Nov. 20, 2013 11:25 am
I started using the foil wrapped high heat roasting method for cooking turkey back in the seventies. My mom was horrified! She was sure everyone would die from eating the short cooked bird. In short, no one died and the bird was so moist and juicy, it fell off the bones. You can cook a twenty-pound bird in a bit over three hours at 450°, unstuffed. I, also, used the “stuffing balls” recipe from the old “Betty Crocker” cookbook and basted them with chicken broth. It was a great way to “see” the exact portions and kept the bird cavity free for quicker roasting.
Nov. 24, 2013 6:50 am
I have been roasting turkeys for 30 years and still use the doneness test my mother and mother-in-law used (when the turkey leg moves freely with no resistance it's done). I have never had a dry or not quite done turkey. My turkeys are always quite large, about 30 pounds, and delicious.
Nov. 26, 2013 11:01 am
I am trying to get a clear answer on cooking 2-15 lbs birds in different pans/same oven. what would the cooking time, same 20 min per lb on 325 degrees? for convection oven?
Nov. 27, 2013 12:43 pm
@Tuxman: Each bird cooks separately. So it is like cooking one 15 lb bird. Start at same time. If one is bigger, it will take longer than the other. Allow max space between them. Put a digital probe deep in the thigh of the smaller one (avoid contact with bone), and take out when it gets to 165 take it out. Put probe in larger one, into thigh, take out when it gets to 165.
Nov. 28, 2013 4:33 am
I have a 12 lb. turkey I want to bake at 300. How long should I bake it? I'm wrapping it in foil, not roasting it.
Nov. 28, 2013 4:38 am
Has anyone gotten a response? Do they send it to our email or post it here???
Nov. 28, 2013 6:56 am
A great way to prepare your bird is to start it off at 415 degrees for the first hour then lower the temp. down to 350 degrees for the remainder of cooking time turkey should be between 165-175 degrees when done a great way to keep your turkey moist is to bake in a deep roasting pan with a rack in the bottom of the pan add chicken broth (I make my own) rough chopped celery, onions, green bell peppers this makes for a great steam bath that helps cook the turkey and keep it moist and also add great flavor because the steam is flavored from the broth and veggies I rub the outside of my turkey with my own seasoning blend of herbs and spices mixed with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) cover in a foil tent and bake I let the turkey bake 2 hours before basting in a garlic honey butter sauce then recover for additional cooking time last 45 mins I uncover and bast the turkey again adding a little EVOO to my bast this time and let the skin brown. TALKING ABOUT A GREAT BIRD !!!!!
Nov. 28, 2013 10:23 am
My grandpa would always flip the bird breast side down about half way through and this let the juices run to them they always came out so juicy and delicious! I have followed tradition and haven't had a complaint yet!:D
Dec. 22, 2013 7:37 pm
i would love to save this
Dec. 25, 2013 6:12 am
ctuff it with applesauce. you cannot go wrong. Juicie
Nov. 23, 2014 10:32 pm
I have a 12 pound turkey to cook, stuffed. How long and at what oven temperature? Thanks.
Nov. 26, 2014 12:31 pm
I brine my turkey in sugar/salt water day before. I wake up extra early on thanksgiving morning and make chicken risotto from scratch and that becomes my stuffing. I put the bird in a bake bag with a cup of Chardonnay and bake for 15 minutes per pound at 350. For this recipe, use the largest bird you can find because you will want the leftovers:)
Nov. 27, 2014 4:28 am
I high temp cook my turkey at 450 to brown it; bring temp down to 350, cook four hours- comes out brown,nice, fully cooked, tastes great. oh, foil on top also.
Nov. 27, 2014 6:46 am
180 degree internal temperature is perfect if you want a dry as dust bird. If you want a moist, juicy bird follow the advice both on this page and professional chefs and roast to 165 degrees. According to Chef John at FoodWishes.com, the 180 degree temp for roasting poultry is old, outdated information. He says to roast a turkey at a low temp (325 degrees) until the thickest part of the thigh is 165 degrees. He says it's safe and the bird will be moist.
Nov. 27, 2014 6:48 am
PS - Chef John also uses the herb butter under the skin and slathered over the bird method.
Nov. 27, 2014 9:02 am
People please don't cook your turkey to 180 degrees. It will be dry! If you pull it at 165 and let it sit, it will reach at least 170 or probably better. I brine and stuff my bird. Knowing it cooks faster brined, wondering how long a 12 lb er will take? I'm voting for 3 hours. I don't like to temp it a lot as it lets the juices out! Thanks and everyone have a great Thanksgiving.
Nov. 27, 2014 9:37 am
All fowl, birds and poultry is 165 degrees internal temp to be safe. Once temperature is reached carve immediately to stop carry over cooking.
Nov. 27, 2014 10:25 am
Family all disappointed after waking up to discover Granny boiled our turkey.
Dec. 24, 2014 12:00 pm
I've always made a moist turkey and everyone seems to think it's the best so I will share what I do: stick an onion inside + salt, dry the outside and rub butter on it (try to stick under the skin if I can), season, put in a brown grocery bag that I coated in oil first, close, stick the probe in, and cook at 350 with the probe set to 165 in my convection oven. A 20 lb turkey usually only takes me about 2 hrs, so I quit getting up at 5am like my mom swore we have to do. The probe seems to work.
Stephie Vee 
Jan. 3, 2015 7:32 am
First of all, make sure it's thawed. Check cavities thoroughly, making sure you remove giblets and neck! You still have time to brine the turkey for juicy, delicious results. I will post some brine ideas if anyone is interested. You can cook turkey breast side-down for melt in your mouth, juiciest ever white meat. Simply brown the back for presentation. I promise you won't be disappointed. I'm doing it myself. Letting the breast cook in it's own juices. I do NOT baste. All you are doing is letting cool air in oven, dropping temp increasing the cooking time and drying out your bird. I do NOT cook stuffing IN the turkey, or any poultry, rather, in a separate dish. You are putting your family and self in danger of illness by cross contamination. The stuffing will take longer to cook than turkey. To get stuffing cooked thru, you risk a dry bird. Or food poisoning if it's not cooked. I adapted my stuffing recipe for a crock pot. You can cook in oven or transfer to oven
Feb. 21, 2015 6:51 pm
Thanks for the information. My turkey turned out awesome.
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