How to cook a perfect turkey

star pooley


I find this helpful when I cook the annual bird. This is from the National Turkey Federation.


★★★★★ 2 votes



  • 1 (8-12) lb
    *whole turkey (allow 1 pound of uncooked turkey per person from an 8 to 12 pound turkey)
  • ·
    *salt & pepper to taste
  • ·
    *spices/seasoning as desired

How to Make How to cook a perfect turkey


  1. Do not roast the turkey in a oven temperature lower than 325°F Poultry should be roasted at 325°F or higher to avoid potential food safety problems.
  2. Do not roast the turkey in a brown paper grocery bag. Present day grocery bags may be made of recycled materials and are not considered safe for food preparation.
  3. Do use a meat thermometer (available at most grocery stores and kitchen shops) to determine the correct degree of doneness. Turkey is done when meat in the thigh reaches 180°F or (meat in the breast in finished at 170°F.
  4. Frozen turkey, like all protein foods, should be thawed in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. When foods are thawed at room temperature, surface bacteria can rapidly multiply to dangerous levels at temperatures of 40 degrees F and above.
  5. For safety and superior quality, leave turkey in the original packaging and place in a shallow pan. Thaw, in the refrigerator, using the simple formula: whole turkeys thaw at a rate of 5 pounds per 24 hours. Example: A 15-pound frozen bird will take 3 full days to thaw in the refrigerator.
  6. To speed thawing, keep turkey in the original tightly sealed bag and place in a clean and sanitized sink or foodservice safe pan. Submerge in cold water and change the cold water every 30 minutes. The turkey will take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw.
  7. Refrigerate (at 40 degrees F or below) or cook the turkey when it is thawed. Do not refreeze uncooked, defrosted turkey.
    8 to 12 pounds -- 2 3/4 to 3 hours.
  9. 12 to 14 pounds -- 3 to 3 3/4 hours.
  10. 14 to 18 pounds -- 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours.
  11. 18 to 20 pounds -- 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours.
  12. 20 to 24 pounds -- 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
  13. STUFFED:
    8 to 12 pounds -- 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
  14. 12 to 14 pounds -- 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
  15. 14 to 18 pounds -- 4 to 4 1/4 hours.
  16. 18 to 20 pounds -- 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours.
  17. 20 to 24 pounds -- 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours.

Printable Recipe Card

About How to cook a perfect turkey

Course/Dish: Turkey

Show 7 Comments & Reviews

Fresh Fruit Recipes That Aren’t for Fruit Salad

Fresh Fruit Recipes That Aren’t for Fruit Salad

One of life’s simple pleasures in the summer is fresh fruit. We know it’s delicious to make a fruit salad and we have fantastic ones for summer here. But, we’re sharing 18 recipes that go beyond fruit salad. More than just for dessert, fresh fruit can be incorporated into main meals too. From breakfast to […]

17 Sundae Topping Ideas

17 Sundae Topping Ideas

There’s nothing better than indulging in a frozen treat on those hot summer days, but it’s time to step up your ice cream game. These delicious sundae toppings will change how you scream for ice cream. From homemade strawberry sauce to skillet peaches to pretzel bites, your taste buds will jump for joy when you […]

14 Fresh Tomato Dishes for Summer

14 Fresh Tomato Dishes for Summer

Tomatoes are available year-round, but sweet and juicy they are at their prime in the summer. If you grow them, you may be wondering what’s the best way to use fresh tomatoes. By weaving them into as many meals as you can! How about in an easy gazpacho soup or bruschetta? Or, use fresh tomatoes […]