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Learn How Long to Cook a Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

Learn How Long to Cook a Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

Don’t know how long to a cook a turkey for Thanksgiving? We’ve got the best guide here

Learn how long to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving here.

The best advice we could give this Thanksgiving is teaching you how to cook the Thanksgiving turkey and how to know when it is ready to eat. And since you’re probably not used to cooking such a big piece of poultry on a regular basius.

No matter how big of a bird you have, if you bought it frozen, you must give it time to thaw. Allow it to thaw in the fridge three days before the big feast. If you find that the day before it is still too frozen, let it thaw in the sink for the entire day.

Roast the turkey at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Then cover the breast area with aluminum foil, reduce heat to 350 degrees, add 2 cups of water or broth to the roasting pan, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. The rule of thumb is about 13 minutes per pound. Baste frequently to promote even browning, but be sure to keep the oven door shut in between bastings so the heat doesn’t escape.

If you are roasting your turkey, cook it until it reaches a light golden color. Then loosely cover it with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of roasting, remove the foil tent and brown the skin. Basting frequently throughout will also promote even browning. These temperatures are based on a 350-degree oven. — Emily Jacobs

Turkey Weight

Roasting Time (Unstuffed)

Roasting Time (Stuffed)

4 to 6 pounds

1½ to 2 ½ hours

2 ½ to 3 hours

6 to 8 pounds

2 ½ to 3 hours

3 to 3 ½ hours

8 to 12 pounds

3 to 4 hours

3½ to 4½ hours

12 to 16 pounds

4 to 5 hours

4½ to 5½ hours

16 to 20 pounds

5 to 5½ hours

5 ½ to 6 hours

20 to 24 pounds

5½ to 6 hours

6 to 6½ hours


How Long To Cook a Turkey per Pound

The best turkey cooking times for your bird, plus a handy chart!

You&rsquove prepped your Thanksgiving pies, assembled the green bean casserole and your make-ahead gravy is ready for serving. Now it&rsquos time to tackle that Thanksgiving turkey. Determining how long to cook a turkey will anchor your entire Thanksgiving Day timeline, so it&rsquos crucial to learn exactly when to put that bird in the oven, and when to take it out for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Quick note: The temperature of your turkey is really the best way to tell if it&rsquos done, rather than how much time it&rsquos been in the oven. So, invest in a great meat thermometer and stop stressing about undercooked poultry for good.

Turkey cooking times depend on the size of your bird and what temperature you cook your turkey. A 12-pound bird will cook more quickly than a 20-pound monster, which is just one of the reasons why we suggest buying two smaller birds (or cooking one whole turkey and one turkey breast) if you&rsquore feeding a crowd. The longer the bird stays in the oven, the more likely it is to dry out. If you cook a turkey at 325 or 350℉, it will take longer to cook than at higher temperatures. The Test Kitchen agrees that 375℉ is the best temperature to cook a turkey, because it&rsquos not too hot, not too cold, and cooks quickly enough to ensure that a juicy, flavorful bird is ready by dinnertime.

When it&rsquos finally Turkey Day, turn your oven on to 375°F and roast the bird using our chart&rsquos cooking times as a guide. When it&rsquos done, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey&rsquos thigh should register 165°F. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 25 minutes before carving, serving, and enjoying.


How Long To Cook a Turkey per Pound

The best turkey cooking times for your bird, plus a handy chart!

You&rsquove prepped your Thanksgiving pies, assembled the green bean casserole and your make-ahead gravy is ready for serving. Now it&rsquos time to tackle that Thanksgiving turkey. Determining how long to cook a turkey will anchor your entire Thanksgiving Day timeline, so it&rsquos crucial to learn exactly when to put that bird in the oven, and when to take it out for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Quick note: The temperature of your turkey is really the best way to tell if it&rsquos done, rather than how much time it&rsquos been in the oven. So, invest in a great meat thermometer and stop stressing about undercooked poultry for good.

Turkey cooking times depend on the size of your bird and what temperature you cook your turkey. A 12-pound bird will cook more quickly than a 20-pound monster, which is just one of the reasons why we suggest buying two smaller birds (or cooking one whole turkey and one turkey breast) if you&rsquore feeding a crowd. The longer the bird stays in the oven, the more likely it is to dry out. If you cook a turkey at 325 or 350℉, it will take longer to cook than at higher temperatures. The Test Kitchen agrees that 375℉ is the best temperature to cook a turkey, because it&rsquos not too hot, not too cold, and cooks quickly enough to ensure that a juicy, flavorful bird is ready by dinnertime.

When it&rsquos finally Turkey Day, turn your oven on to 375°F and roast the bird using our chart&rsquos cooking times as a guide. When it&rsquos done, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey&rsquos thigh should register 165°F. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 25 minutes before carving, serving, and enjoying.


How Long To Cook a Turkey per Pound

The best turkey cooking times for your bird, plus a handy chart!

You&rsquove prepped your Thanksgiving pies, assembled the green bean casserole and your make-ahead gravy is ready for serving. Now it&rsquos time to tackle that Thanksgiving turkey. Determining how long to cook a turkey will anchor your entire Thanksgiving Day timeline, so it&rsquos crucial to learn exactly when to put that bird in the oven, and when to take it out for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Quick note: The temperature of your turkey is really the best way to tell if it&rsquos done, rather than how much time it&rsquos been in the oven. So, invest in a great meat thermometer and stop stressing about undercooked poultry for good.

Turkey cooking times depend on the size of your bird and what temperature you cook your turkey. A 12-pound bird will cook more quickly than a 20-pound monster, which is just one of the reasons why we suggest buying two smaller birds (or cooking one whole turkey and one turkey breast) if you&rsquore feeding a crowd. The longer the bird stays in the oven, the more likely it is to dry out. If you cook a turkey at 325 or 350℉, it will take longer to cook than at higher temperatures. The Test Kitchen agrees that 375℉ is the best temperature to cook a turkey, because it&rsquos not too hot, not too cold, and cooks quickly enough to ensure that a juicy, flavorful bird is ready by dinnertime.

When it&rsquos finally Turkey Day, turn your oven on to 375°F and roast the bird using our chart&rsquos cooking times as a guide. When it&rsquos done, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey&rsquos thigh should register 165°F. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 25 minutes before carving, serving, and enjoying.


How Long To Cook a Turkey per Pound

The best turkey cooking times for your bird, plus a handy chart!

You&rsquove prepped your Thanksgiving pies, assembled the green bean casserole and your make-ahead gravy is ready for serving. Now it&rsquos time to tackle that Thanksgiving turkey. Determining how long to cook a turkey will anchor your entire Thanksgiving Day timeline, so it&rsquos crucial to learn exactly when to put that bird in the oven, and when to take it out for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Quick note: The temperature of your turkey is really the best way to tell if it&rsquos done, rather than how much time it&rsquos been in the oven. So, invest in a great meat thermometer and stop stressing about undercooked poultry for good.

Turkey cooking times depend on the size of your bird and what temperature you cook your turkey. A 12-pound bird will cook more quickly than a 20-pound monster, which is just one of the reasons why we suggest buying two smaller birds (or cooking one whole turkey and one turkey breast) if you&rsquore feeding a crowd. The longer the bird stays in the oven, the more likely it is to dry out. If you cook a turkey at 325 or 350℉, it will take longer to cook than at higher temperatures. The Test Kitchen agrees that 375℉ is the best temperature to cook a turkey, because it&rsquos not too hot, not too cold, and cooks quickly enough to ensure that a juicy, flavorful bird is ready by dinnertime.

When it&rsquos finally Turkey Day, turn your oven on to 375°F and roast the bird using our chart&rsquos cooking times as a guide. When it&rsquos done, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey&rsquos thigh should register 165°F. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 25 minutes before carving, serving, and enjoying.


How Long To Cook a Turkey per Pound

The best turkey cooking times for your bird, plus a handy chart!

You&rsquove prepped your Thanksgiving pies, assembled the green bean casserole and your make-ahead gravy is ready for serving. Now it&rsquos time to tackle that Thanksgiving turkey. Determining how long to cook a turkey will anchor your entire Thanksgiving Day timeline, so it&rsquos crucial to learn exactly when to put that bird in the oven, and when to take it out for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Quick note: The temperature of your turkey is really the best way to tell if it&rsquos done, rather than how much time it&rsquos been in the oven. So, invest in a great meat thermometer and stop stressing about undercooked poultry for good.

Turkey cooking times depend on the size of your bird and what temperature you cook your turkey. A 12-pound bird will cook more quickly than a 20-pound monster, which is just one of the reasons why we suggest buying two smaller birds (or cooking one whole turkey and one turkey breast) if you&rsquore feeding a crowd. The longer the bird stays in the oven, the more likely it is to dry out. If you cook a turkey at 325 or 350℉, it will take longer to cook than at higher temperatures. The Test Kitchen agrees that 375℉ is the best temperature to cook a turkey, because it&rsquos not too hot, not too cold, and cooks quickly enough to ensure that a juicy, flavorful bird is ready by dinnertime.

When it&rsquos finally Turkey Day, turn your oven on to 375°F and roast the bird using our chart&rsquos cooking times as a guide. When it&rsquos done, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey&rsquos thigh should register 165°F. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 25 minutes before carving, serving, and enjoying.


How Long To Cook a Turkey per Pound

The best turkey cooking times for your bird, plus a handy chart!

You&rsquove prepped your Thanksgiving pies, assembled the green bean casserole and your make-ahead gravy is ready for serving. Now it&rsquos time to tackle that Thanksgiving turkey. Determining how long to cook a turkey will anchor your entire Thanksgiving Day timeline, so it&rsquos crucial to learn exactly when to put that bird in the oven, and when to take it out for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Quick note: The temperature of your turkey is really the best way to tell if it&rsquos done, rather than how much time it&rsquos been in the oven. So, invest in a great meat thermometer and stop stressing about undercooked poultry for good.

Turkey cooking times depend on the size of your bird and what temperature you cook your turkey. A 12-pound bird will cook more quickly than a 20-pound monster, which is just one of the reasons why we suggest buying two smaller birds (or cooking one whole turkey and one turkey breast) if you&rsquore feeding a crowd. The longer the bird stays in the oven, the more likely it is to dry out. If you cook a turkey at 325 or 350℉, it will take longer to cook than at higher temperatures. The Test Kitchen agrees that 375℉ is the best temperature to cook a turkey, because it&rsquos not too hot, not too cold, and cooks quickly enough to ensure that a juicy, flavorful bird is ready by dinnertime.

When it&rsquos finally Turkey Day, turn your oven on to 375°F and roast the bird using our chart&rsquos cooking times as a guide. When it&rsquos done, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey&rsquos thigh should register 165°F. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 25 minutes before carving, serving, and enjoying.


How Long To Cook a Turkey per Pound

The best turkey cooking times for your bird, plus a handy chart!

You&rsquove prepped your Thanksgiving pies, assembled the green bean casserole and your make-ahead gravy is ready for serving. Now it&rsquos time to tackle that Thanksgiving turkey. Determining how long to cook a turkey will anchor your entire Thanksgiving Day timeline, so it&rsquos crucial to learn exactly when to put that bird in the oven, and when to take it out for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Quick note: The temperature of your turkey is really the best way to tell if it&rsquos done, rather than how much time it&rsquos been in the oven. So, invest in a great meat thermometer and stop stressing about undercooked poultry for good.

Turkey cooking times depend on the size of your bird and what temperature you cook your turkey. A 12-pound bird will cook more quickly than a 20-pound monster, which is just one of the reasons why we suggest buying two smaller birds (or cooking one whole turkey and one turkey breast) if you&rsquore feeding a crowd. The longer the bird stays in the oven, the more likely it is to dry out. If you cook a turkey at 325 or 350℉, it will take longer to cook than at higher temperatures. The Test Kitchen agrees that 375℉ is the best temperature to cook a turkey, because it&rsquos not too hot, not too cold, and cooks quickly enough to ensure that a juicy, flavorful bird is ready by dinnertime.

When it&rsquos finally Turkey Day, turn your oven on to 375°F and roast the bird using our chart&rsquos cooking times as a guide. When it&rsquos done, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey&rsquos thigh should register 165°F. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 25 minutes before carving, serving, and enjoying.


How Long To Cook a Turkey per Pound

The best turkey cooking times for your bird, plus a handy chart!

You&rsquove prepped your Thanksgiving pies, assembled the green bean casserole and your make-ahead gravy is ready for serving. Now it&rsquos time to tackle that Thanksgiving turkey. Determining how long to cook a turkey will anchor your entire Thanksgiving Day timeline, so it&rsquos crucial to learn exactly when to put that bird in the oven, and when to take it out for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Quick note: The temperature of your turkey is really the best way to tell if it&rsquos done, rather than how much time it&rsquos been in the oven. So, invest in a great meat thermometer and stop stressing about undercooked poultry for good.

Turkey cooking times depend on the size of your bird and what temperature you cook your turkey. A 12-pound bird will cook more quickly than a 20-pound monster, which is just one of the reasons why we suggest buying two smaller birds (or cooking one whole turkey and one turkey breast) if you&rsquore feeding a crowd. The longer the bird stays in the oven, the more likely it is to dry out. If you cook a turkey at 325 or 350℉, it will take longer to cook than at higher temperatures. The Test Kitchen agrees that 375℉ is the best temperature to cook a turkey, because it&rsquos not too hot, not too cold, and cooks quickly enough to ensure that a juicy, flavorful bird is ready by dinnertime.

When it&rsquos finally Turkey Day, turn your oven on to 375°F and roast the bird using our chart&rsquos cooking times as a guide. When it&rsquos done, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey&rsquos thigh should register 165°F. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 25 minutes before carving, serving, and enjoying.


How Long To Cook a Turkey per Pound

The best turkey cooking times for your bird, plus a handy chart!

You&rsquove prepped your Thanksgiving pies, assembled the green bean casserole and your make-ahead gravy is ready for serving. Now it&rsquos time to tackle that Thanksgiving turkey. Determining how long to cook a turkey will anchor your entire Thanksgiving Day timeline, so it&rsquos crucial to learn exactly when to put that bird in the oven, and when to take it out for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Quick note: The temperature of your turkey is really the best way to tell if it&rsquos done, rather than how much time it&rsquos been in the oven. So, invest in a great meat thermometer and stop stressing about undercooked poultry for good.

Turkey cooking times depend on the size of your bird and what temperature you cook your turkey. A 12-pound bird will cook more quickly than a 20-pound monster, which is just one of the reasons why we suggest buying two smaller birds (or cooking one whole turkey and one turkey breast) if you&rsquore feeding a crowd. The longer the bird stays in the oven, the more likely it is to dry out. If you cook a turkey at 325 or 350℉, it will take longer to cook than at higher temperatures. The Test Kitchen agrees that 375℉ is the best temperature to cook a turkey, because it&rsquos not too hot, not too cold, and cooks quickly enough to ensure that a juicy, flavorful bird is ready by dinnertime.

When it&rsquos finally Turkey Day, turn your oven on to 375°F and roast the bird using our chart&rsquos cooking times as a guide. When it&rsquos done, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey&rsquos thigh should register 165°F. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 25 minutes before carving, serving, and enjoying.


How Long To Cook a Turkey per Pound

The best turkey cooking times for your bird, plus a handy chart!

You&rsquove prepped your Thanksgiving pies, assembled the green bean casserole and your make-ahead gravy is ready for serving. Now it&rsquos time to tackle that Thanksgiving turkey. Determining how long to cook a turkey will anchor your entire Thanksgiving Day timeline, so it&rsquos crucial to learn exactly when to put that bird in the oven, and when to take it out for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Quick note: The temperature of your turkey is really the best way to tell if it&rsquos done, rather than how much time it&rsquos been in the oven. So, invest in a great meat thermometer and stop stressing about undercooked poultry for good.

Turkey cooking times depend on the size of your bird and what temperature you cook your turkey. A 12-pound bird will cook more quickly than a 20-pound monster, which is just one of the reasons why we suggest buying two smaller birds (or cooking one whole turkey and one turkey breast) if you&rsquore feeding a crowd. The longer the bird stays in the oven, the more likely it is to dry out. If you cook a turkey at 325 or 350℉, it will take longer to cook than at higher temperatures. The Test Kitchen agrees that 375℉ is the best temperature to cook a turkey, because it&rsquos not too hot, not too cold, and cooks quickly enough to ensure that a juicy, flavorful bird is ready by dinnertime.

When it&rsquos finally Turkey Day, turn your oven on to 375°F and roast the bird using our chart&rsquos cooking times as a guide. When it&rsquos done, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey&rsquos thigh should register 165°F. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 25 minutes before carving, serving, and enjoying.