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Cooking the Turkey

Cooking your turkey to the proper temperature is the key to destroying harmful bacteria. If your turkey does not reach the proper temperature dangerous bacteria will not be killed and may cause FBI.

When cooking turkey, it must reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast..

If the turkey has a pop-up temperature indicator, it is also recommended that you verify the temperature with a food thermometer. It is always a good idea to verify the temperature in several places.

Here are a few factors that may affect the cooking time:
  • A frozen, or partially frozen turkey takes longer to cook
  • A turkey will cook more quickly in a dark roasting pan
  • Using a foil tent for the entire cooking process may slow the cooking time
    • You may use a foil tent for the first 1-1 ½ hours, then remove for remaining cooking time
  • An oven cooking bag will shorten the cooking time
  • A stuffed turkey will take longer to cook
Approximate Cooking Times

The following times are only guidelines, you must use a food thermometer to determine if the turkey is completely cooked.

(For completely thawed turkeys)


8-12 pounds 2 to 3 hours
12-14 pounds 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14-18 pounds 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18-20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
20-24 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 hours


8-12 pounds 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12-14 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14-18 pounds 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18-20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20-24 pounds 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours

Download free food safety brochures here
Home Cooking Tips
Did You Know?
The average used kitchen sponge has 7.2 billion bacteria.
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