“Timing’s NOT everything”
Are Cooking Faster Than Before. But "timing's NOT everything."
Recommended cooking techniques must also be followed. A meat
thermometer should be used to ensure a sufficient internal temperature
has been reached to destroy bacteria and prevent foodborne illness
-- as well as to prevent overcooking.
variables can affect the roasting time of the whole bird:
A partially frozen bird requires longer cooking.
roasting pans cook faster than shiny metals.
depth and size of the pan can reduce heat circulation to all
areas of the bird.
use of a foil tent for the entire time can slow cooking.
of the roasting pan's lid speeds cooking.
oven-cooking bag can accelerate cooking time.
stuffed bird takes longer to cook.
may heat food unevenly.
of the oven's thermostat may be inaccurate.
rack position can have an effect on even cooking and heat circulation.
turkey or its pan may be too large for the oven, thus blocking
How do the weight, surface area, and thickness influence the
turkey's cooking time?
Instructions for Safety and Doneness:
Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F. Preheating
is not necessary.
Be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Times are based on
fresh or completely thawed frozen birds at a refrigerator temperature
of 40 °F or below.
Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow
roasting pan 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep.
wing tips back under shoulders of bird (called "akimbo").
1/2 cup water to the bottom of the pan.
the beginning, a tent of aluminum foil may be placed loosely
over the breast of the turkey for the first 1 to 1 1/2 hours,
then removed for browning. Or, a tent of foil may be placed
over the turkey after the turkey has reached the desired golden
If a meat thermometer is not available, cook stuffing in a casserole.
Mix ingredients just before stuffing a turkey; stuff loosely.
Additional time is required for the turkey and stuffing to reach
a safe internal temperature (see chart below).
For safety and doneness, the internal temperature should be
checked with a meat thermometer.
The temperature must reach 180 °F in the thigh of a whole
turkey (center of the stuffing should reach 165 °F) before
removing it from the oven. Cook a turkey breast to 170 °F.
Juices should be clear. In the absence of a meat thermometer,
pierce an unstuffed turkey with a fork in several places; juices
should be clear with no trace of pink.
Let the bird stand 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.
to 12 lbs...............3 to 3 1/2 hrs
to 14 lbs..............3 1/2 to 4 hrs
to 18 lbs..............4 to 4 1/4 hrs
to 20 lbs........4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hrs
to 24 lbs........4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hrs
Food Safety and Inspection Service,
Food Safety Education & Communications Staff