turkey

How long should you cook your turkey?

Nov. 1, 2013 at 1:23 PM ET

Turkey Cook Times
Bob Ingelhart/E+/Getty Images /
Turkey Cook Times

Your turkey is thawed, prepped and ready for the oven. So how long do you cook it?

The key to roasting turkey is weight. As a general guide, allow 15 minutes per pound for an unstuffed turkey at 325°F. For a stuffed bird, add another 30 minutes to the total cooking time.

You can roast turkey at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time, but going "low and slow" ensures that it doesn’t dry out or cook unevenly. When roasting, resist the temptation to frequently open the oven to check. This lowers the oven temperature and can extend roasting times (as if it doesn’t take long enough!).

Most importantly, be sure to keep an instant-read (or remote) thermometer on hand to check temperatures. For food safety, the turkey should reach 165°F in the thickest part of the leg. Once it’s up to temp, remove it from the oven and let it rest 20-30 minutes before carving.

Consult our handy chart to determine your bird's cook time:

WeightUnstuffedStuffed
8 to 12 pounds2 3/4 - 3 hours3 - 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds3 - 3 3/4 hours3 1/2 - 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds3 3/4 - 4 1/4 hours4 - 4 1/2 hours
18 to 20 pounds4 1/4 - 4 1/2 hours4 1/4 - 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds4 1/2 - 5 hours4 3/4 - 5 1/4 hours

*For conventional ovens at 325°F. Source: USDA

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

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