How to cook a turkey & How long does it takes?

How to cook a turkey

Turkey Cooking Tips
Turkey Cooking Tips Image Credits:

How to cook a turkey: Cooking a turkey can seem intimidating, but with a few basic steps and some patience, you can make a delicious and impressive main course for any holiday or special occasion. Here’s a detailed guide to cooking a turkey:


  • Whole turkey
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil or melted butter
  • Stuffing (optional)


  • Roasting pan with rack
  • Meat thermometer
  • Basting brush
  • Aluminum foil
  • Carving knife

How to cook a turkey Steps:

Thaw the turkey:

If your turkey is frozen, it will need to be fully thawed before cooking. Thawing time can vary depending on the size of the turkey, but as a general rule, you should allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator, allowing it to sit on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any juices that may leak.

Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C):

This is the ideal temperature for cooking a turkey. Preheating the oven ensures that it reaches the correct temperature before you put the turkey in.

Prepare the turkey:

Remove the turkey from its packaging, and remove any giblets and the neck from the cavity. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Season the turkey generously with salt and pepper, both inside and out. You can also rub the turkey with olive oil or melted butter to help it brown and crisp up.

Stuff the turkey (optional):

If you’re planning to stuff the turkey, do so just before roasting. Stuffing can be made with a variety of ingredients, such as bread, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Be sure to stuff the turkey loosely, as stuffing that is too tightly packed can slow down the cooking process and lead to uneven cooking.

Place the turkey in a roasting pan:

Place the turkey in a roasting pan with a rack to keep it off the bottom of the pan. This allows the air to circulate around the turkey and helps it cook more evenly. Tuck the wings under the body of the turkey and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.

Roast the turkey:

Place the roasting pan in the preheated oven, and roast the turkey until the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (74°C). As a general rule, you can plan for about 13 minutes of cooking time per pound of turkey. However, other factors such as whether the turkey is stuffed or not, can affect the cooking time. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes with the pan juices or with melted butter, to help keep it moist and flavorful.

Check the turkey’s internal temperature:

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey, without touching the bone. The temperature should read at least 165°F (74°C). If the temperature is lower, then the turkey needs to be cooked for longer.

Let the turkey rest:

Once the turkey is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the turkey, making it more moist and flavorful.

Carve the turkey:

Use a sharp carving knife to carve the turkey, starting with the breast meat and then moving on to the legs and thighs. Serve with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!

Overall, cooking a turkey takes some time and effort, but the end result is a delicious and impressive main course that is perfect for any special occasion. Remember to follow food safety guidelines and use a meat thermometer to ensure that your turkey is fully cooked and safe to eat.

Also Read: How To Steam Carrots?

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