Turkey Cooking Time Calculator – How Long to Cook a Turkey
Do you find yourself asking around to see how long to cook your turkey for? Us too! That’s why we talked to industry experts and chefs and created this tool based on their recommendations.
Cooking Time Estimate:
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How Long Should You Cook a Turkey?
Whether you’re a first-time turkey tamer or a seasoned poultry Picasso, let’s talk turkey! Here’s the lowdown on achieving juicy, succulent meat every time.
The time it takes to cook a Thanksgiving turkey to perfection will vary by the cooking method. If you’re baking or deep-frying, these handy cooking charts will make your turkey the envy of the holiday table.
Note that the times shown are for fully thawed poultry, see how long it will take to thaw using our thawing time calculator.
Time to Cook a Turkey in the Oven
Generally, it takes about 20 minutes per pound to cook unstuffed birds, however, other factors like turkey size and oven temperature variances can still play a critical role in achieving poultry perfection.
Conventional ovens, whether they are gas or electric, call for a standard 325 °F (162 °C) to a 350 °F (177 °C) oven. This ‘low and slow’ method allows for even cooking throughout the bird, which should be cooked to 165 °F (73 °C), according to the USDA.
As previously stated, ovens vary in temperature, and some gas ovens only have basic low, medium, and high settings. It’s worth a few bucks to hang an analog oven thermometer in the center of your oven and experiment with how your oven reads at certain temperatures. This way, you can adjust up or down as necessary.
Turkeys can be quite large and will cook at different rates in different places, so it’s best practice to use a food thermometer to measure for doneness. The best way to get an accurate reading is by placing the probe at the thickest part of the breast, away from any bones.
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Unsure how large your turkey will be? Try our turkey size calculator.
The following chart shows the cooking time for turkey when roasting in the oven at 325 °F.
|Turkey Size||Cooking Time (unstuffed)||Cooking Time (stuffed)|
|4 – 6 lbs||1 ½ – 2 ¼ hours||not applicable|
|6 – 8 lbs||2 ¼ – 3 ¼ hours||3 – 3 ½ hours|
|8 – 12 lbs||2 ¾ – 3 hours||3 – 3 ½ hours|
|12 – 14 lbs||3 – 3 ¾ hours||3 ½ – 4 hours|
|14 – 18 lbs||3 ¾ – 4 ¼ hours||4 – 4 ¼ hours|
|18 – 20 lbs||4 ¼ – 4 ½ hours||4 ¼ – 4 ¾ hours|
|20 – 24 lbs||4 ½ – 5 hours||4 ¾ – 5 ¼ hours|
How Long Does it Take to Deep-Fry a Turkey?
Let’s talk deep frying! The beauty of baking is you can step away for an hour or two while the oven works its magic. This isn’t the case for deep frying a turkey.
Deep frying takes less time and will still produce a juicy turkey with crispy skin, but strict supervision is required at all steps of the cooking process.
That being said, according to Southern Cooking Queen Paula Deen, deep fry your turkey at 350 °F (177 °C) in cooking oil for 3 minutes per pound plus another 5 minutes per bird. Keep your fryer outside on a flat surface, and by all means, make Paula proud by keeping an all-purpose fire extinguisher at the ready.
Deep-fried turkey cooking time formula:
cook time = (lbs × 3) + 5
For example, let’s calculate the cooking time for a 16-pound turkey.
cook time = (16 × 3) + 5
cook time = 48 + 5
cook time = 53 minutes
The following chart shows the cooking time for turkey when frying in 350 °F oil.
|Turkey Size||Frying Time|
|4 – 6 lbs||17 – 23 minutes|
|6 – 8 lbs||23 – 29 minutes|
|8 – 12 lbs||29 – 41 minutes|
|12 – 14 lbs||41 – 47 minutes|
|14 – 18 lbs||47 – 59 minutes|
|18 – 20 lbs||59 – 65 minutes|
|20 – 24 lbs||65 – 77 minutes|
- United States Department of Agriculture, Let's Talk Turkey — A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey, https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/poultry/lets-talk-turkey-roasting
- United States Department of Health & Human Services - FoodSafety.gov, Meat and Poultry Charts, https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/meat-poultry-charts#turkey-roasting-time-by-size
- Paula Deen, Paula Deen's Deep-Fried Turkey, https://peanut-institute.com/recipes/paula-deens-deep-fried-turkey/