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:

Unstuffed

 

Stuffed

 
Cooking times are approximates for a 325 °F oven (163 °C)


How Long to Cook a Turkey?

The time it takes to cook a Thanksgiving turkey to perfection will vary by the cooking method. Refer to the charts below to see the turkey cooking times for baking or frying.

Note that 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

Infographic showing how long to cook a turkey in the oven

The time to cook a turkey is usually around 20 minutes per pound for an unstuffed turkey. The actual time it takes to cook a turkey in the oven will vary slightly based on a few factors.

First, the oven temperature will impact the amount of time it will take to roast. Most recipes call for a 325 to 350 degree oven.

Second, the size of the turkey will impact how long it takes to reach the correct internal temperature. According to the USDA, turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 °F.[1]

Third, different ovens vary slightly in temperature. Gas ovens may not even have a temperature rating and may only have low, medium, and high settings.

Due to the variance in turkey size and oven temperatures it’s crucial to use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of poultry before serving.

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.[2]

Turkey cooking time by turkey size when roasting in a 325 degree oven.
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?

Infographic showing how long to deep fry a turkey

Deep frying a turkey requires less time to cook than oven roasting. The time it takes to deep fry a turkey is 3 minutes per pound plus 5 extra minutes in 350 °F cooking oil, according to renowned chef Paula Deen.[3]

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 cook time for turkey when frying 350 °F oil.

Turkey cooking time by turkey size when deep frying in 350 degree 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

References

  1. United States Department of Agriculture, Turkey Basics: Safe Cooking, https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/poultry-preparation/turkey-basics-safe-cooking/CT_Index
  2. 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
  3. Paula Deen, Deep-Fried Turkey, https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/deep-fried-turkey-recipe-1940252