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What Temperature Should Turkey Be Cooked To?

The star of the feast must be safe to eat
GMVozd/E+ via Getty Images

There’s no denying that, come Thanksgiving Day, it’s all about the turkey in the oven. But, whether you choose to air-fry, roast or deep-fry your bird, it’s important to know what the internal temperature of it should be prior to carving and serving the protein.

When Should You Buy Your Turkey? And Other Thanksgiving Questions, Answered

While knowing how to choose a turkey is half the battle, the meat can easily be cooked incorrectly come Thanksgiving. Turkey that’s raw in the middle isn’t safe to eat, and turkey oftentimes has a reputation for being dry, not because there’s anything wrong with the bird, but because it’s overcooked.

So, what temperature should turkey be cooked to?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you shouldn’t rely on a pop-up temperature indicator, instead, you should check the internal temperature of the meat with a food thermometer. To do this, put the thermometer in the innermost part of the turkey thigh and wing. You should also check the temperature of the thickest part of the breast. Each of these areas should read at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you avoid hitting bone when checking the temperature.

A turkey that is cooked to temperature properly will be moist, juicy and safe to eat.


Once you know how to safely cook your turkey, you’re going to need some other recipe ideas to take your Thanksgiving spread to the next level. From mashed potatoes and stuffing to turkey and cranberry sauce, these are our 101 best Thanksgiving recipes.