Learn How Long to Cook a Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

Don’t know how long to a cook a turkey for Thanksgiving? We’ve got the best guide here
Turkey Cooking Time

Learn how long to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving here.


The best advice we could give this Thanksgiving is teaching you how to cook the Thanksgiving turkey and how to know when it is ready to eat. Thanksgiving will be a pretty sick time (in the literal sense) if the bird is not properly or fully cooked. And since you’re probably not used to cooking such a big piece of poultry on a regular basius.

No matter how big of a bird you have, if you bought it frozen, you must give it time to thaw. You cannot successfully cook a turkey if it isn’t thawed thoroughly. Allow it to thaw in the fridge three days before the big feast. If you find that the day before it is still too frozen, let it thaw in the sink for the entire day.

Roast the turkey at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Then cover the breast area with aluminum foil, reduce heat to 350 degrees, add 2 cups of water or broth to the roasting pan, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. The rule of thumb is about 13 minutes per pound. Baste frequently to promote even browning, but be sure to keep the oven door shut in between bastings so the heat doesn’t escape.

If you are roasting your turkey, cook it until it reaches a light golden color. Then loosely cover it with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of roasting, remove the foil tent and brown the skin. Basting frequently throughout will also promote even browning. These temperatures are based on a 350-degree oven. — Emily Jacobs

Turkey Weight

Roasting Time (Unstuffed)

Roasting Time (Stuffed)  

4 to 6 pounds

1½ to 2 ½ hours

2 ½  to 3 hours

6 to 8 pounds

2 ½ to 3 hours

3 to 3 ½ hours

8 to 12 pounds

3 to 4 hours

3½ to 4½ hours

12 to 16 pounds

4 to 5 hours

4½ to 5½ hours

16 to 20 pounds

5 to 5½ hours

5 ½ to 6 hours

20 to 24 pounds

5½ to 6 hours

6 to 6½ hours



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