Roast Turkey Time: How Long Should You Roast Your Turkey?

Cooking the turkey to the right temperature is crucial

Cook a delicious and moist turkey this holiday.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it’s time to get the menu finalized and organize the day’s festivities. With the holiday comes added stress, and while trying to split your time between entertaining guests and cooking about a dozen dishes, sometimes it’s hard to not feel overwhelmed and let a few things slip. But it’s important to not overlook one of the most important parts of the day — the turkey. Cooking the turkey to the right temperature is crucial to achieving moist and succulent meat. We’ve rounded up a helpful and easy-to-follow chart to ensure you cook the best turkey.

Click here to see the 10 Great Stuffing Recipes (Slideshow)

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.

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

Although your turkey may be golden brown, remember that the only true test to tell if a turkey is done is by taking the internal temperature. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, making sure that the internal temperature reads 165 degrees.  To get an accurate reading, make sure that the thermometer is calibrated correctly and is not touching bone. If your turkey is stuffed, the temperature of the stuffing should read 165 degrees. When the turkey is done, let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving to redistribute the juices and make carving easier.

Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.


For more turkey talk, head over to The Daily Meal's Guide to Thanksgiving