How Long to Cook a Turkey by Pound
Get rid of the guesswork with this foolproof guide to turkey cooking times.
By Leah Brickley and Emily Saladino for Food Network Kitchen
Leah is a contributing writer at Food Network. Emily Saladino is a culinary editor at Food Network.
Cooking turkey can be daunting, whether you've done it countless times, or it's your first year hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Fortunately, if you have a good game plan, you can make sure your turkey comes out of the oven golden brown and perfectly juicy. We consulted the USDA — the authority on turkey talk — to create this handy guideline for turkey cooking success.
Quick Turkey Tips
There's a lot to remember on the big day. Here's a cheat sheet to everything from how much turkey per person to the internal temperature for cooked turkey.
How much turkey per person: Plan on 1 1/2 pounds of (uncooked) turkey per person.
How to thaw turkey that's frozen: Budget enough time for thawing your bird. Here's our thawing guide.
Cooking stuffing: Remember to remove the giblet packet and turkey neck (and make gravy!). It's safer to cook stuffing in a separate baking dish, but if in-the-bird is what you prefer, pack it in loosely — it should register at 165 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer before serving.
Turkey temperature: Use an instant read thermometer to check your turkey's internal temperature. Insert the probe in the deepest part of the thigh — it should register 165 F.
How long to rest turkey: Let turkey turkey rest 20 minutes before carving.
How Long to Cook a Turkey
All times below are based on cooking a turkey at 325 degrees F.
Unstuffed Turkey Cooking Times
4 to 8 pounds (breast only): 1 1/2 to 3 1/4 hours
8 to 12 pounds: 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds: 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds: 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds: 4 1/2 to 5 hours
Stuffed Turkey Cooking Times
6 to 8 pounds (breast only): 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds: 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds: 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds: 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds: 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours
How to Cook a Frozen Turkey
It's safe to cook a completely frozen turkey but it will take at least 50 percent longer than a thawed bird. If cooking from frozen, remove the giblet packet with tongs about halfway through. Cook until the deepest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer.