how to cook

How Long To Cook Per Pound Of Turkey: An Essential Guide For Thanksgiving

These Charts Will Save You From All The Stress On Thanksgiving Turkey from Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that...

Written by Margareth Issiah · 2 min read >
These Charts Will Save You From All The Stress On Thanksgiving Turkey from

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that means it’s time to start planning your turkey feast. But how long to cook per pound of turkey? It’s a question many home cooks ask when preparing the holiday’s main course.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The cooking time for a turkey will depend on the size of the bird, the temperature of your oven, and even the type of stuffing you use. So, to ensure your turkey turns out perfectly, it’s important to understand the basics of turkey cooking.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how long to cook per pound of turkey. We’ll also provide some helpful tips to make sure your turkey is juicy, flavorful, and ready to be enjoyed by your family and friends. Let’s get started!

Estimating Cooking Time for Your Turkey

The most important factor in estimating the cooking time for your turkey is its size. Generally, a turkey should be cooked for 15 minutes per pound at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you’re cooking a 10-pound turkey, you’ll want to cook it for about 2 1/2 hours.

Keep in mind that this is just a general guideline. Depending on your oven, the exact cooking time may vary. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to start checking the turkey’s temperature after 2 hours of cooking.

Checking the Internal Temperature

When it comes to cooking a turkey, the most important thing is to make sure the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. To check the internal temperature, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey’s thigh. If the temperature is lower than 165 degrees, continue cooking and check the temperature again in 15 minutes.

Another important factor to consider is the type of stuffing you’re using. If you’re using a stuffing that contains raw eggs or dairy, you’ll need to cook the turkey longer to ensure the stuffing reaches a safe temperature.

Tips for Perfectly Cooked Turkey

Now that you know how to estimate the cooking time for your turkey, here are some tips to help ensure it turns out perfectly.

1. Start with a thawed turkey.

Make sure your turkey is completely thawed before cooking. This will ensure even cooking and prevent the turkey from drying out. If you’re starting with a frozen turkey, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before cooking.

2. Remove the giblets.

Remove the giblets from the turkey before cooking. They’re usually located in a bag inside the cavity of the bird. If you’re not using the giblets in your stuffing, discard them.

3. Use a roasting pan.

A roasting pan is the best way to cook a turkey. The pan should be large enough to hold the bird and have at least two inches of space between the turkey and the sides of the pan. This will allow the heat to circulate evenly and prevent the turkey from drying out.

4. Add some moisture.

To ensure your turkey is juicy and flavorful, add some moisture to the pan. You can do this by adding stock or water to the bottom of the pan or by basting the turkey with a mixture of butter and herbs.

5. Don’t open the oven door.

Every time you open the oven door, the temperature drops and it takes time for the oven to heat back up. To ensure even cooking, try to avoid opening the oven door during cooking. If you need to check on the turkey’s temperature, use a thermometer and insert it through the oven door.

How Long to Cook Per Pound of Turkey Table

Weight of Turkey Cooking Time (minutes)
4-8 pounds 60-90 minutes
8-12 pounds 90-120 minutes
12-14 pounds 120-150 minutes
14-18 pounds 150-180 minutes
18-20 pounds 180-210 minutes


Cooking a turkey can be intimidating, but with the right information and a little practice, you can master the art of cooking the perfect turkey. Remember to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature and keep an eye on the time.

And don’t forget to have fun! After all, cooking is one of the best ways to bring people together. So, break out the oven mitts and start prepping for your Thanksgiving feast. As the old saying goes, “It’s never too early to start counting your blessings.”

And if things get too stressful, just try to remember: “Don’t worry, be turkey.”

Leave a Reply