Turkey is one of the main dishes on the Thanksgiving table and cooking it properly is a challenge for home cooks. The bird does not need to spend the whole day in the oven, but several hours and a little rest time on the counterr.

We review how long and what temperature it really takes to safely cook a turkey and get a juicy bird.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adjust oven temperature to at least 325°F. Place completely thawed turkey in 2 to 2-1/2-inch deep roasting pan or pan.

The cooking time will depend on the weight of the turkey and whether it is stuffed. According to Epicurious, the easiest way to measure turkey cooking times is to estimate 13 minutes per pound at 350°F for an unstuffed turkey (approximately 3 hours for a 12- to 14-pound turkey), or 15 minutes per pound for a stuffed turkey.

Use a food thermometer to Make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F. Insert the thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and into the thickest part of the breast. If the turkey is stuffed, attach the thermometer to verify that the safe temperature has been reached.

Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before removing all the stuffing and slicing the meat. This will allow the stuffing to cook a bit longer and make the turkey easier to carve.

Cook the filling before

The CDC notes that it is safer to cook the stuffing in a saucepan rather than inside the turkey. Cooking the stuffing independently in a saucepan makes it easy to make sure the stuffing is cooked through.

If you cook the stuffing in the turkey, it should be placed in the turkey just before cooking. The FDA suggests avoid compressing stuffing inside the turkey and use about 3/4 cup stuffing for each pound of turkey.

Cooking a Frozen Turkey Without Stuffing

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) notes that it is safe to roast a frozen turkey; however, it will take longer than a fresh or thawed bird.

To determine an approximate cooking time for frozen turkey, add 50 percent of the time it would take to cook a fresh turkey. The time is estimated, the safe temperature must always be verified.
Frozen turkey should not be smoked, broiled, or fried.

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