Cooking a turkey whole may seem like a challenge many people dread come holiday season. Turkey is indeed an essential course at your holiday meal table, so you need to plan a perfect timing for your bird to be ready just when your guests are ready to eat it.

Method Timing
Unstaffed whole turkey 2.5 hours for a ten-pound turkey. Add 15 minutes per each additional pound of weight.
Stuffed whole turkey Add 5 minutes per pound to that of unstuffed turkey
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There are basically two things that factor in calculating the time you need to have your turkey properly baked in an oven. The first being how much your bird weighs and the second whether you’re cooking it stuffed or not.

The minimum recommended temperature for turkey meat when it’s all done is 165F. That’s why I strongly recommend using a kitchen thermometer when you cook your turkey. Stick it in the thickest part of meat, it will be either a thigh or a breast, to check for readiness. Now, as for hours and minutes count, a 10 pound turkey should sit in the oven for at least 2.5 hours. Then you should add 15 minutes per pound. 

So, a 20 pound turkey will be cooked in about 5 hours. Those figures are for unstuffed turkey. If you’re getting your bird stuffed, add about 5 minutes of cooking for each 2-3 pounds of turkey weight. Since it’s a longish run, I’d recommend setting up a timer. Besides, you’ll be definitely busy with making other dishes and following a dozen recipes at once, you might need it.

Turkey meat is usually lean and juicy, so if you happen to cook it a bit longer than you planned, it’s actually okay, especially since you’re cooking a whole bird, there’s little danger of having it overcooked. But undercooked turkey meat is just to rubbery and tastes bland.

Want to learn how to cook a turkey? View Recipe ?

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