How long will my turkey take to cook?  

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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A lot of you wrote in asking for times for your specific turkey size. Use the USDA chart below as a guide–we all need to have some idea in order to plan the rest of the meal. This chart assumes you are cooking the turkey at 325°F (which the USDA recommends as the minimum oven temperature to use). But keep in mind–this chart is a guide only, and you need to take the turkey's temperature with a thermometer to check for doneness.

Timetables for Turkey Roasting (325°F oven temperature)
Use the timetables below to determine how long to cook your turkey. These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing.

Unstuffed 
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 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 
4 to 6 pounds (breast) Not usually applicable
6 to 8 pounds (breast) 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


For more information, see Top Turkey Questions Answered.

Marge Perry
Dec, 2013
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