Before you begin cooking your turkey, you’ll want to know how long it should take to cook it thoroughly. The temperature inside the bird should be 165 deg F or 74 oC to be safe, although you can use an oven-proof thermometer to check the temperature. To be sure, you should insert the probe into the thickest part of the thigh, which takes the longest to cook. To avoid overcooking your turkey, make sure you check the temperature underneath the wing, as well.
When it comes to roasting a turkey, the cooking time will vary depending on the size of the bird. The following cooking times are based on an unstuffed, whole turkey roasted in a preheated 350-degree oven. Generally speaking, one to one and a half pounds of turkey will serve one or two people. If you plan to make turkey soup or sandwiches for the remainder of the meal, a pound of unstuffed turkey should be sufficient.
The cooking time for a 14-pound turkey can be divided into two stages. First, it should undergo a partial thaw, so the flavors will adhere better to the turkey. Thawing also helps you prepare side dishes. Once the bird has finished cooking, it will need to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. This resting period is essential, as seasoning won’t stick well to a frozen turkey. The resting period will give you time to prepare them.
Once the turkey has reached a desirable temperature, it can be resting in the oven for an additional 30 minutes or so. Once the skin has become golden brown, you can remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to rest. Let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. Resting the turkey will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and make carving it easier. Then, it’s ready to serve.
Besides cooking the turkey to 165 degrees, it should be stuffed as well. Unstuffed turkeys need an additional 30 minutes of cooking time. This will increase the cooking time if the bird is larger than 16 inches. You should check for 165 degrees in several places before transferring it to a casserole dish or carving it. If the stuffing is done, remove the turkey from the oven. It will stay warm for another 15 minutes or so.
A full-sized turkey can take several days to thaw. If you’re preparing a turkey for Thanksgiving, you’ll want to make sure it’s completely defrosted before cooking. A whole-sized turkey, which weighs about 19 pounds, needs around 24 hours to thaw in the refrigerator. The actual thawing time will vary, depending on your refrigerator’s temperature settings. If you plan on thawing your turkey before cooking it, remember to check its cooking time before you start preparing it.
To determine if your turkey is done, you’ll need an instant-read thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the bird. You don’t want to hit the bone! When it reaches 165 degrees, it’s ready. Using an instant-read thermometer will help you determine the precise turkey cooking time that is right for your family. Keep in mind that you’ll need to roast it for 15-20 minutes more per pound if you have stuffing.