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Last Updated: Apr 21st, 2011 - 14:44:53 

Holiday Cooking

Turkey Roasting Times
By The National Turkey Federation
Nov 6, 2006, 12:21 PST

Turkey Roasting Times from the National Turkey Federation

The National Turkey Federation recommends roasting a turkey in a 325 degrees F oven until a meat thermometer indicates the internal temperature registers 180 degrees F in the thigh and 170 degrees F in the breast. Pop-up timers are helpful as a preliminary step in judging the correct temperature, but a meat thermometer is the best final authority to determine doneness.

A shallow roasting pan should be used so oven air can flow completely around the turkey. Pans with sides higher than 1 inch will shield the thickest part of the turkey thighs from the heat, and the thighs will not cook evenly. For easier clean-up, add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan.

If you stuff your bird, stuff it immediately before you place it in the oven. The center of the stuffing must register 160-165 degrees F before removing the turkey from the oven. If you do not stuff your turkey, the addition of 2 cups of coarsely chopped celery, onion and carrots to the cavity will enhance the fragrance and add to the flavor of the pan juices.

The roasting times shown on the chart below reflect the shorter cooking times of the turkeys produced by today's turkey industry. Turkeys today take less time to cook than in the past because new turkey breeds produce a higher proportion of white meat. Since white meat cooks faster than dark meat, care should be taken to follow these guidelines to ensure a moist turkey. Use roasting times as a planning guide only; use a thermometer to determine actual doneness.

"Open Pan Method" NTF Roasting Guidelines for a Fresh or Thawed Turkey
Roast in a 325 degrees F Conventional Oven on the Lowest Oven Rack
Weight Unstuffed Turkey Stuffed Turkey
8 to 12 pounds 2 3/4 to 3 hours 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3 3/4 hours 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 hours 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours
24 to 30 pounds 5 to 5 1/4 hours 5 1/4 to 6 1/4 hours

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