Safe Handling and Roasting of the Turkey Tips

Cooking and Food Safety Tip of the Day

According to….

Safe Handling

Always wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling the turkey. I use anti-bacterial soap.

Reminder: NEVER defrost the turkey on the counter… see my previous post on how to thaw your turkey.

Cooking Time and Temperature

Remember: No matter the cooking method you choose, you must cook it to the proper internal temperature as measured by a food thermometer. If you need information about the types of food thermometers that are available… please see my post titiled “Using Thermometers”. A stuffed turkey will take extra time to cook.

I decided to focus on the cooking method of roasting. You MUST take the temperature… to do that… you insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Make sure you the thermometer isn’t touching the bone.

Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. Cook the turkey to a temperature 165 degrees F in the breast (some people prefer higher temperature… which is fine…. just don’t exceed 170 degrees F.) The thigh temperature should also be 165 degrees F, but not to exceed 180 degrees F.

If the turkey is done but the stuffing has not yet reached 165 degrees F, remove the stuffing from the turkey and place it in a greased casserole dish and return it to the oven, cook until the temperature is at 165 degrees F.

The following is a timetable, provided by, to estimate approximate cooking time.

Thermal/Convection Oven Open Pan Method Timetable for Roasting a Turkey at 325 degrees F.

Unstuffed Turkey

8-12 pounds…… 2 ¾ to 3 hours
12-14 pounds…. 3 to 3 ¾ hours
14-18 pounds…. 3 ¾ to 4 ¼ hours
18-20 pounds…. 4 ¼ to 4 ½ hours
20-24 pounds…. 4 ½ to 5 hours

Stuffed Turkey

8-12 pounds…… 3 to 3 ½ hours
12-14 pounds…. 3 ½ to 4 hours
14-18 pounds…. 4 to 4 ¼ hours
18-20 pounds…. 4 ¼ to 4 ¾ hours
20-24 pounds 4 ¾ to 5 ¼ hours

Convection Oven Open Pan Method Roasting Guidelines for a Fresh/Thawed Turkey at 300 degrees F.

Unstuffed Turkey

14-18 pounds…. 2 ½ to 3 ¼ hours
18-22 pounds…. 3 ¼ to 3 ½ hours

Stuffed Turkey

14-18 pounds…. 3 to 3 ¼ hours
18-22 pounds…. 3 ¼ to 3 ¾ hours

REMEMBER: I can’t stress this enough… you need to check the temperature with a thermometer to ensure its safe to eat.

Photo from Williams Sonoma ... see their website for their Instant Read Digital Thermometer

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