Turkey Basics: Safe Cooking
thermometer should be used to ensure a safe minimum internal temperature of 165
°F has been reached to destroy bacteria and prevent foodborne illness.
Many variables can affect the roasting time of a whole turkey:
frozen turkey requires longer cooking.
- A stuffed turkey takes longer to cook.
- The oven may heat food unevenly.
- Temperature of the oven may be inaccurate.
- Dark roasting pans cook faster than shiny
- The depth and size of the pan can reduce heat
circulation to all areas of the turkey.
- The use of a foil tent for the entire time
can slow cooking.
- Use of the roasting pan's lid speeds cooking.
- An oven cooking bag can accelerate cooking
- The rack position can have an effect on even
cooking and heat circulation.
- A turkey or its pan may be too large for the
oven, thus blocking heat circulation.
1. Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F. Preheating is not
2. Be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Times are based on fresh or
thawed birds at a refrigerator temperature of 40 °F or below.
3. Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan
2 to 2 1/2 inches deep.
- Tuck wing tips back under shoulders of bird
- Add one-half cup water to the bottom of the
- In the beginning, a tent of aluminum foil may
be placed loosely over the breast of the turkey for the first 1 to 1 1/2
hours, then removed for browning. Or, a tent of foil may be placed over
the turkey after the turkey has reached the desired golden brown color.
4. For optimum safety, cook stuffing in a
casserole. If stuffing your turkey, mix ingredients just
before stuffing it; stuff loosely. Additional time is required for the turkey
and stuffing to reach a safe minimum internal temperature (see chart).
5. For safety and doneness, the internal temperature should be checked with
a food thermometer. The temperature of the turkey and the center of the
stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. Check the
temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part
of the breast.
6. Let the bird stand 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving