How Long Does It Take to Cook a Turkey? Christmas Turkey Tips and Recipes

It’s Turkey Frying Time: How to Deep-Fry a Turkey without Over-Cooking It

Christmas turkey is the centerpiece of any Christmas dinner. With a number of dishes lined up, cooking a turkey to perfection can be a tedious task. If turkey is on your mind for Christmas 2016 but you are worried about how long will it take to cook the it, read on to find out everything you need to know about cooking the big bird.

How Long Does It Take to Cook a Turkey?

Knowing how much the turkey weighs will be an added advantage to know how long will it take to cook. The best way to find out if the turkey is cooked is by checking the temperature. According to the USDA, the turkey is safe to eat if cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F as measured with a food thermometer. You need to check the temperature of the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The minimum internal temperature should reach 165°F for safety.

The cooking time for unstuffed, stuffed, and frozen turkey will not be the same. The following table shows the cooking time as per USDA standards using a 325°F oven and a fully defrosted or fresh bird. A frozen turkey will take at least 50% longer than the recommended times.

Unstuffed  Time
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1 ½ to 3 ¼ hours
8 to 12 2 ¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 3 to 3 ¾ hours
14 to 18 3 ¾ to 4 ¼ hours
18 to 20 4 ¼ to 4 ½ hours
20 to 24 4 ½ to 5 hours


Stuffed Time
4 to 6 pounds (breast) Usually not applicable
6 to 8 pounds (breast) 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours
8 to 12 3 to 3 ½ hours
12 to 14 3 ½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 4 to 4 ¼ hours
18 to 20 4 ¼ to 4 ¾ hours
20 to 24 4 ¾ to 5 ¼ hours

Cooking a Turkey in a Convection Oven

The turkey will cook faster in a 325°F convection oven.

8 lbs: 1.25 hours
12 lbs: 1.75 hours
14 lbs: 2 hours
18 lbs: 3 hours
20 lbs: 4 hours
24 lbs: 4.25 hours

Cooking a Turkey On The Grill

8 lbs: 90 mins
12 lbs: 135 mins
14 lbs: 180 mins
18 lbs: 210 mins
20 lbs: 225 mins

Cooking a Turkey on the Grill

As per web site, a deep-fried turkey takes about three to five minutes per pound when cooked in 350°F oil.

After the turkey is cooked ensure you rest it for at least 30 minutes to that the juices get reabsorbed into the meat. It will also make carving the bird much easier.



Aiken, K., “How Long To Cook A Turkey Per Pound,” Huffington Post web site, November 16, 2016;, last accessed December 23, 2016