Turkey is a juicy, delicious holiday centerpiece for some, while it is merely a vehicle for gravy for others. Turkey, however, tends towards excellence if you know the right temperature to cook it at and proper roasting techniques.
You can always rely on our foolproof cooking instructions, whether you’re a seasoned turkey-cooking pro or a rookie preparing a whole turkey for the first time. Also, take note of the ideal cooking duration that will help you get great results with your recipe.
Turkey Nutrition Facts
Tips for Cooking a 22Lb Turkey
The tips and recommendations below will help you get great results with your large turkey recipes:
How to calculate cooking time and temperature – Calculate 13 minutes per pound at 350°F for unstuffed turkeys (about 3 hours for a 12- to 14-pound turkey) or 15 minutes per pound for stuffed turkeys to determine appropriate roasting times.
Roast the turkey until the thermometer reads 165°F (or 150°F, as the case may be). You can check this temperature at the thickest part of the thigh meat and the thickest part of the breast flesh, at approximately ¾ of the total cooking time, and then every 10 minutes after that.
How to thaw – The refrigerator is the best place to thaw a frozen turkey, which can take up to a week, depending on the size of the bird. A 22-pound turkey typically takes about 5 to 6 days to thaw in the fridge.
If you’re pressed for time, there are other, quicker methods for defrosting a turkey, but when it comes to safe cooking practices, thawing it in the refrigerator is your best bet.
Always air out your turkey – When it’s time to cook your turkey, remove it from the fridge and place it on a rack at room temperature for an hour. This will help to remove the chill and dry off the skin. (You don’t need to use another dish; you can make use of the same rack you’ll roast your turkey on.) The bottom of the turkey should sit at or just below the top of the pan on your roasting rack). If you have no roasting rack, it’s also possible to use a heavy-duty cooling rack inside a half-sheet pan.
How to butter your turkey – Place the turkey breast side up on the roasting rack and brush it with room-temperature salted butter (or your favorite choice of flavored compound butter). You’ll need about ½ cup (1 stick) of butter for a 12- to 14-pound turkey.
Starting at the neck, slowly slide your fingers under the skin, be mindful not to rip or separate the skin completely at the large cavity. The majority of the butter should be rubbed under the skin, with a small amount going into the large cavity. The remaining butter should be rubbed over the skin.
How to season your turkey – 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper in the big cavity and another 1½ teaspoons each over the skin is adequate for a 12- to 14-pound bird. There’s no need to add salt to the cavity of kosher turkeys that have already been salted, but you may add salt to the skin. You can skip this last seasoning if you’ve opted to brine your turkey (either using wet or dry brine).
How to work with stuffing – Stuffing the neck cavity of the turkey (rather than the main cavity) with a half apple and pressing the sliced side against the turkey’s flesh with the rounded side facing out protects the breast from overcooking. Filling the primary cavity with stuffing, on the other hand, will just prolong the cooking time.
Instead, prepare the filling separately in a casserole dish. To restore the juices that the stuffing would have absorbed in the cavity, add some chicken stock. For added taste, sauté the turkey liver, gizzard, and neck in butter before cutting them up and adding them to your dressing. The stuffing will be nearly as rich as if it had been roasted in the turkey.
Safe minimum internal temperature – A turkey must be roasted to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F to kill all microorganisms. Before you remove the turkey from the oven, it must achieve this minimum temperature, according to the USDA. The temperature will gradually rise to roughly 180°F as it rests. Some people prefer to pull the bird out around 150°F for juicier meat, as the temperature will only rise to 165°F in this case while it rests.
Make sure to use a thermometer – Use an accurate food thermometer to ensure the ultimate temperature, regardless of the turkey roasting temperature you chose. Home cooks used to judge doneness by the color of the meat: the turkey was pierced with a knife, and if the juices were clear rather than pink, it was considered done. However, for a variety of reasons, this is not a reliable strategy.
Before a safe temperature is attained, the pinkness may fade. On the other hand, even if cooked too much above 165°F, certain turkeys (especially organic and heritage birds) may never lose their pink color.
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Cooking time for a 22Lb Turkey
The timing guidelines in the table below will help you when cooking a 22 lb turkey, so pay close attention:
|Cooking temperature||Cooking time|
|425°F||Cook for 4 to 4¼ hours|
|400°F||Cook for 4¼ to 4½ hours|
|350°F||Cook for 4½ to 4¾ hours|
|325°F||Cook for 4¾ to 5 hours|
Cooking a really large bird, such as a 22-pound turkey, is a lot of work but can be quite rewarding. It’s a good idea to make things easier for yourself by having the right information at hand for the best results.
We’re sure you don’t want to go through all that stress of cooking a large turkey, only to be left with a less-than-perfect bird that would leave your guests unimpressed. All the information that this article provides will help you prevent that; pay special attention to the timing guidelines to have tasty, safe-to-eat results.