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How Long to Cook a 24-Pound Turkey

Are you making a turkey dinner but don’t know how to calculate the time? You’re not the only one. Turkeys are especially popular during the holidays, so it’s normal to run into panic mode, especially when cooking for a crowd. So, here, we’ll offer you the best guide on making a large 24-pound turkey, including proper cooking times and everything else.

How Long to Cook a 24-Pound Turkey

First Things First!

Before jumping to the recipe, you’ll need a few extra hints. Remember that making a large bird is a lot of work. And you wouldn’t want the recipe to be ruined because you skipped something, would you?

Thaw

And it’s not what you want to have battling a day before the big event, so try planning for the defrosting process. A 24-pound turkey is a mighty bird, so unless you’re cooking it farm-fresh, expect a huge block of frozen meat. A bird this size needs five to six days to thaw fully, so ensure to place it in the fridge a week before cooking. And on a cooking day, air it out on the countertop 30 minutes before the time.

Prepare the Oven

It’s best to cook your turkey low and slow, so start at 350F. The steady heat is perfect for large birds, and you won’t end up with overly browned skin. And the rack should be positioned at the lowest rung for maximum slow-cooking.

 

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Seasoning the Bird

First, rub some butter all over the turkey, then season with salt and pepper. Kosher turkeys are already salted, so only apply some to the skin. And if you’ve brined the turkey beforehand (as almost everyone does), then skip this seasoning step. But you’ll still need the butter smearing- it makes the skin crispy.

Cooking Time for 24 Pound Turkey

At 350F, all turkeys should cook at 13 minutes per pound, and this number is relevant only to the unstuffed birds. We always advise you to cook the bird this way, so it’s faster, but if you’re stuck with the old ways, then it’s 15 minutes per pound. And by this count, a 24-pound turkey will be done in about five hours and 20 minutes- six-hour, if stuffed.

But if you prefer other temperature ranges, consider these parameters instead

  • 325F for five to 5¼ hours
  • 350F for 4¾ to five hours
  • 400F for 4½ to 4¾ hour
  • 425F for 4¼ to 4½ hours

The approved doneness time for turkey is 165F, and anything below it is considered unsafe to eat. But if you worry about overcooking the bird (which happens a lot!), consider taking it out at 150F. Then, tent it loosely with foil during the resting period, so the carryover heat cooks it internally to 165F.

 

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More Tips

  • Cook the stuffing separately so the turkey can roast evenly and quickly. Also, consider stuffing the neck cavity with an apple, so the breast is buffered against heat.
  • Unlike traditional stuffing, aromatic herbs like parsley, celery stalks, quartered onions, black pepper, and smoked paprika are used in the main cavity.
  • Adding vegetables like carrots, celery, and shallots to water in a roasting pan fragrances the bird as it cooks. Plus, it makes the drippings even tastier.
  • Consider covering the turkey with foil at the start, then removing it around half the cooking time. Also, let the shiny side stay up so the heat is deflected. This way, the skin won’t darken too fast.
  • For more moisture, consider basting the turkey with butter and pan juices. Or try sticking butter in a slit just beneath the breast’s skin. You can also cook the bird breast side down, flipping halfway through the time, to self-baste.
  • Always rest your turkey for at least 20 minutes before carving, so the juice redistributes along with the meat.
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How Long to Cook a 24-Pound Turkey (2)

Oven-Roasted Turkey (16 to 20 Servings)


  • Author: Bobby

Ingredients

  • One whole turkey, 24 pounds, thawed
  • Butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Remove truss from turkey if any and clean out the giblets- you’ll need them for gravy later. Then, rinse the bird under running water and blot the excess moisture with paper towels.
  2. Generously rub butter all over the bird and place it in a roasting pan with the breast side up. Then, stick a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey and place the pan in the oven.
  3. Roast the bird at 350F until the internal temperature hits 160F on the meat thermometer. If the thighs remain pink after the allotted cooking time, shield the breast with foil and return the bird to the oven. Then, bake at 450F until the thighs are cooked through.
  4. Bring the bird out and let it sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. Then, carve and serve as desired.

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