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How Many Minutes Per Pound to Cook a Turkey- Cooking Turkey Tips

How Many Minutes Per Pound to Cook a Turkey – Cooking Turkey Tips

Everyone loves a great meal, and turkey is one you can be sure your guests will appreciate. Whether it’s at a Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas party, or you simply want to show off your gourmet skills to your friends, you need your turkey roasting game to be on point. And here, you’ll get helpful suggestions on all things roasted turkey, especially cooking time.

How Many Minutes Per Pound to Cook a Turkey- Cooking Turkey Tips

Turkey Cooking Time and Temperature

To roast turkey, the general calculation for cooking time is 13 minutes per pound for unstuffed and 15 minutes per pound for stuffed, at 350°F. By size, you can roast a turkey with these suggestions;

8 to 12 pounders: 3 hours at 325°F.

12 to 14 pounders: 400°F for 2½, 425°F for 2¼  hours, 350°F for 3 hours, 325°F for 3¾  hours

16-pounders: 425°F for 3 hours, 400°F for 3½ hours, 350°F for 3¾  hours, 325°F for 4 hours

18 to 20 pounders: 425°F for 3½  hours, 400°F for 3¾ hours, 350°F for 4 hours, 325°F for 4¼ hours

21 to 22 pounders: 425°F for 4 hours, 400°F for 4½ hours, 350°F for 4¾  hours, 325°F for 5 hours

Cooking Turkey Tips


The time it takes for the frozen turkey to thaw depends on its size. Typically, birds between 4 to 12 pounds take about 2 to 3 days to thaw. You average 12 to 16 pounder needs up to 4 days maximum, while turkeys as large as 17 to 20 pounds could use up to 5 days. And if you’re dealing with a bird as large as 22 to 24 pounds, you’ll need almost a week.


You can do this by basting it while in the oven every hour. You can also brine the turkey before you roasting, to save from losing temperature when you open the oven door. Or you can use a self- moistening method of placing the bird breast side down and flip halfway through the cooking time. This allows the juices to run over the skin as it cooks. Another method is to simply stuff butter under the skin of the turkey before roasting it. Remember that once you brine a turkey, you no longer need to season it.


Cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil before placing it in the oven. Make sure the shiny side is up so it deflects the heat. Then, remove the foil halfway through the cooking time. This way, the meat doesn’t darken too soon.

Cook Unstuffed

Roasting a turkey unstuffed is the best way to go about it. You can cook the stuffing next to it in a casserole dish. Place aromatic herbs like shallots, thyme, onions, parsley, and even celery stalks in the cavity instead.

Use a Meat Thermometer

To know if the preferred cooking temperature has been reached, use a meat thermometer. The remote versions are best, as you’ll get real-time readings instead of opening the oven to check periodically. Poke the probe deeply in the thigh, but make sure it doesn’t touch the bone.


Once it’s done, allow the turkey to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This lets the juices seep back into the meat.

Now that you know how to properly calculate how long to cook a turkey, you can try out this great recipe;

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How Many Minutes Per Pound to Cook a Turkey- Cooking Turkey Tips

Thanksgiving Turkey

  • Author: Bobby


  • 1 11-pound turkey, thawed, aired, cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 250ml cold water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F for 15 minutes. While you wait, dab the turkey all over with olive oil. Make a salt and pepper mix to taste and run all over the oily turkey skin. Next, place turkey breast side up on the roasting tray rack, and tent with foil, shiny side up.
  2. Pour the water into the roasting tray, and then put the turkey in the oven. Leave to roast for about 2 hours, then take out, remove the foil and baste the turkey with the juices from the roasting pan. Place it back and allow it to cook for about 30 minutes.
  3. Once the time is reached, remove the turkey and turn the heat to 425°F. Baste, and put back to roast for the final 30 minutes. Then, take out and check the temperature- at 165°F, it’s fully done. Leave on the table to rest for 30 minutes, then carve up and serve.

If you want more ideas, check out this oven-roasted turkey video recipe.