Buying, Thawing and Roasting a Turkey
- BUYING A TURKEY:
Frozen: Allow 1 lb. per person. Buy anytime but keep frozen until ready to thaw
Frozen Pre-Stuffed: Allow 1 1/4 lbs. per person. buy any time. Keep frozen until ready to cook. DO NOT THAW.
Fresh: 1 lb. per person. Buy 1-2 days before cooking. DO NOT BUY PRE-STUFFED.
- THAWING A TURKEY:
Thawing Time in the Refrigerator at 40 degrees.
8-12 pounds = 1-2 days
12-16 pounds = 2-3 days
16-20 pounds = 3-4 days
20-24 pounds = 4-5 days
- THAWING IN THE MICROWAVE:
Check manufacturer's instructions for the size turkey that will fit into your oven, the minutes per pound and the power level to use for thawing. COOK IMMEDIATELY AFTER THAWING.
- ROASTING A TURKEY:
Timetable for Fresh or Thawed Turkey at 325 degrees
8-12 pounds = 2 3/4-3 hours 12-14 pounds = 3-3 3/4 hours
14-18 pounds = 3 3/4 - 4 1/4 hours 18-20 pounds = 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
20-24 pounds = 4 1/2 to 5 hours
8-12 pounds = 3-3 1/2 hours 12-14 pounds = 3 1/2-4 hours
14-18 pounds = 4-4 1/4 hours 18-20 pounds = 4 1/4-4 3/4 hours
20-24 pounds = 4 3/4-5 1/4 hours
The above times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed thermometer.
- ROASTING INSTRUCTIONS:
Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees.
Place turkey, breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting plan.
For uniform results, it is recommended to cook stuffing outside the bird. If stuffed, stuff loosely.
For safety and doneness, the internal temperature, as registered on a meat thermometer, must reach a minimum of 180 degrees in the thigh before removing from the oven. The center of the stuffing should reach 165 degrees after stand time.
Juices should be clear.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT FOOD SAFETY, CALL USDA'S MEAT AND POULTRY HOTLINE @ 1-800-535-4555 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
Resource: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Safety Inspection Service, Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.