Puzzled? Worried? First time?

Don’t worry. You’ll be fine. Here’s a very helpful guide to the roasting times for your turkey. Times vary both with the size of the turkey and whether it is stuffed or not.

The assumption here is that the turkey goes into a 500˚F oven for the first 30 minutes, then the temperature is dropped to 350˚F. Use a V-shaped roasting rack for the bird and begin breast-side down for the first hour. Then turn the bird over and roast breast-side up for the remainder of the time. You’ll achieve an evenly browned bird, skin crisp, meat moist.

Baste often, at least every 30 minutes.

When is the bird actually done? Use an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh and look for a temperature of 165˚ to 170˚F. Of course, you’ll want to move that leg around, check the skin, smell the smell and be ready to pull the bird when it really is done.

Once taken from the oven, the bird needs to rest for 30 minutes under foil. It’s time to make the gravy and mash the potatoes.

This very detailed info comes from Diane Morgan whose books, The Thanksgiving Table and The New Thanksgiving Table, are holiday treasure you really want to add to your bookshelf. Really.


Turkey Roast Times


Unstuffed Turkey

Stuffed Turkey

10 to 12 pounds

1 ¾ to 2 hours

2 to 2 ¼ hours

12 to 14 pounds

2 to 2 ½ hours

2 ¼ to 3 hours

14 to 18 pounds

2 ½ to 3 hours

2 ¾ to 3 ½ hours

18 pounds and over

3 ½ hours +

4 hours +


Source: The Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan