Tips for Roasting Your Turkey
• Set your oven temperature no lower than 325°F.
• Place your turkey or turkey breast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
• For optimum safety, stuffing a turkey is not recommended. For more even cooking, it is recommended you cook your stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
• If you choose to stuff your turkey, the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time; however, keep wet and dry ingredients separate. Chill all of the wet ingredients (butter/margarine, cooked celery and onions, broth, etc.). Mix wet and dry ingredients just before loosely filling the turkey cavity. Cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing and the turkey reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
• A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
• For safety’s sake, don’t rely solely on the turkey’s pop-up doneness indicator. Use a thermometer to double-check that the temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast reaches 165° F.
• For quality, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. The turkey will carve more easily.
• Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities.
Use these approximate timetables to determine how long to cook your turkey. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing. Roast the turkey at 325 degrees.
Thawed, unstuffed cooking time:
--4 to 8 pounds (breast)--1.5 to 3.25 hours; 8 to 12 pounds--2.75 to 3 hours; 12 to 14 pounds--3 to 3.75 hours; 14 to 18 pounds--3.75 to 4.25 hours; 18 to 20 pounds--4.5 to 5 hours; 20 to 24 pounds--4.5 to 5 hours
Thawed, stuffed cooking time:
4 to 6 pounds (breast)--not usually applicable; 6 to 8 pounds (breast)--2.5 to 3.5 hours; 8 to 12 pounds--3 to 3.5 hours; 12 to 14 pounds---3.5 to 4 hours; 14 to 18 pounds--4 to 4.25 hours; 18 to 20 pounds--4.25 to 4.75 hours; 20 to 24 pounds--4.75 to 5.25 hours.
Source: Barbara Ingham, UW-Extension Food Safety Specialist