In an oven set to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, cooking an 18- to 20-pound unstuffed thawed or fresh turkey will take between 4 1/4 and 4 1/2 hours, according to the USDA. This amounts to about 14 minutes of cooking time per pound. For a 19-pound turkey, this comes to about four hours and 26 minutes.Feb 27, 2020
For one 18- to 20-pound turkey, roast at 325°F for 4¼ to 4½ hours. For one 20- to 24-pound turkey, roast at 325°F for 4½ to 5 hours.
We recommend roasting turkey at 350 degrees F for 13 minutes per pound for an unstuffed turkey.
Roast the turkey uncovered at a temperature ranging from 325°F to 350°F. Higher temperatures may cause the meat to dry out, but this is preferable to temperatures that are too low which may not allow the interior of the turkey to cook to a safe temperature.
Unsure how long you’re supposed to leave the bird in the oven? If you’re baking it at 325°F (the lowest temperature the USDA recommends), you’ll need to bake a 20-lb turkey in the oven for 4 to 5 hours if it’s unstuffed, and 4 ¼ to 5 ¼ hours if it’s stuffed.
Just make sure you uncover the lid about 30 minutes before the turkey’s done roasting so the skin has a chance to get crispy. … Covering the bird with foil mimics what a roaster lid would do — it traps steam and moistness so the turkey doesn’t dry out — all the while allowing the skin to crisp up.
Always cook your turkey until the skin is a light golden color. Cover your roasting pan with a lid or foil and cook covered for 2 hours (depending on size of your bird) and uncovered for the remaining time. Baste your turkey every half hour or so.
While some recipes state that turkey should be cooked to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, the meat is safe to consume once it reaches the 165-degree mark. Cooking the breasts past 165 can result in dry meat, but the dark meat can be cooked to 180.
Wash Hands and Surfaces; not the Turkey
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, washing raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or veal before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces.
Most recipes will tell you to baste your turkey every thirty minutes. But our rule of thumb is actually every forty minutes, and here’s why. You don’t want to open the oven too many times, or else the whole bird will take much long to cook, and that’s a huge inconvenience.
Do Not Baste.
Basting the skin is not necessary to flavor the meat. You’ll flavor the skin, but you’ll also let heat out of the oven each time you open it to baste. “That means the bird is going to be in there for a longer time cooking, which means it’s going to dry out more,” Brown says.
For 14 people, buy a 20-pound turkey.
Here’s the calculation: plan on 24 hours of fridge thawing for every 5 pounds of frozen turkey (for example: budget 4 full days of thawing in the fridge for a 20-pound turkey). Keep the turkey wrapped, and occasionally check to see if the baking sheet or roasting pan needs to be drained.
Turkeys between 4-6kg should be rested for 1½ hours, and ones from 6-10kg can rest for two hours. Get your turkey out of the fridge 30 minutes before you cook it. You’ll get less shrinkage when it goes into a hot oven.
Electric roaster ovens make the most of this feature by cooking foods through the even distribution of heat and liquids. Because the covered roaster traps and recycles moisture from the food as it cooks, no additional water or other liquids are needed unless called for in a recipe.
Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated, 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven (or follow your recipe’s instructions). To enhance the gravy you’ll likely make with the turkey’s drippings, place aromatics and herbs below the roasting rack, such as carrots, onion, celery, garlic, rosemary, and sage.
Put the turkey on top of the vegetables, put in the oven and roast in the oven for 45 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Reduce the heat to 350 and continue roasting, basting with the warm chicken stock every 15 minutes until basting with some of the chicken stock every 15 minutes, about 2 to 2 ¼ hours longer.
When to Tent a Turkey
You can choose to tent a turkey during the beginning of the roasting period and remove the tent for the last 30 to 45 minutes for browning, or you can wait until the turkey reaches a golden brown color before adding a tent of foil.
Most people overcook turkey because they overestimate its cooking time. To avoid this deadly Thanksgiving sin, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh when the bird is nearly done (don’t hit the bone). When the thermometer reads 165, take it out!
We do not recommend adding water to the bottom of the pan. Cooking a turkey with steam is a moist heat-cook method and is acceptable, sure, but is not the preferred method for cooking your turkey.” … This will create spotty browning and may look underdone—even when the meat is fully cooked.
While the turkey roasts, the juices fall down towards the breast, resulting in the most succulent meat. The breast is also more protected from the heat, which helps keep it from getting too dried out. Use a meat thermometer to take out any guess work of when the turkey is done.
Don’t butter your bird
Placing butter under the skin won’t make the meat juicier, though it might help the skin brown faster. However, butter is about 17 percent water, and it will make your bird splotchy, says López-Alt. Instead, rub the skin with vegetable oil before you roast.
You shouldn’t. This might be surprising since many of us have defrosted frozen chicken on the counter at least once, but the answer is a hard “no” when it comes to a full turkey. And in terms of the chicken, you’re really not supposed to thaw it out on the counter anyway.
According to the Department of Agriculture, a turkey must reach 165 degrees F to be safe, but you can take it out of the oven as low as 160 degrees F because the temperature will rise at it rests.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends that your turkey reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F during cooking to be safely consumed based on the fact that bacteria threat, salmonella, cannot withstand temperatures of 160°F after 30 seconds.
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