Roasting a turkey isn’t something most of us do regularly, so remembering how to do it can be a challenge. USDA offers these tips to ensure your turkey is fully cooked and safe to eat yet still juicy and delicious.
It’s best to cook the turkey on Thanksgiving Day and serve it fresh from the oven. If you are stuffing the turkey, make sure the stuffing is moist, not dry. Heat destroys bacteria more rapidly in a moist environment. The stuffing must reach 165 degrees F in order to be safe to eat. Place the stuffed turkey in the oven immediately and roast at 325 degrees F. You may also choose to cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. If you do, it should also reach a temperature of 165 degrees F. Cooking time varies based on the size of the turkey. Use the charts below to estimate cooking time. Note the cooking times are longer for stuffed turkeys.
Use a meat thermometer to check doneness
A whole turkey is fully cooked and safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F throughout the bird. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh, wing and the thickest part of the breast. Any meat that is still pink is safe to eat as long as it reached 165 degrees F during cooking. Stuffing must also reach 165 degrees F whether cooking inside or outside the bird.