Are you planning to cook turkey and make it the main dish for thanksgiving dinner but hesitating because you’re unsure of the correct cooking method?
Your star dish will undoubtedly be sumptuous and juicier if you know how long to cook a turkey at 325 degrees.
Above all else, the first factor you must consider when planning to cook the turkey in an oven is the stuffing.
It’s vital to know that a stuffed turkey will require a longer time to cook than an unstuffed turkey.
But don’t worry! This post aims to help you learn all the fundamentals of turkey cooking time at 325 degrees without making the entire process quite stressful.
Let’s get started!
What Should I Do to Keep My Roasted Turkey Moist?
Avoid overcooking your turkey if you want to preserve its juiciness. Traditionally, basting or brining a turkey is recommendable; however, modern cooking techniques have unveiled that such methods are neither practical nor needed.
You can keep your turkey moist by salting the skin adequately and applying butter on the turkey beforehand. The salting method does a great job of tenderizing the meat.
Meanwhile, the fat from the butter helps keep the turkey’s skin delectable and crispier, making the meat moist.
Is It Necessary to Put Some Water In the Turkey Roasting Pan?
It’s prudent to add about half a cup of water to the bottom of the roasting pan if you’re adding veggies to your roasted turkey. This approach is ideal for adding flavor to the gravy.
On the other hand, it’s okay not to add some water to the roasting pan if you’re putting sans veggies.
How Long is the Recommended Cooking Time For An Unstuffed Turkey?
Cooking a perfect turkey may require investing in an easy-to-read thermometer since it’s essential to check the turkey’s internal temperature from time to time.
It’s a cinch to determine when your roasted turkey is ready if you cook it by temperature. To do this, you must embed the thermometer turkey’s thickest part, which is between the chest and thigh.
When doing this, ensure you don’t hit the bone. You can tell once it’s done when the thermometer reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Generally speaking, it’s advisable to cook the stuffed turkey for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes per pound at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the cooking time may differ depending on the specific size of your turkey and oven and how precise your thermometer works, regardless if you’re cooking unstuffed or stuffed turkey.
Consider referring to the table below when cooking an unstuffed turkey at 325 degrees Fahrenheit:
|Turkey’s Weight||Duration of Cooking Time|
|18 to 20 lbs.||4 to 4 ½ hours|
|15 to 16 lbs.||3 ½ to 4 hours|
|10 to 12 lbs.||2 ¾ to 3 hours|
On the other hand, consider settling in for the afternoon if you plan to cook a turkey that weighs 20 lbs. or beyond.
In this instance, the turkey cook time at 325 degrees will take roughly 4 ½ to 5 hours.
How Long Should It Take Me to Cook a Stuffed Turkey at 325 Degrees?
Remember, cooking stuffed turkey takes longer to cook; therefore, expect some challenges in the process.
If you’re still willing to stuff the turkey despite the extra effort and time you need to devote to it, it’s recommendable to leave the turkey in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for twenty to twenty-five minutes per round.
Aside from this, you need to ensure that you cover the turkey with aluminum foil, specifically the drumsticks and wings. This cooking method helps save the turkey from burning or drying out.
Don’t forget to check your turkey recipe, thermometer, and cooking procedures to ensure that everything is done accordingly.
More importantly, you need to ensure that the turkey stuffing gets to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, assuring that you don’t end up having half-cooked turkey juices inside.
RELATED POST: Why Do We Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving?
Why Is It Important to Cover the Turkey When Cooking It?
Begin by cooking the turkey without any covering. This technique can help ensure that your turkey will have crispy skin.
The attractive golden brown color of a roasted turkey is undeniably enticing. However, check it after an hour or so to keep the skin from burning.
Once you see that some areas are browning too fast, cover the turkey with aluminum foil.
What’s the Ideal Iime Before Carving the Turkey?
We strongly recommend allowing the turkey to rest for about 30 to 45 minutes before carving it.
This technique works like a charm in allotting more time for the juices to absorb, spread well, and keep the meat moist.
It matters to highly regard food safety when preparing and cooking a turkey for thanksgiving dinner to inhibit the likelihood of foodborne illness.
Here are some food safety cues to take in mind:
1. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly Before Handling the Turkey.
When handling, preparing and cooking other foods, washing your hands properly with soap and water before starting the cooking process can help prevent cross-contamination.
Similarly, washing your hands thoroughly after touching uncooked poultry is critical.
2. Avoid Washing the Turkey.
We mistakenly think that washing the turkey before cooking helps eliminate bacteria.
But, the truth is, washing the turkey won’t remove the bacteria; instead, doing so will merely spread the bacteria even more, contaminating other foods, the surfaces of the kitchen, and other nearby utensils.
3. Thaw the Turkey Safely and Accordingly.
Refrain from thawing the turkey on the kitchen counter. The only three safe turkey thawing methods include: thawing the turkey in cold water, refrigerator, and microwave.
4. Handle the Turkey Correctly.
Ensure all the kitchen stuff and utensils that touch an uncooked turkey are washed thoroughly after use.
5. Cook the Turkey Accordingly Until It’s Done.
As previously mentioned, you can easily tell if the turkey is cooked well once the thermometer exhibits a temperature of 165 degrees F when inserted at the thickest part of the breast and innermost portion of the wing and thigh.
6. Store the Turkey Leftovers Properly.
Store all the turkey leftovers in airtight or tightly-sealed containers within two hours after the meal or when the turkey dish has cooled down.
Separate the meat from the bone. And make sure to consume refrigerated turkey leftovers within four days.
You can make the turkey leftovers last for up to six months by freezing them.
In a nutshell, cooking a delicious turkey recipe during holidays and Thanksgiving Day is a very valuable family tradition.
However, the process of cooking turkey requires time and effort, and a great deal of patience.
The cooking time for a turkey dish typically varies, as it mainly depends on the weight and size of the turkey.
You’ll also need to adjust the cooking time if you’re planning to cook an unstuffed or stuffed turkey.
Again, let’s wrap up how long to cook a turkey at 325 degrees.
Here are the different weights and cook times required for turkeys:
18 to 20 lbs. = 4 to 4 ½ hours
15 to 16 lbs. = 3 ½ to 4 hours
10 to 12 lbs. = 2 ¾ to 3 hours