A Comprehensive Turkey Cooking Chart: Perfectly Cook Your Thanksgiving Bird

Thanksgiving is a time for family, gratitude, and of course, a deliciously cooked turkey. But cooking the perfect turkey can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the cooking times and temperatures. That’s where a comprehensive turkey cooking chart comes in handy. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to cook your Thanksgiving bird to perfection.

Why Use a Turkey Cooking Chart?

Using a turkey cooking chart is essential because it takes the guesswork out of cooking times and temperatures. Every turkey is different in size and weight, and these factors greatly affect the cooking time required to ensure that it’s safely cooked through. By following a reliable turkey cooking chart, you can achieve consistent results year after year.

Determining Cooking Time Based on Weight

The first step in using a turkey cooking chart is determining the appropriate cooking time based on the weight of your bird. Most charts will provide you with an estimated time per pound or kilogram to cook your turkey. For example, if your chart suggests 20 minutes per pound and your turkey weighs 15 pounds, you would calculate 20 minutes x 15 pounds = 300 minutes or 5 hours of total cooking time.

It’s important to note that these estimates are just guidelines, as individual ovens may vary in temperature accuracy. To ensure accuracy, always use an oven thermometer to monitor the actual temperature inside your oven.

Recommended Internal Temperature

The second important aspect of using a turkey cooking chart is knowing the recommended internal temperature for safely cooked poultry. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that all poultry should reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present.

To measure the internal temperature accurately, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. Once the thermometer reads a steady 165°F (74°C), your turkey is safe to eat and ready to be removed from the oven.

Resting Time and Carryover Cooking

After your turkey has reached the recommended internal temperature, it’s important to let it rest before carving. Resting allows the juices in the meat to redistribute, resulting in a more flavorful and tender bird. The general rule of thumb is to let your turkey rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving.

During this resting period, carryover cooking also takes place. Carryover cooking refers to the residual heat that continues to cook the turkey even after it has been removed from the oven. To account for carryover cooking, you can remove your turkey from the oven when its internal temperature reaches around 160°F (71°C). The residual heat will then bring it up to a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) during resting.


Cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By using a comprehensive turkey cooking chart, you can confidently cook your bird to perfection every time. Remember to determine cooking time based on weight, monitor the internal temperature using a meat thermometer, allow for resting time and carryover cooking, and most importantly, enjoy sharing this delicious meal with your loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.