5 Facts for Cooking a Turkey


Let’s talk turkey. Nearly 88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. And who doesn’t love a good leftover turkey sandwich after Thanksgiving? Food safety is number one when it comes to preparing your Thanksgiving dinner. You don’t want to send your guests home sick! Remember to always wash your hands and any surface that your raw turkey comes in contact with.

  1. Plan ahead when thawing your turkey. You will need approximately 24 hours of thawing time for every five pounds of turkey if thawing in the refrigerator. Make sure the temperature stays at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the thawing process. If you’re thawing in cold water, allow approximately 30 minutes of thawing time per pound. Make sure your turkey is in leak-proof packaging.
  2. When cooking your turkey, use a meat thermometer to check if your turkey is done. You’ll want the minimum internal temperature of your turkey to be 165 degrees Fahrenheit when it is complete. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and also in the thickest part of the breast.
  3. Cooking your turkey in the oven at a temperature no lower than 325 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t need to preheat the oven, but make sure your turkey is completely thawed before roasting. Place the turkey breast-side up in a shallow roasting pan that is about two inches deep and add one-half cup of water to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Cooking your stuffing in a casserole dish is best for optimal food safety, but we know some of you like the stuff your turkey. If stuffing the turkey, mix the ingredients prior to stuffing and stuff loosely. You will need to add additional cooking time and the stuffing needs to also reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Let your turkey stand for 20 minutes before you carve it to allow all the juices to set for easier carving.
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