Cooking Your Turkey

When it comes to cooking your turkey, there are many different approaches you can take. Here are some basic guidelines that you should follow:

Turkey Cooking Times

WeightStuffedUnstuffedBBQ (Unstuffed)
8-10 lbs. (3.5-4.5 kg)3¼ – 3½ hours2¾ – 3 hours1½ hours
10-12 lbs. (4.5-5.5 kg)3½ – 3¾ hours3 – 3¼ hours1¾ hours
12-16 lbs. (5.5-7.0 kg)3 ¾ – 4 hours3¼ – 3½ hours2 hours
16-20 lbs. (7.0-9.0 kg)4 – 5 hours3½ – 4½ hoursNot recommended
20-25 lbs. (9.0-11.25 kg)5 – 6 hours4½ – 5 hoursNot recommended
*Oven times based on an oven temperature of 325°F to 350°F (160°C to 180°C) **Check for doneness when inner thigh reads 180°F (82°C) for a stuffed and 170°F (77°C) for an unstuffed Turkey.

Cooking the Turkey

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. You may want to remove the middle and top racks. Remove the plastic wrap from the thawed turkey. Take the giblets and neck from the body cavity.
  • If you are stuffing, either use a prepared mix or make your own. Stuff the turkey loosely, as stuffing expands as it cooks.
  • Place the turkey in either a roasting pan or in a disposable foil pan. Use a baking sheet for support . You can mold the pan around the turkey. You may want to add a small amount (up to 1 cup) of water, broth or ginger ale to the pan. Cover with lid or foil.
  • Place the turkey on the bottom shelf of the oven. Let the turkey cook at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes for the smaller turkey up to 1 hour for the larger turkey until you hear the turkey start to crackle. Reduce the temperature to 325 F for the remainder of the cooking time. Check for doneness when inner thigh reads 180°F (82°C) for a stuffed and 170°F (77°C) for an unstuffed Turkey.
  • After the turkey has finished cooking, remove from oven, cover with foil and let the turkey rest for about 15 minutes before carving.
  • Remove the stuffing and place in a bowl. Place in oven to keep warm.

Carving the Turkey

  • Using a very sharp knife and a cutting board with a towel underneath to prevent slipping, cut the drums/legs off, then the wings. Using a carving fork and put fork deeply into breast. On a slight angle, start slicing the other breast 1/2 inch thick until getting close to bone. Carve other breast in same angle against the grain. Use secure meat with fork in thigh and continue carving thighs with same procedure. Spoon some juices from the pan over the turkey. Cover and return to oven to keep warm.
  • Make gravy from the pan drippings, use the water from the potatoes or other veggies for added flavour and nutrients. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, basil or thyme. Thicken with flour or corn starch.
  • Refrigerate the cooked meat within 2 hours of cooking. Once carcass is cooled, put in plastic bag and freeze. It will make a great soup stock later.
  • Leftover Turkey that is not frozen should be consumed within 3 – 4 days.