The holidays are a time for great feasts and family get-togethers. And while we often focus on the main attraction of our holiday meals, it’s important not to forget about other dishes that are equally as important. One of those is turkey! Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner or serving up this classic dish on Christmas day or any other holiday meal, knowing how long to cook a turkey will help ensure your bird comes out perfectly.
Set the oven to 450 degrees F and allow it to preheat.
Before you cook the turkey, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. You can do this by setting it to “warm” and then turning on the oven for about 15 minutes or until it reaches that temperature.
Once your turkey is in the oven, use a meat thermometer to check its internal temperature every 30 minutes or so. When it reaches 165 degrees F (the minimum safe temperature), remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
Stuff the turkey with your favorite stuffing, either homemade or store-bought.
After you’ve stuffed your turkey, it’s time to cook it. Cooking times vary depending on how large your turkey is and what temperature you’re cooking at, so follow these guidelines:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
- Place a roasting bag in a large roasting pan and add 1/2 cup (125 mL) water or broth if desired. Place the turkey on top of this roasting bag; discard any remaining liquid after cooking. If desired, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh until fully cooked (170 degrees F/75 C). You may also use an internal temperature probe like those found here: https://amzn.to/2tY4VwZ
Place the turkey in a shallow roasting pan breast side up and pour 1/4 cup water into bottom of pan.
Place the turkey in a shallow roasting pan breast side up and pour 1/4 cup water into bottom of pan. Make sure the turkey is not touching the sides of the pan; this will make it easier to baste during cooking.
Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over outside surface of turkey, making sure it gets under skin if possible. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on all sides (don’t be afraid to get messy). Place 2 tablespoons sage leaves under skin at neck opening, if desired; press flat with fingers for even distribution under skin (if you are using fresh herbs instead of ground sage). Tie legs together with kitchen twine if desired; tuck wings under backside so they don’t burn while roasting
Cover turkey loosely with foil so that it doesn’t stick to bird (this will keep the skin from overcooking).
Cover turkey loosely with foil so that it doesn’t stick to bird (this will keep the skin from overcooking). This method is especially important if you’re cooking a 12-pound turkey and want it to turn out juicy and tender.
A 12 pound turkey takes about 4 hours to cook at 450 degrees
A 12 pound turkey takes about 4 hours to cook at 450 degrees. To ensure that your turkey is cooked properly, it’s important to follow these guidelines:
- The oven should be set to 450 degrees F.
- Stuffing can be either homemade or store-bought; however, if you want to make your own stuffing recipe and use it in this recipe then we recommend using our Easy Homemade Stuffing recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/easy-homemade-stuffing). It’s super simple! Just mix together bread cubes with a little butter, onion powder and sage until well combined–then add chicken broth until it reaches the desired consistency–and voila! You’ve got yourself some delicious stuffing for your bird!
- Place the turkey on a roasting rack breast side up in shallow roasting pan filled with 1/4 cup water; then roast uncovered for 30 minutes before basting with melted butter every 20 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F when tested with an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh away from bone
If you’re cooking a 12 pound turkey, we recommend cooking it at 450 degrees F for four hours. This will allow it to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, which is safe enough to eat. Make sure that the oven is preheated before putting your bird in there though!