How Long to Cook 18 Pound Turkey


As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s important to know how to cook your turkey. There are many different ways to roast a large bird like an 18 pounder and every method has its pros and cons. For example, some people like their turkey moist while others prefer it crispy; so it all depends on what kind of finished product you’re going for.

What is a turkey?

The turkey is a large bird that’s native to North America and was domesticated by the Aztecs. Turkeys were introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus in 1493, but they didn’t become popular there until the 18th century, when they started being bred for their meat and feathers. Today, turkeys are popular holiday meals because of their size–they can weigh up to 18 pounds!

How long to cook an 18 pound turkey?

If you’re trying to figure out how long to cook an 18 pound turkey, there are many factors that will determine the answer. The first thing you’ll want to consider is what kind of turkey it is: young or old, male or female? Each type has its own characteristics and may require a different cooking time and temperature.

Next up is how you plan on cooking it–will it be baked in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (F) or boiled over low heat on top of your stovetop? If you choose this latter option (which we don’t recommend), keep in mind that boiling can take upwards of two hours!

Finally: how much do I want my turkey cooked? This question only applies if using an oven method because boiling doesn’t allow for any adjustment in doneness level like baking does; however if using either method then keep reading below…

What’s the best way to roast a turkey?

There are a few ways you can go about roasting your turkey. You can follow our step-by-step guide here or use one of these three methods:

  • Use the oven’s built-in roasting pan, which comes with its own rack and lid. This is what we recommend because it’s easy to use and works well for most people (and turkeys). If yours doesn’t come with an insert, just place a foil-lined baking sheet on top before putting the turkey in so it doesn’t stick when you’re checking its temperature throughout cooking time.
  • Go old school by using a Dutch oven instead; this will allow for more even heat distribution as well as additional moisture from surrounding liquid (which helps prevent drying out). Just make sure not to fill it past ¾ full so there’s room for steam release at all times! You’ll also want to line bottom surface with aluminum foil before adding any meat products–this prevents burning during prolonged exposure time due to direct contact between heat source below surface area being used during cooking process.”

Do I have to baste the turkey while it cooks?

Basting is not necessary. Basting will add extra fat and calories to your meal, as well as make it more difficult for the meat to brown properly in the oven. It can also cause the skin on your turkey or chicken to burn before it’s done cooking, which isn’t ideal if you want crispy skin!

If you’re looking for a way to add flavor without putting off cooking time, try drizzling some butter into each cavity of your bird after it has been stuffed with seasonings such as thyme and sage leaves (which are great for flavor).

Should I use a meat thermometer to tell when my turkey is cooked?

If you’re wondering how long to cook an 18-pound turkey, don’t worry. It’s easy to tell when your bird is done using a meat thermometer–no guesswork involved!

To use a meat thermometer:

  • Insert the probe into the thickest part of the breast (not touching bone).
  • Leave in place for 5 seconds, then remove and read temperature. For example, if it reads 150 degrees F., then your turkey needs another 20 minutes before it’s ready to eat

Should I cook stuffing inside or outside of the turkey?


If you’re a fan of stuffing, there are a few ways to cook it.

  • Cook the stuffing inside the turkey.
  • Cook it separately in another dish and then add it to the turkey before serving (this is my preferred method).
  • Add cooked stuffing right before serving–it won’t be as good as if you’d cooked it separately, but it will still taste good enough!

There are many ways to cook a large bird like an 18 pounder.

There are many ways to cook a large bird like an 18 pounder. You can use a meat thermometer, for example, to tell when your turkey is cooked and ready to eat. A meat thermometer will also come in handy when you’re making stuffing or gravy; it allows you to monitor the temperature of these dishes as they cook so that they don’t get burnt or overcooked. Finally, if you want to make cranberry sauce that doesn’t taste like pureed sweetened grapefruit rinds (which is what most people end up with), then having one on hand will help ensure that doesn’t happen!


There are many ways to cook a large bird like an 18 pounder. You should choose the method that works best for you and your family, but keep in mind that cooking times will vary based on factors like the size of your turkey, how long it took to thaw out (if at all), whether or not it was stuffed with stuffing or other ingredients before roasting began. Also consider using a meat thermometer so that you don’t overcook or undercook your holiday feast!

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