How Long to Cook 21 Pound Turkey


It’s Thanksgiving, which means it’s time to bring out the big bird. While you might think that 21 pounds is a lot of turkey, we’ve got you covered. This guide will walk you through everything from setting up your roasting pan and choosing the right size oven for your turkey to cooking times and temperatures for the perfect bird. So let’s get started!

Size Matters

The size of your turkey is important, and it’s not just because bigger is better. The actual weight of a 21-pound turkey will depend on where you buy your bird. If you opt for a store brand, it could be as light as 17 pounds; if you go for an organic or heritage breed, however, that same bird might weigh closer to 25 pounds.

The reason this matters is because big turkeys take longer to cook than smaller ones do–and if they’re not cooked properly (i.e., thoroughly), they can be very dangerous! In fact, there are even reports of people getting sick from eating raw turkey meat because they didn’t realize how long these birds take in the oven (or on their grill). That’s why we recommend using our calculator below so that no matter what kind of turkey roast recipe you choose (or whether yours comes out larger than expected), there will never be any question about how long it needs cooking time before being ready for carving up at Thanksgiving dinner…

How to Cook the Perfect 21 Pound Turkey


  • Start with a fresh turkey.
  • Make sure it’s completely thawed.
  • Remove the neck and giblets.
  • Truss the turkey, if desired (trussing is optional). The trussing will help keep the bird together during roasting and prevent flare-ups from fat dripping onto coals or flames in your oven. To truss, use kitchen twine to tie both ends of each drumstick together behind them; then tie up each wing tip so that it lies flat against its side; finally, secure any other loose skin or flaps around your roast with twine as needed for neatness’ sake–but don’t worry about doing this perfectly! You can always just roast without trussing if you want an easier cleanup afterward too 🙂

The Roast Turkey Setup

In order to cook a 21-pound turkey, you need to do some prep work. First, make sure your roasting pan is large enough for the turkey and any vegetables or other side dishes that you want to bake with it. If not, consider buying an extra one so there’s room for all of your food in one place.

Next, determine how long it will take for your turkey to reach its desired internal temperature (the FDA recommends cooking poultry until its thickest part reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit). Then calculate how much time remains until dinner time so you know when exactly to pull out that giant bird from its oven perch. Finally–and this may sound obvious–butterfly open any butterflied or cut-up turkeys before putting them into their respective pans; otherwise they’ll take longer than necessary because they won’t be exposed fully during baking!

How Long to Cook a 21 Pound Turkey

How long to cook a 21 pound turkey?

If you’re looking for the answer to this question, you’ve come to the right place! A 21-pounder is a pretty big bird and could take up to 24 hours in some cases. But don’t worry–we’ll give you all of our tips and tricks on how to make sure it comes out perfectly cooked every time so that there’s no need for an emergency call from your local butcher shop at 4:59 pm on Thanksgiving Day.

Here’s how long to cook your next 21 pound turkey.

If you’re planning on roasting a 21-pound turkey, you should know that it will take about 18 hours to cook. The oven should be set at 325 degrees F, and the turkey should be placed on a rack inside of a roasting pan.

You’ll want to baste your bird with water and oil every hour or so throughout cooking time, but especially during those first 2 hours when it’s covered in foil (this will keep all of those delicious juices inside).


With the right setup and a little patience, you can easily cook a 21 pound turkey. If you’re looking for an alternative to roasting, try smoking or deep frying your next holiday bird!

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