How Long to Cook a Turkey in a Roaster


Turkey is my favorite holiday dish, but I’ve always found it to be messy and intimidating to cook. While I’m a fan of stuffing it with anything from pesto to bacon, my favorite part is actually roasting the turkey itself. The truth is, cooking a turkey in your oven takes very little time at all when compared to the amount of time you spend buying ingredients and preparing them ahead of time. That’s why we’re here today: To tell you how long it takes!

How Long Does It Take to Cook a Turkey in a Roaster?

How long does it take to cook a turkey in a roaster? The answer depends on several factors, including the size of your turkey and what temperature you set your oven at.

  • Cooking times are usually between 2 and 4 hours
  • Turkey roasters are designed to cook a turkey in an hour or two
  • How long it takes depends on the size of the turkey – smaller birds will cook faster than larger ones. Additionally, cooking time varies depending on how hot your oven gets (and whether or not you have an accurate thermometer).

Follow the instructions on your turkey.

Follow the instructions on your turkey. If you’re using a frozen turkey, follow the instructions on the package. If you have a fresh turkey and need to know how long to cook it, look for an internal temperature chart or information about weight loss (which is also helpful in determining doneness) on its label.

Don’t forget to take the giblets out.

You should also make sure that the giblets are included with your turkey. The giblets are the heart, liver and gizzard–the best part of any holiday meal.

If you’re not planning on making gravy from scratch (and who does that anymore?), you can save them for another use or buy a bag of pre-made giblets at the grocery store. If you’re buying a frozen turkey, however — which I highly recommend as it’s easier than cooking one yourself — there is no need to worry about whether or not it has been deboned or not: All turkeys come with their own package of pre-cooked “gravy” right inside!

Look at the height of the turkey for cooking time.

The height of your turkey will determine how long it takes to cook. The higher up the turkey is, the longer it should take to reach a safe temperature. A short, squatty bird like a Butterball or Jennie-O may only need 2 hours (or less) while something tall and skinny like a heritage breed or an organic free range bird could take up to 5 hours!

Don’t forget about stuffing!

While the turkey is roasting, you can prepare the stuffing. Stuffing should be cooked separately from the bird and should be done before serving.

  • If using a roaster, make sure there is enough room for both your turkey and stuffing. If not, consider cooking them separately or at different times (stuffed potatoes are delicious!).
  • If using a roaster with glass windows on top of it like this one pictured above – do not open them! The heat needs to stay inside as much as possible so make sure everything is sealed up tight before putting it in there with your birdie friend(s).

Wait for it…


Turkey roasting is a long process, and you need to keep an eye on it. There are many variables that can affect cooking time, so we recommend using a meat thermometer to get the most accurate results.

Cooking times vary depending on how much meat you’re cooking and how big of a turkey you have in your roaster. To determine whether or not your bird is done, insert the thermometer into its thickest part (breast), making sure not to hit bone or fat as this will give inaccurate readings. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees F when done; if it isn’t quite there yet after 2 hours of roasting time (or less), just continue checking every 10 minutes until it reaches 165 degrees F inside!

Cooking a turkey is really just a matter of following the instructions and keeping an eye on it.

Cooking a turkey is really just a matter of following the instructions and keeping an eye on it.

It can be easy if you follow the instructions, but there are some things that you should do beforehand to make sure everything goes smoothly. First, take out all of the giblets (the heart, liver and whatever else comes inside) before cooking your turkey so they don’t end up in your stuffing or gravy later on! Also look at how tall your bird is: if it’s taller than 18 inches (46 cm), cook it longer than 30 minutes per pound; otherwise cook for 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius).


So there you have it, our simple guide to cooking a turkey in a roaster. If you follow these tips and remember the basics of cooking, then there’s no way your turkey will end up being dry or undercooked!

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