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Turkey confusion, needing conclusion.

Bah!!! My Turkey Is HUGE!!

I've been all amped up about making the Maple-Glazed Turkey from epicurious until I found out that the turkey we are receiving as a gift from my hubby's employer is 24 lbs instead of the 12-14 lb turkey we were expecting. This is only my second time cooking a whole turkey and I'm lost as to how I double the recipe...? How do I know how much longer it will need to cook? Should the maple glaze go on later? Should the oven temp. be lower?

If there are any experienced-turkey-roasters out there that could shed some light on this for me? Our stomachs will thank you profusely.


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  1. A 24 lb. turkey ought to cook at 350* for 4 1/5 hours.
    Here's a site that may help you with your preparations:


    These days it is advisable not to stuff the turkey ...but bake the stuffing outside the turkey. That will lessen the roasting time and lessen the chance of cross contanimation.

    1. I don't really know that there's a sure fire X2 formula for this.
      What I'd do is go out and invest in a good probe thermometer (If you don't have one) and follow the instructions for the cooking temps.
      As to when to apply the glaze, perhaps you can find a guideline for cooking a large bird, take the time and compare it against how long yours will have to cook and backtrack from the finished product.

      Sorry I couldn't be of much more help.


      1. About 5 hours for a stuffed turkey in a 325 degree oven should do it. Note that the Web has loads of information on such matters. Here’s one good site:


        1. Cook's Illustrated has a recipe for a large bird (18-22 lb) which should work. Roast it unstuffed, breast side down for 1 hour at 425 degrees, take it out of the oven and carefully flip it breast side up (I use clean potholders and toss them in the wash after; gives a better grip than trying to use forks) and turn the oven down to 325 and roast for another 2 hours or so until the thigh meat is 175-180 and the breast meat is about 165. I really swear by the rotating method; I think the juices stay in the breast meat better.

          If you are applying a glaze, increase the ingredients but put it on the bird at the same time as the original recipe; it will burn if left on too long.

          1. Start at the higher temperature suggested for at least 30 minutes (425), and be prepared to cover the bird with foil during the last hour or two of cooking at 325 to 350, should the wings begin to overcook. Use a probe thermometer to check for doneness. Just make sure that the bird is completely defrosted before you start and that you leave it out on the counter for about an hour before you place it in a preheated oven. Check your oven temperature too. You may need to turn it down 25 degrees, or up, depending upon the actual oven temperature. I always found that gas ovens run colder on Thanksgiving -- probably because the whole neighborhood was using them at the same time and the gas pressure was a bit lower. Just be patient and watch it and baste it once an hour.

            Keep in mind that stuffing adds 25 to 30 more minutes to cook through. It has taken me anywhere from four and a half to six hours to cook a thawed Butterball this size, and you still need to let it stand for a good 45 minutes before you can carve it, so be patient and flexible. I'd rather finish early, so start early. You can always heat up the slices a little once carved, and that is better than everyone waiting around for the turkey to cook.

            Bottom line, a 24 pounder is not an easy thing to cook. It takes vigilance. That is why most people marvel at it when it comes out of the oven, at least the cooks.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RGC1982

              Wow, you guys gave me all the information I needed, thanks so much! You've calmed my nerves....now maybe the gigantic-man-eating-turkey nightmares I've been suffering through will cease!
              (now I'll just wonder where in the world there are 24lb turkeys running around and make plans to never go to that place. Just the thought makes me lose some feathers)

            2. Some may scoff at using a Turkey Bag. But my family has been cooking 22 to 24 pounders for 30 years and the turkey comes out perfectly - moist meat, crisp skin - every time. It makes me wonder why more people don’t try it.

              Here is how we do it (If you brine, this is after you brine, though we never brine):

              The night before:

              Rinse and pat dry the turkey.

              Salt, pepper and red pepper (cayenne) the inside cavity. Add roughly chopped onion, apple, celery and lemon to the cavity with sprigs of sage, thyme and rosemary.

              Melt two or three sticks of butter. Cover the skin with the melted butter, lots of salt, pepper, red pepper and any herbs you like (we do thyme and rosemary). You can also rub butter and herbs under the skin, though that is my own addition, My parents never did it.

              Put the turkey in the bag with a little flour, chopped onion and celery and a slug or two of white wine. Tie up the bag and refrigerate overnight.

              Take the turkey out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking, if not two, to come to room temperature.

              Put it in a roasting pan and follow the directions on the cooking bag. No basting, no worry, you stick it in, pull it out, let it sit, you get perfect turkey.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Tom P

                I'm totally sold on cooking the turkey in a turkey bag. I remember the first year we did it. We finally had a turkey that wasn't dry. I would warn anyone not to try it in a counter-top roaster. I did it, and wherever the bag touched the sides of the roaster, the bag melted. What was worse is that we couldn't scrub the plastic off the pan. Stick the bird in a bag and cook it in the oven. You won't be sorry.

              2. That's pretty much the size turkey I cook every single year and it works out fine. I've roasted birds up to 29 lbs.

                I use Alton Brown's method and start it off extremely hot (like 500) for about 30 min, then turn it down to 350. Not sure how that would work with the glaze method, but the point is that his method was adaptable to a large bird, so I'm sure most other methods are as well.

                As other's have said, as long as it's thawed properly before you get started, you'll be good to go. Good luck!

                1. You'll need more than three times the amount of glaze.

                  1. I would let a bird this size sit at room temp for 2 hours before roasting. Preheat oven to 450. As soon as you put the turkey in, reduce temp to 325. Roast about 20 minutes per pound for a bird this size. Temp checked in the thigh should be 165. Let rest 30 minutes and the temp will rise. This is one meal where I pull out my two warming trays to keep the side dishes warm until the turkey is ready. Dinner is served when the bird is done, and if it's a bit late, everyone can have another glass of wine. A huge turkey is a wonderful thing -- think of all the delicious sandwiches you can lunch on in the coming week!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pikawicca

                      I totally agree. If you're going to warm up your oven for 2.5 hours and go through the trouble of prepping, roasting, carving, and cleaning up, you might as well go for the big bird and the extra 30 minutes and get all of that extra food! I always make 2 casseroles worth of dressing and a gallon of mashed taters as well.