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Nov 26, 2013 10:05 AM


This Is My First Time Also Making A Turkey I Got A 20 Pound Turkey And I would Like My Turkey Done Around 4pm. How Long Does It Take To Cook A Turkey This Size?

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  1. Sources I have seen recommend about 15 minutes per pound cooked at 325 degrees.

    1. Stuffed or unstuffed?
      It takes about five minutes a pound more stuffed.
      Is it fresh or frozen?
      I find that fresh turkeys take less time, so I start checking temp at least 45 minutes before I calculate it to be done .you also need to let it rest at least a half hour and leave time for carving, so it needs to come out of the oven by 3:15 for sure.
      I would put in in by 10, it will be done between 2:30 and 3 if not stuffed. But I only cook turkey stuffed:)

      5 Replies
      1. re: magiesmom

        I ThiNk I Wanna Do It Unstuffed Im Gonna Put Vegetables In There I heard It Gives It More Flavor That Way Not Sure. But If I decide To Stuff It Is There A difference In Time. I Been Thawing My Turkey In The Fridge Since Sunday nite So Im gueesing Thats What Fresh Means.

        1. re: LadyB13

          You'll get great, accurate info at the Butterball turkey site -

          The link is to the how to thaw a turkey page, and it looks like you may be a day short on your thawing time, which means you'll want to do cold water thawing tomorrow afternoon / evening - see the instructions there.

          1. re: MidwesternerTT

            That was Helpful Thank You And Just Learned I should Have it Unwraaped I stiil Have It Wrapped On A Plate In Fridge OPPS. Oh No read That wrong it says unwrapped Im doing it right lol

            1. re: LadyB13

              Be sure to dry thoroughly inside and out with paper towels. I do this on Wednesday and then place it uncovered in a study disposable pan .. that way it can hold any turkey water that seeps out.

              Mine always cooks quicker than I think it will. I use one of those digital insert things that stays in the turkey, along the thigh and I also use instant read ones. Be sure to rotate the turkey; one year the temp was fine, took it out, let it rest and one side was bloody at the bone so I had to put it back in oven. (Toward the back of the oven is hotter area.)

              1. re: walker

                Thanks for that info. Everyone is so helpful Thank you. Im so nervous about hosting my first thanksgiving lol So This really helps

      2. Don't forget to get your "presents" out of both ends of the bird... (neck, gizzards 'n such)

        2 Replies
        1. re: zippypinhead

          I had nothing in my turkey except one piece of bag or anything

          1. re: LadyB13

            The giblets should be in a paper folded up or a bag. The turkey neck should also be in there so dig dig. If you can't find them check both ends, cavity and the turkey neck space. Sometimes the neck gets adhered to the inside so feel around the cavity.

        2. Here's a chart from another thread

          USDA roasting times at 325F
          8-12# 3-3.5 hrs stuffed... 2.75-3 hrs unstuffed
          12-14# 3.5-4 hrs stuffed... 3-3.75 hrs unstuffed
          14-18# 4-4.5 hrs stuffed... 3.75-4.25 hrs unstuffed
          18-20# 4.25-4.75 hrs stuffed... 4.25-4.5 hrs unstuffed
          20-24# 4.75-5.75 hrs stuffed...4.5-5 hrs unstuffed

          Check the temp at 3.5 hours. Turkeys very often cook faster than you'd think.

          You'd assume that thermometers take the reading at the point of the probe, but not all of them do. The sweet spot can be partway up the stem. Therefore, the best thing is to temp the drumstick or thigh parallel to the length of the bone.
          Don't touch the bone, but aim close to it. The last part of the bird to cook through is the crease where the thigh meets the body, and to a lesser degree, the one where the wind meets the body, especially if the bird is trussed. Jacques Pepin's tip is to cut a small slit, just through the skin (an inch or so at the thigh, less at the wing) of the raw bird before roasting.
          Likewise, temp the breast by placing the stem of the probe parallel to the ribs - in other words, running from head to tail.
          To temp the stuffing go in from the opening of the cavity, as though you were taking its temp with a rectal thermometer (sorry for that image).

          Just remember even with estimates, not all birds cook the same so remember to check it every so often with an accurate thermometer.

          1 Reply
          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Thank you This was very helpful I didnt know where to stick the thermometer now i do. Very helpful info