Cooking Turkey

There are so many options available when it comes to turkey cuts! Plus, turkey’s versatility in the kitchen makes this lean protein fit for just as many cooking methods. This quick guide will help you prepare tasty turkey dishes every time.

Turkey Cut and Cook Type

Refer to the chart below on the different parts of the turkey along with the cooking method they are best used for.

Meat CutFriedGrilledOven RoastedSautéedSlow CookerSmoked
Boneless Thighxxx
Turkey Burgerx
Turkey Chopxxxx
Turkey Cutletxxxxx

Preparation Methods

Roasting Turkey

Cook until temperature reaches 165°F. Cooking times are for planning purposes only – always use a meat thermometer to determine if the turkey is done. Use the time chart below to see how long to roast a turkey in an oven at 325°F.

Approximate Turkey Roasting Times at 325° F

WeightCooking Time (Unstuffed)Cooking Time (Stuffed)
8 to 12 pounds2 3/4 to 3 hours3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds3 to 3 3/4 hours3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds4 1/2 hours to 5 hours4 3 /4 to 5 1/4 hours
24 to 30 pounds.5 to 5 1/4 hours5 1/4 to 6 1/4 hours

Grilling Turkey

Indirect heat is ideal for cooking whole turkeys, which need slower cooking. With indirect heat, the lid is closed and the meat is placed in a tray or on the unlit portion of the grill. Grill the turkey for approximately 12 to 15 minutes per pound, according to the grill manufacturer’s instructions. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the turkey’s internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Turkey on the grill may seem a little daunting, especially if you are not used to grilling a whole bird all at once or unsure whether you can prepare a perfectly juicy and tender turkey breast outdoors. With a good attitude, willingness to learn and the proper grilling tools, you can become the boss of the barbecue in no-time.

Here are a few resources to help you get started:

Deep Frying Turkey

Deep-fried turkey, a concept that started in the South, has risen in popularity nationwide. It’s a perfect twist for holiday feasts, barbecues and block parties. Learn more about how to fry a turkey and find a few tasty recipes as part of “The How-To on Deep Frying Turkey.”