Cooking Turkey

Consumers have 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 preparation methods. Refer to the chart below for some quick tips on how to prepare a delicious turkey meal.

FriedGrilledOven
Roasted
Sauteed Slow
Cooker
Smoked
Bone-In
Breast
xxxxx
Bone-In
Thigh
xxxx
Boneless
Breast
xxxxx
Boneless Thighxxx
Ground
Turkey
xxx
Leg/Drumstickxxxxx
Sausage/Frankxxxxx
Tenderloinxxxx
Turkey Burgerx
Turkey Chopxxxx
Turkey Cutletxxxxx
Wing/Drumettexxxxx

Preparation Methods

Roasting Turkey

Cook until temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Cooking times are for planning purposes only – always use a meat thermometer to determine if the turkey is done. Approximate timetable for roasting a turkey at 325 degrees F:

Unstuffed Turkey Weight:
8 to 12 pounds
12 to 14 pounds
14 to 18 pounds
18 to 20 pounds
20 to 24 pounds
24 to 30 pounds
Cooking Time:
2 3/4 to 3 hours
3 to 3 3/4 hours
3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
4 1/2 to 5 hours
5 to 5 1/4 hours
Stuffed Turkey Weight:
8 to 12 pounds
12 to 14 pounds
14 to 18 pounds
18 to 20 pounds
20 to 24 pounds
24 to 30 pounds
Cooking Time:
3 to 3 1/2 hours
3 1/2 to 4 hours
4 to 4 1/4 hours
4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours
5 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 degrees F.

Deep Frying Turkey

Check out our step-by-step video on how to deep fry a turkey!

Equipment

You’ll need a 40- or 60-quart pot with basket, burner and propane gas tank, a candy thermometer to measure oil temperature and a meat thermometer to determine if the turkey is done. For added safety, have a fire extinguisher and potholders nearby.

Location

Place fryer on level dirt or grassy area. Never fry a turkey indoors, in a garage or in any other structure attached to a building. Avoid frying on wood decks, which could catch fire, and concrete, which can be stained by the oil.

Ingredients

Smaller turkeys, 8 to 10 pounds, and turkey parts such as breast, wings and thighs are best for frying. You’ll need approximately 5 gallons of oil; more for larger turkeys. Turkey can be injected with a marinade, coated with breading or seasoned with a rub before cooking. Approximately 1 cup of marinade is needed for an 8- to 10-pound turkey, 2/3 injected in the breast and 1/3 in the rest of the turkey.

Cooking Preparation

To determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey in the basket and place in the pot. Add water until it reaches 1 to 2 inches above the turkey. Remove the turkey and note the water level, using a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the pot to the surface of the water. Pour out the water and dry the pot thoroughly. Be sure to measure for oil before breading or marinating the turkey.

Frying the Turkey

Once the oil has come to temperature, place the turkey in the basket and slowly lower into the pot. For safety reasons, it is best to have two people lowering and raising the turkey. Whole turkeys require approximately 3 minutes per pound to cook. Remove turkey and check internal temperature with meat thermometer. The temperature should reach 165 degrees F.

Additional Safety Tips