How to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or for every day cooking. This page is dedicated to turkey cooking times, buying turkey, storing, cleaning, thawing and turkey cooking instructions so you can't go wrong.
2.25kg/5lb serves 4-6
3.6kg/8lb serves 6-8
4.5kg - 5.6kg/10 - 12lb serves 8-10
9kg/20lb serves 12-15
Fresh turkey should be collected no more than two days before cooking. When you get the turkey home, remove any packaging. Remove the giblets from the bag and put them in a covered container in the fridge. Wipe the turkey inside and out with kitchen paper, put on a large plate, cover with foil and keep in the bottom of your fridge. If there are any spills, the juices will then not drip over other food. Bring the turkey out of the fridge 30 minutes to 1 hour before roasting so that it reaches room temperature.
Frozen turkey should be thawed in the packaging in a cool place at a temperature below 15C/60F. Alternatively you can speed the thawing by immersing in regularly changed water below 15C/60F.
When the turkey has thawed (check that no ice crystals remain in the cavity), remove the packaging and store it in the fridge as for fresh. Now go on and read how to cook a turkey.
in water = 10 hours
not in water = 20 hours
in water = 19 hours
not in water = 22-24 hours
in water = 30 hours
not in water = 24-28 hours
in water = 39 hours
not in water = 40-48 hours
Not sure how long to cook a turkey? Use my cooking chart below on how to cook a turkey. You need to allow 18 minutes per 450g/1lb (stuffed weight). Roast at 190C/gas 5/fan 17C, covered with foil until the last 30 minutes.
2.25kg/5lb will take 1 1/2 hours
3.6kg/8lb will take 2 1/2 hours
4.5kg-5.6kg/10-12lb will take 3-3 1/2 hours
6.75kg/15lb will take 4 1/2 hours
9kg/20lb will take 6 hours
To test whether your turkey is done: If you have a meat thermometer, then this will come into its own. Push it into the thickest part of a thigh, without touching the bone. It should read 90C for the turkey to be properly cooked.
Alternatively you can test with a skewer. Prick the thickest part of a turkey thigh and catch the juices. If they are clear and golden the turkey is cooked. If there are streaks of blood, it is not, return to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Don't open the oven door as this slows down the turkey cooking.
Take the legs off Steadying the turkey with a large fork, cut the skin between one of the thighs and the body, then bend the thigh downwards. Press down on the leg to expose the hip joint, then cut straight through the joint to remove the whole leg from the body. Repeat with the other leg.
Cut legs in half With the knuckle end facing upwards, cut through the joint between the drumstick and the thigh. Repeat with the other leg.
Carve the leg meat Holding the knuckle end of each drumstick, carve the meat from one side. Repeat all around the bone and then slice the thigh meat.
Wings Wiggle one of the wing bones around to find where the joint is attached to the body, then cut through as close to the breast as possible. Repeat with other wing.
Remove the breast With your knife held horizontally, make a cut at the base of one side of the breast. Use a sawing action to cut the underneath of the breast to free it from the carcass. Repeat on the other side.
Slice the breast Starting at the neck end, slice the meat on the diagonal, including the stuffing. Lift off each slice by holding it between the knife and fork.
Enjoy your turkey at Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and all year round. How to cook a turkey recipes coming soon!
Zachary - USA
Tremendous website. I lived in Germany for almost 14 years. Your recipes have me excited about getting back into German cooking. Thanks so much!
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