Consumer Information From USDA
Slightly Revised November 1998
Turkey Basics: Safe Cooking
Turkeys Are Cooking Faster Than Before
But "timing's NOT everything." Recommended cooking techniques must also be followed. A meat thermometer should be used to ensure a sufficient internal temperature has been reached to destroy bacteria and prevent foodborne illness -- as well as to prevent overcooking.
Many variables can affect the roasting time of the whole bird:
ROASTING INSTRUCTIONS FOR SAFETY AND DONENESS:
1. Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F. Preheating is not necessary.
2. Be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Times are based on fresh or completely thawed frozen birds at a refrigerator temperature of 40 °F or below.
3. Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep.
4. If a meat thermometer is not available, cook stuffing in a casserole. Mix ingredients just before stuffing a turkey; stuff loosely. Additional time is required for the turkey and stuffing to reach a safe internal temperature (see chart below).
5. For safety and doneness, the internal temperature should be checked with a meat thermometer.
The temperature must reach 180 °F in the thigh of a whole turkey (center of the stuffing should reach 165 °F) before removing it from the oven. Cook a turkey breast to 170 °F.
6. Juices should be clear. In the absence of a meat thermometer, pierce an unstuffed turkey with a fork in several places; juices should be clear with no trace of pink.
7. Let the bird stand 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.
APPROXIMATE COOKING TIMES
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