When you only roast a turkey once or twice a year, it’s easy to forget details like how to thaw it, stuff it, and the cooking times per pound. Roasting a turkey is essentially the same as roasting a chicken; prepare it in the same way, and if you don’t use a bread, rice or cornbread stuffing, stuff the cavity with a bunch of fresh thyme, a halved lemon, a quartered onion and/or a head of garlic, separated into cloves. If you’re looking for something new to do with your turkey this year, check out these 25 ways to pimp up your bird. If you have a good quality turkey, all you need is to rub the skin with a little softened butter or oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
If you just need to know how long to cook a turkey, here are some turkey cooking times:
Roast the bird at 325°F for 10-12 minutes a pound if it’s not stuffed, 12-15 minutes a pound if it is. If it browns too quickly, cover it loosely with foil. If it has been brined, it will be done about 20-30 minutes earlier than if it hasn’t, since the extra moisture helps conduct heat throughout the meat. Once it’s cooked, the drumstick should move easily in its socket and the juices from the thigh will run clear. If you have a meat thermometer, the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh should register 170°F for an unstuffed turkey or 180°F for a stuffed turkey. If your turkey is done before the stuffing inside is cooked through (it should read 165°F), pull the stuffing out and bake it longer in a casserole dish. Let the turkey rest, tented with foil, for 20 minutes before you carve it.