Food Safety

Turkey Basics - Safe Cooking

Following recommended cooking techniques will ensure you of a turkey that is not only safe from food borne illness, but tasty as well. Begin with a turkey that is completely thawed and an oven temperature of not less than 325 degrees. Place the turkey breast side up in a 2 to 2 ½ inch deep roasting pan. Add ½ cup water to the bottom of the pan. Plan for approximately 20 minutes of cooking time per pound for an unstuffed turkey. Turkey should be roasted until a meat thermometer registers 180 degrees at the thigh, 170 degrees for a turkey breast. If the turkey will be stuffed, ingredients should be mixed just before stuffing the bird and the cavity should be stuffed loosely. A stuffed turkey will take approximately 30 minutes per pound. In addition to a 180 degree temperature at the turkey thigh, the stuffing temperature should reach 165 degrees at the center. If a meat thermometer is not available, stuffing a turkey is not recommended. A true measure of doneness can only be determined by use of an accurate cooking thermometer. Many variables can affect roasting time. A partially frozen turkey requires longer cooking, shiny pans cook slower than dark pans, use of a foil tent for the entire cooking time can slow cooking, use of a lid or cooking bag can speed up cooking.


Cooked Turkey

Turkey must be cooked at a temperature not less than 325 degrees.

Meg McAlpine
Contributing Editor