Cooking Times for Turkey Meat

Updated March 23, 2017

Cooking times for turkey meat will vary depending on the turkey's size. Roasting an entire turkey will take more time than roasting a smaller piece of breast meat or frying up a turkey burger. Turkey, like all meats, must be cooked to a minimal internal temperature in order to be eaten safely. The cooking time for turkey will correspond to the amount of time it takes to reach the proper temperature.

Cooking Times and Temperature

According to the USDA, turkey needs to be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 73.9 degrees Celsius. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey during the cooking process. When roasting a whole bird, check the temperature after one hour in a 325 degree oven. Again, cooking times will differ according to your oven, but generally an unstuffed 1.81 to 2.72kg. bird can take a little over three hours to cook. A 9.07kg. turkey can take up to five hours.

Cooking a turkey with the stuffing inside will also add to your cooking time; it is, however, recommended that stuffing be cooked outside the bird in a separate casserole dish to prevent food contamination.

A smaller piece of tenderloin that you are frying or broiling may only take 15 to 20 minutes. A 0.113kg. turkey burger will fry up in about 10 minutes. The smaller the piece of meat, the less time it will take to cook it.

How to Take the Temperature

Knowing where to check the temperature is as important as doing the check in the first place. In order to get a proper reading, place the probe of the thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey breast. Don't go so deep that you hit bone or your reading won't be accurate. If you are only roasting a leg, find the thickest part of that piece of meat to get the temperature.

Proper cooking temperature

When you get the thermometer in the right place, take your reading. When it hits 165 degrees, push the probe in just slightly deeper. If the temperature starts to drop, even a little, let it cook for a few more minutes. This assures proper cooking all the way through. Pull the turkey out of the oven and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before you start to carve. This allows the juices that have pulled into the centre of the meat during the cooking process to redistribute, making carving easier. It also makes for a more tender bird.


Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Nikki Jardin began freelance writing in 2009 and focuses on food and travel articles. She has been a professional cook and caterer for more than 20 years. She holds a degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University.