How Long To Bake Turkey (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 4 Hours

There are many animals and birds in the world that can be used as ingredients in cooking. Some are large, some are small, some are cooked for their taste, while some are cooked for their nutrients. Every meal must have the essential nutrients, and if one doesn’t add vitamins and minerals to his diet, their health will deteriorate. Among many other birds in the world, turkeys are very famous in America.

They are one of the main dishes cooked during the special occasion of Thanksgiving in both North and South America. Turkeys are large birds technically native to North America, and they can be hunted in the wild and can also be raised on farms. Known as one of the most popular sources of protein and very nutritious, turkey can be added to the diet in a limited amount.

Among many ways of cooking a turkey, baking is one of the most popular methods. On average, it takes about 4 to 5 hours to bake a turkey. The cooking time depends very much on the weight of the turkey baked and the temperature at which it is baked.

How Long To Bake Turkey

How Long To Bake Turkey?

425 Fahrenheit3 1/2 to 3 3/4 hours
400 Fahrenheit4 hours
350 Fahrenheit4 1/2 hours

Turkey contains many nutrients and they also contain a healthy amount of calories, protein, fat and they are devoid of carbs, which can come as a surprise since they are meat. Turkey contains Niacin, vitamin B6, B12, selenium, sodium, phosphorous, choline, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Another important fact about turkeys is that they have dark meat in their legs, thighs and they contain fat and more calories than white meat which is found in the non-active muscles. Yet, white meat contains more protein.

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Some people bake their turkeys with skin, some cook them without skin. Turkey skin contains fat and it is better to consume cuts without skin. On whole, turkey is rich in protein and full of vitamin B. They contain high levels of minerals which help in the production of hormones and maintaining growth and metabolic rates. It is better to avoid processed turkey like any other variety of processed meat, as processed foods, especially meat, contains high levels of sodium, which leads to the risk of high pressure.

Why Does It Take That Long To Bake A Turkey?

Turkey can be roasted and baked in ovens, but it can also be slow-cooked in a crockpot or even a slow cooker. Slow cooking turkey can make them tender. Turkey can be added to dishes like burgers, sandwiches, soups, curries, salads, and even casseroles. The meat from turkey’s breast, wings, legs, thighs can be cooked. Chicken can be added to the daily diet, while turkey can be added only a while since they contain more calories.

The cooking time of turkey is based on various factors like if the turkey is stuffed, the weight of the turkey, and the temperature at which it is cooked normally. According to USDA, it is better to bake turkey at a temperature higher than 350 Fahrenheit, because, if the temperature is lesser than that, the turkey will not be cooked enough. Hence, people bake turkey within 350 to 425 Fahrenheit.

When a 20-pound turkey is unstuffed, it takes about 4 to 4 1/2 hours to bake the turkey, and if it’s stuffed, it takes about 4 3/4 hours to bake it. The internal temperature must be at least 165 Fahrenheit to 185 Fahrenheit if it’s well cooked. There are many things to be followed before and after baking a turkey and to check the internal temperature, a meat thermometer must be stuck in deep to check the temperature.

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It is important to butter the turkey before and after baking since the butter can tenderize the meat well. Seasoning a turkey is also very much important to add the flavorings, and without flavors, the turkey will be bland and flavorless. One can add seasonings like kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and aromatics like celery, sliced carrots, and even shallots.

Loosely cover the turkey with aluminum foil for some time while it’s baking and remove the foil after a few hours and let it bake. Make sure to keep the turkey moist and favorable and it is better to add a glaze before baking them. Never let the juices leak and always keep the turkey in an oven tray or anything that will hold it well.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. I find the whole process of baking a turkey so tedious, especially with so many factors to consider.

  2. I never realized how long it takes to bake a turkey. Something to keep in mind for my next family gathering.

  3. Great informative piece. I’m definitely going to bake turkey at 400 Fahrenheit for 4 hours on Thanksgiving.

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