Thanksgiving Turkey Cooking Times: Roasted Or Deep Fried, Here’s How To Cook Your Holiday Bird

If you’re in charge of cooking the Thanksgiving turkey this year, figuring out how long it takes to cook the holiday bird is a must so it turns out golden brown and juicy. Whether you a buy fresh or frozen turkey and plan to roast or deep fry it, cooking times vary depending on the size of the bird and the cooking method you choose.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends cooking a whole turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF, making a food thermometer a must-have kitchen gadget for cooking a perfect bird. Of course, you can always opt to eat your turkey dinner at one of the many restaurants open on Thanksgiving if you’re short on cooking skills, but it’s worth a try even for the most novice of home chefs.

How long does it take to thaw a frozen turkey? If you purchase a fresh turkey, you can start roasting (or deep frying) the bird with minimal preparation. If you opted to save a little money and buy a frozen bird, it can take days to thaw it. You will need 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey, so a 10-pound turkey will take about two days to thaw in your refrigerator.

To roast or deep fry, that is the question — or at least something to consider, depending on how much time you want to spend cooking your holiday turkey.

The cooking time for a roast turkey depends on whether or not you stuff your bird and how much it weighs. An unstuffed turkey that weighs between 8 and 12 pounds (roasted at a recommended 325 degrees) should take slightly less than three hours.

Deep frying a turkey has become very popular over the past few years. It’s the fastest way to get the turkey on the table, provided you don’t start a fire by being careless. The Food Network recommends that you deep fry a room temperature turkey for approximately three minutes per pound. There is a risk of starting a fire or getting severely burned if you skip any of the safety steps listed here.

If you still have questions about cooking your Thanksgiving turkey, call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line at 1-800-BUTTERBALL. The company states that professionally trained experts have been “manning the lines and answering questions from holiday cooks” for more than 30 years. Call on their expertise if you need to talk turkey during the holiday season.