Turkey Cooking Times

Posted on 18th December 2012
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Getting your turkey cooking times right can be tricky. There are so many other things to worry about on Christmas day that all too often you forget those carefully planned turkey cooking times and your lovely turkey is just shoved into the oven.

The truth is that getting your turkey cooking times right can really make or break your Christmas meal. Don’t panic, for even the largest whole bird getting the turkey cooking times right is really very easy.

Perfect turkey cooking times

So, you’ve decided how big a turkey you need to feed everyone on Christmas day, and from that you work out the turkey cooking times, right? Wrong.

  • You need to weigh your bird once it is fully prepared, stuffing and all, to get the turkey cooking times. Otherwise you risk having an undercooked bird and ruining all your veg whilst you finish roasting it.
  • The rule of thumb most people go by when working out turkey cooking times is 20 minutes per kg plus an extra 90 minutes.
  • If you are cooking a small turkey you’ll end up with a tough, dry bird using this method. Adjust your turkey cooking times to 20 minutes per kg plus 75 minutes for a smaller bird.
  • You don’t want your oven to be much hotter than 190°c for these cooking times or your bird will be burnt on the outside and undercooked in the middle.
  • Once you’ve worked out your turkey cooking times you need to add on at least a thirty minute resting period at the end. This is a great opportunity to free up the oven for crisping your roast potatoes and getting the Yorkshire puddings to rise.

Flexible turkey cooking times

The most important thing to remember is that your turkey cooking times are not set in stone. Always prick the thickest part of your turkey (usually the thigh) to ensure the juices run clear before serving, and adjust the turkey cooking times if necessary.

You could also invest in a meat thermometer to help get perfect turkey cooking times. Once your turkey cooking times up you poke the thermometer into the thickest part of the bird. If it reads at 180°c your turkey is done.

As a rough guide to turkey cooking times;

a 4 kilo turkey will need 2 - 2½ hours

an 8 kilo turkey will need 3 - 4 hours

an 11 kilo turkey will need 4 - 5 hours

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