It’s time to cook your turkey, but you got a late start.
Maybe you slept in or forgot to thaw the turkey ahead of time.
Maybe your wondering if you can increase the oven temperature to decrease the cooking time?
If you’re wondering whether you should roast your turkey at 325°F or 350°F, keep reading for details.
We’ll discuss the pros and cons of both temperatures!
Table of contents
Should You Cook a Turkey at 325°F or 350°F?
There are several factors to consider when choosing a temperature.
Stuffed Turkey vs. Unstuffed Turkey
An unstuffed turkey will cook faster than a stuffed bird.
You should roast a stuffed turkey for at least 20 minutes a pound at 325°F.
If you’re roasting a stuffed turkey, you’ll probably want to increase the heat. This will ensure it is finished on time.
The Size of the Turkey
Bigger turkeys have longer cook times. This is something else to consider.
The Cooking Method
If you’re cooking the turkey in a smoker, you may want to consider going “low and slow.”
This will allow the extra smoke flavor to enhance the turkey.
You won’t notice as big a difference when using other cooking methods.
Many people don’t notice a difference when using a convection oven or air fryer.
The Cook’s Convenience
Do you have enough time to cook it at a lower temperature?
You might need to increase the heat to get it done on time.
Will you need the oven space for your side dishes?
If you need an extra available oven rack, you should get the turkey out of there quickly.
How Do You Roast a Turkey?
Cooking a turkey is pretty easy!
Just follow these simple steps.
Prepare the Turkey
If you’re short on time, you can defrost it in the microwave or a bowl of cold water.
Never thaw it at room temperature or in hot water.
You can cook a frozen turkey if you adjust your cook times!
If can either remove the giblets or leave them in.
This step is optional, but some people love it.
If you do brine the turkey, we recommend using kosher salt.
Be sure to pat dry with paper towels before cooking to achieve crispy skin.
This is when you would stuff it. We recommend cooking an unstuffed turkey for food safety reasons.
Smoke or Roast the Turkey
Now cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
For best results, place it on a roasting rack over a roasting pan.
Avoid checking the temperature until it is getting close.
Every time you open the oven, you’re letting out heat and increasing the cooking time.
Use a meat thermometer at the thickest portion of the bird. This will help you find the accurate internal temperature.
Do not let the food thermometer touch the bone. This could result in an inaccurate temperature reading.
Serve the Turkey
Once the turkey reaches a safe temperature, remove it from the oven.
While the turkey breast meat should reach 165°F, the thigh meat can cook longer.
A lot of people like to cook their dark meat to an internal temperature of 180°F.
However, the light meat will get dry if it gets this hot.
You can always cook the dark and white meat separately for the best results.
Let it rest for about 30 minutes before carving.
Turkey Dinner FAQs
If you’re still nervous about cooking a turkey, we’ve got you covered.
We have answers to frequently asked questions about cooking a roasted turkey.
Should I Cover the Turkey?
You do not need to cover the turkey.
You can cook the turkey uncovered at first.
If any parts of the turkey are getting brown too fast, you can cover them.
How Can I Keep Turkey From Drying Out?
The best way to prevent dry turkey is don’t overcook it!
Some people will put water in the oven. This isn’t necessary.
You may also consider brining the turkey beforehand.
You should buy a pound per guest. You can get a bigger turkey if you want leftovers.
Since it is easier to cook smaller turkeys, you may consider buying two small turkeys.
This is only helpful if you have a lot of people to serve.
Now you’re ready to roast the perfect turkey!
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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