When the holidays are approaching there’s so many things to worry about, and one of the most common questions for the main dish is how long to cook a 12 pound turkey?
Not only because you want to make sure to serve it one time but you can do other stuff as it’s cooking.
So, don’t worry anymore, this article is for you and we’ve prepared the perfect recipe and an easy guide to the perfect cooking time for turkey.
The best turkey cooking times and temperatures
After your Turkey is properly thawed, brined and seasoned or stuffed at your liking all you need to is put it in the oven.
But, do you know the perfect turkey cooking times and temperatures according to its weight? We made a little guide to help you out and to make sure your turkey is not overcooked or undercooked.
Also, if you don’t have a meat thermometer you should get one, as it is your best friend when it comes to make sure your turkey is fully cooked.
Guideline for cooking times and temperatures of unstuffed turkey:
|8 to 12 pound||325ºF||2¾ to 3 hours|
|12 to 14 pound||325ºF||3 to 3¾ hours|
|14 to 18 pound||325ºF||3¾ to 4¼ hours|
|18 to 20 pound||325ºF||4¼ to 4½ hours|
|20 to 24 pound||325ºF||4½ to 5 hours|
If you’re in doubt if your turkey is fully cooked or not, just check if the internal temperature of the thigh muscle is at 175ºF.
Guideline for cooking times and temperatures of stuffed turkey:
|8 to 12 pound||325ºF||3¼ to 3½ hours|
|12 to 14 pound||325ºF||3½ to 4 hours|
|14 to 18 pound||325ºF||4 to 4¼ hours|
|18 to 20 pound||325ºF||4¼ to 4¾ hours|
|20 to 24 pound||325ºF||4¾ to 5¼ hours|
After the 3 hour mark of baking a stuffed turkey, you should check in every 15 minutes to make sure the stuffing reaches 165ºF and the turkey breast and thighs reach 175ºF.
After baking, just cover your turkey loosely with foil and let it sit for 15 minutes before start carving.
How long does it take to cook a 12 pound turkey?
Using the previous guideline, an unstuffed 12 pound turkey should take about 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours to cook properly.
But in case of a stuffed 12 pound turkey it should take about 3 hours and 15 minutes to 3 hours and 30 minutes to cook turkey and stuffing thoroughly.
Do you cook a turkey at 325 or 350?
When baking a big turkey, the best temperature is 325ºF which ensures the meat is cooked all the way through and prevents it from becoming overdone.
Cook 12 lb turkey at 325
A 12 lb turkey cooked at 325ºF should take between 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours to be fully cooked if not stuffed.
Cook 12 lb turkey at 350
A 12 lb turkey baked at 350ºF is going to take a little less time to be fully cooked, as an higher temperature means that the meat will cook faster.
It should take between 2 hours and 30 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes for the turkey to be cooked thoroughly without stuffing.
But if you want to bake a 12 lb stuffed turkey at 350ºF it should take about 3 hours to 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Always remember to check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer to make sure it really is fully cooked.
12 Pound turkey amazing recipe
- Kitchen string
- Heavy duty fool
- Roasting pan (make sure it accommodates the turkey and isn’t oversized)
- Meat thermometer
- 12 lb Turkey
- 2 Sticks Unsalted softened butter
- 2 tbsp Olive oil And a little more to drizzle
- 4 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp Lemon zest
- 3 Large garlic cloves pressed
- 1/4 cup Shopped parsley
- 1/2 tbsp Sea salt
- 1/2 tbsp Black pepper
- 1 Large onion quartered
- 4 Garlic cloves halved
- 1/2 Bunch parsley
- 1 Lemon quartered
- Season the inside of the turkey cavity with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
- In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients for the flavored butter and mash them with a fork until well combined. Just make sure the lemon juice and butter are mixed, as it can take a few minutes for them to combine. Put to the side.
- Preheat the oven to 430ºF.
- With your fingers, start to separate the skin from the turkey breast from the front to the back of the turkey. Just make sure to be really careful so that the skin doesn’t tear.
- Separate 2/3 of the butter mixture and spread it under the skin of the turkey by massaging over the top of the skin.
- Use the remain 1/3 of the flavored butter mixture to rub the outside os breast, legs and wings of the turkey.
- Drizzle the olive oil on top of the turkey and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stuff the turkey with the onion, garlic, parsley and lemon.
- With the kitchen string, tie the turkey base and legs together. You can cross its legs to close up the cavity so the stuffing won’t come out while baking.
- Place the meat thermometer into the turkey beneath the drum stick and put the turkey in the oven and let it roast ate 430ºF for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and baste with the butter melted from the bottom of the roasting pan by using a baster or tilt one side of the pan and collect drippings with a large spoon.
Turn the oven down to 325ºF and let it bake for about 3 hours.
- To make sure it’s fully cooked the thermometer should register 170ºF and remove it from the oven.
- Put the turkey onto a serving platter and cover it loosely with foil. Letting it rest for at least 1 hour. This step will make the meat tender and easier to carve.
- You can use the drippings in the roasting pan for gravy.
- Decorate around the turkey at your liking. We used kale, apple, oranges and lemons.
How long to cook a 12 pound turkey in a bag?
Some people like to cook the turkey in a bag, besides being easier and faster it also leaves the meat juicier and tender.
If you are cooking an unstuffed 12 pound turkey in a bag it should take about 2 hours and 2 hours and 15 minutes to be properly cooked.
But a stuffed 12 pound turkey takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes to cook.
You should also check if the internal temperature is at 165ºF before removing the turkey from the oven.
How long to cook a 12 pound turkey in a roaster?
If you decide to use an electric roaster the time of cooking is the same as an oven, for stuffed and unstuffed turkey.
So, for a 12 pound turkey it should take about 3 and 3 hours and 45 minutes to cook for an unstuffed turkey. But for a stuffed turkey it should take about 3 hours and 30 minutes to 4 hours.
Hope you enjoyed this article on how long to cook a 12 pound turkey and the many tricks you can use to make sure your turkey meat is tender and juicy. If you try our recipe just leave a comment down below because we guarantee everyone will love it!