To cook a 15 pound turkey you need to know the correct temperatures and the ideal step-by-step in order to get the perfect flavor. The same thing happens with cooking time. So, how long does it take to cook a 15 pound turkey in the perfect way?
I will show you the best cooking times and temperatures to get the most of your 15 lb turkey.
Besides that, I will show you the best recipe, step by step, to prepare and cook the turkey in the right way. So, just continue reading below!
The best turkey cooking times and temperatures
Cooking a 15-pound turkey sounds intimidating even for a seasoned home cook, let alone a novice. Seasonal times are definitely calling for tried-and-true recipes or calling grandma for the tricks up her sleeve.
Whatever fits you, you should think and plan ahead for holiday dishes, and then shop accordingly. If you follow our guidelines and recipe, you can conquer any turkey, and still call grandma just for a heartfelt chat.
Before you hang up your cooking apron and buy a turkey from a local restaurant, you should know that the best cooking times and temperatures for turkey are easily determined. Simply calculate 13 minutes per pound at 350°F for an unstuffed turkey and 15 minutes per pound at 350°F for stuffed turkey.
How long does it take to cook a 15 pound turkey?
A stuffed turkey always takes slightly longer to cook properly, so a 15-pound stuffed turkey takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes at 350°F, while a bird without stuffing takes 3 hours and 20 minutes at the same temperature.
As you can see, the cooking times are quite simple to figure out, but the preparation requires more attention. Unfortunately, getting up on Thanksgiving morning and simply stuffing the animal in the oven will not suffice. If you have a frozen turkey, you have to thaw it first.
That takes 3-4 days in your fridge for a 15-pound one. This is the safest way to thaw a frozen bird, though in extreme cases, you can also cook a frozen bird; we’ll get to that later.
What is the best temperature for cooking a 15 lb turkey?
The best temperature for cooking a 15-pound turkey depends on how much time you plan to spend on it and how roasted you prefer your dish. It takes 3¾ to 4 hours at 325°F, and at 400°F for 3¼ to 3½ hours.
If you prepare them properly, both will yield a delicious warm holiday meal. Although cooking times vary, the turkey must reach an internal temperature of 165°F to be safely consumed. If you are unsure of your craft, it is a good idea to purchase a meat thermometer and test it before serving the dish to the family.
People frequently use the color of the meat to determine doneness, but this is not always a reliable method. Firstly, because pinkness can disappear before reaching a safe temperature, and secondly, some turkeys, such as organic or heritage birds, may never lose their pink color.
How long do you cook a stuffed turkey per pound?
A stuffed turkey usually takes 15 minutes per pound at 350°F to cook perfectly. Many skilled cooks, however, recommend avoiding stuffed birds and instead baking the stuffing alongside the turkey so that both can cook evenly and your cooking time is not significantly reduced.
However, stuffing a fitting apple into the neck cavity can help protect the breast from overcooking and keep it moist. Instead of stuffing, fill the main cavity with strong-smelling ingredients and spices such as celery, parsley, onion, garlic, or smoked sea salt.
Smokey Holiday Earl Grey 15 pound turkey amazing recipe
- 15 lb Oven-ready turkey
- 6 Garlic cloves
- 1 Lemon
- 250 g Butter melted
- 1 tbsp Ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp Ground white pepper
- 50 g Maple syrup
- ½ tbsp Ground ginger
- ½ tbsp Ground cummin
- 150 ml Strong smokey earl grey tea
- 200 ml Chicken stock
Before start cooking the 15lb turkey
- Try to go for fresh turkeys instead of frozen, but if you must thaw the turkey, allow 3-4 days in the fridge for it to be oven-ready.
- Take an appropriately sized roasting pan, preferably with smaller sides. Prepare the turkey by rinsing, tying, and cleaning it.
- Then fold the wings back and tie the drumsticks loosely together. Mesh all of your ingredients together, then heat them in a pan on medium heat for a few minutes to mix the flavors and temperatures.
- Baste and rub the turkey, as well as the cavities, and repeat the rubbing on the outside every 40 minutes while baking.
- Separately, cook the stuffing of your choice, infusing it with some of the cooking juices from your turkey.
- Cook the turkey at 350°F for 3-4 hours.
- Rotate it sometime in the middle, around 1.5 hours to 2 hours.
- If it’s not cooking evenly, use some tin foil to cover already cooked areas and prevent them from overcooking.
- Let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes before cutting it for proper moisture retention.
How many people does a 15 lb turkey serve?
A standard 15 lb turkey serves around 10-12 people. It’s best to count around 1 pound per person, but during the holiday season, take this with a grain of salt, especially if you cook delicious meals. Stuffing, whether baked separately or not, contributes to the total.
If you’re unsure about the serving size or even the number of guests, always aim for more than less, especially with meals that can be used as leftovers. There are plenty of recipes for leftover turkey that will feed your entire family for days, so don’t be afraid to bake some more.
As said before, accidents happen, and you might end up with a frozen bird on Thanksgiving morning. Don’t panic just yet, for there’s still hope. Technically, you can still prepare a frozen bird and have a blast with it. Although it’s entirely possible, cooking a frozen turkey takes approximately 50% more time, so keep that in mind.
For a 15 lb turkey, cook it at 325°F for 5-6 hours in two sections. Don’t bother with seasoning the meat for the first 2-2,5 hours because it needs to loosen up slightly to absorb the flavors. Then, for the remaining 2-3 hours, season the bird as advised in the recipe. Cooking a frozen turkey can even help leaner parts, such as the breast, avoid overcooking.
And don’t forget that holidays are not just about the dishes and preparations, but foremost about coming together and enjoying the company. So don’t stress yourself out. You got this with our guide!