carved turkey on platter for how to cook a turkey recipe

How To Cook A Turkey

Wondering how to cook a turkey? This is the easiest, most basic, step-by-step guide for how to cook a turkey for a stress-free Thanksgiving dinner.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Thawing Time 4 days
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 15
Calories 454kcal
Author The Gunny Sack


  • 15 lb turkey (takes 4 days to thaw this size in fridge)


  • Remove the netting and wrapper from the thawed turkey and drain the juices.
  • Remove the neck, giblets bag, and gravy packet (if present) from the main cavity or the neck cavity. Discard or save, if desired.
  • Put the turkey in a roasting pan breast side up.
  • Cover and bake at 325˚F until the breast reaches 165˚F. For a 15 lb turkey that is about 3 1/2 hours. See notes for more weights and times.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes.
  • Carve and place on a platter or in a slow cooker for serving.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days and in the freezer for up to two months.



Cooking times by weight for a fresh or thawed frozen turkey baked at 325˚F or until the breast reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F.
  • 7-10 pound for 2.5 – 3 hours.
  • 10-18 pound for 3 – 3.5 hours.
  • 18-22 pound for 3.5 – 4 hours.
  • 22-24 pound for 4 – 4.5 hours.
  • 24-30 pound for 4.5 – 5 hours.


Calories: 454kcal | Protein: 69g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 231mg | Sodium: 360mg | Potassium: 721mg | Vitamin A: 180IU | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2.8mg