A properly cooked turkey can completely transform your Thanksgiving meal.
It is crispy, tender, juicy, and perfectly flavorful.
However, if you don’t cook it within recommended timelines, it will be rubbery if undercooked and dry when overcooked.
Knowing how long to cook the turkey at different weights like 22lb is vital, so you don’t ruin the supposedly delicious turkey meal.
So, how long am I supposed to cook a 20lb turkey?
Cooking 20lb turkey should take 4¼ -4 ½ hours.
However, this time may change depending on the temperature, stuffing, heat consistency, skinless or skin-in, and whether you cover it with aluminum foil.
While all these factors may determine its doneness, the internal temperature should reach 165 F for safe consumption.
Overcooking or undercooking turkey can be disappointing, especially when you have done everything else right.
Moreover, it poses a risk of bacteria-caused diseases.
Knowing how long to cook will help you achieve your mouthwatering turkey taste and crispness goal.
This article will check doneness, cooking a frozen turkey, thawing, and how long to cook a 20lb turkey under different conditions.
How long to cook 20lb unstuffed turkey
Cooking 20lb unstuffed turkey takes 4 ¼ -4 ½ hours.
However, time may alter depending on temperature, heat consistency, and whether it is skinless or skin-in.
Whatever time it may take, ensure that the internal temperature reaches 165 F.
Generally, unstuffed turkey takes 13 minutes per pound.
Therefore, to get the time required toocook ant turkey size, measure the weight of your turkey before cooking.
Then multiply the result by 13 minutes.
How long to cook 20lb stuffed turkey
It takes 4 ¼-4 ¾ hours to cook 20lb stuffed turkey.
The time is longer than for unstuffed because the stuffings add thickness of the turkey.
This time may differ according to the amount of stuffings, temperature, and whether it is boneless or bone-in.
To determine the cooking time for different stuffed turkey weights, multiply by 15 minutes.
Each pound of stuffed turkey takes 15 minutes to cook.
When checking your turkey’s doneness, insert your meat thermometer into the center of the stuffings.
How long to cook 20lb turkey at 350 F
To cook 20 lb turkey at 350 F, you’ll take about 5 hours.
However, this time may slightly fluctuate depending on temperature consistency, if boneless or bone-in and whether it is covered using foil..
To avoid overcooking, you can check the internal temperature 10 minutes before time lapses.
Overcooking causes the meat to dry out and become tasteless.
How long to cook 20lb frozen turkey
Cookin 20lb frozen turkey takes 6 ¾ -7 ½ hours to cook thoroughly.
Each pound of a frozen turkey takes 22 ½ minutes.
The disadvantage of cooking frozen turkeys is that they are likely to dry out due to moisture loss.
To reduce time and maintain moisture, you can defrost or thaw until it reaches room temperature.
How to thaw 20lb turkey
You can thaw your frozen turkey in three ways.
Refrigerator thawing is the recommended defrosting method.
It allows the turkey to thaw at a safe and consistent temperature.
Using this method may take some time.
Therefore, you need to thaw your turkey for a day or more, depending on the weight of the turkey.
It takes one day to thaw 4-5 pounds of turkey. Hence, for 20lb, it would take five days.
Before you thaw your turkey in the microwave, look at the manual to determine the size of the turkey that can fit.
If it’s suitable, place your turkey in a microwave-safe dish, then place it in the oven.
The dish should be large enough to collect the juice that falls off.
Set the defrost function according to the weight of the turkey.
Generally, one pound of turkey should defrost in 6 minutes.
To thaw correctly, ensure you flip it several times during the thawing process.
Cold water thawing
When thawing the turkey in cold water, leave the wrapper covering it on.
Then put it in a large bowl of water, ensuring that the turkey is fully covered.
Otherwise, you can fill the sink with water and put in your turkey.
After 30 minutes, change the water and put it in another cold water.
For a time, let the turkey thaw for 30 minutes for each pound.
Therefore, a 20lb turkey will take 10 hours.
How long to cook 15lb turkey
15lb of turkey takes 3 ¾ -4 ¼ hours to cook well.
Nevertheless, this temperature may change depending on temperature levels, whether stuffed or unstuffed and if it is boneless on bone-in.
While his other factor may affect the timing, to ensure safe consumption of turkey, ensure that it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.
Otherwise, you will risk having food-borne diseases.
How long to cook 15ld stuffed turkey
Cooking 15lb stuffed chicken takes 4- 4 ¼ hours to be ready.
Other factors that may affect the timing include the amount of stuffings, temperature, skinless or skin-in, and heat consistency.
To check on the turkey’s doneness, insert a thermometer at the center of the stuffing.
If ready, it should read 165 F.
Due to the other factors that may affect its doneness, begin checking it’s readiness 10-15 minutes before time elapses.
It will prevent overcooking, which can cause drying out.
How long to cook 22lb turkey
It takes 4 ½ – 5 hours to cook 22lb turkey.
Nevertheless, the time may differ under different conditions such as temperature, thickness, stuffings, and whether it is bone-in or boneless.
Therefore, monitoring the temperature is crucial to avoid overcooking or undercooking.
How long to cook 22lb stuffed turkey
Cooking 22lb stuffed turkey takes 4 ¾ -5 ¼ hours.
This time can adjust based on the temperature, what you stuff, and whether it’s boneless or bone-in.
You can weigh the new weight after stuffing to know the time it should take.
It is vital because stuffings can have different weights that can cause overcooking or undercooking.
How to check the doneness of 20lb chicken using a thermometer
A thermometer is the best way to determine whether the turkey is done.
It helps you know when the turkey reaches the recommended safe temperature for turkey.
To check, follow this procedure;
Locate the thigh
The thigh is part of the thickest part, and is also dark meat that takes longer to cook.
Therefore, it is the best place to determine the doneness of the whole chicken.
Insert the thermometer
Next, insert the thermometer into the thigh.
Ensure that the thermometer does not touch the bone because it would give the wrong reading.
Let the thermometer stay inside the thigh until it reads 165 F.
Ensure that it doesn’t surpass this temperature because it would dry out and become tasteless.
How to check the doneness of turkey without a thermometer
There are other ways you can use to know if your turkey is done apart from using a thermometer.
Use the turkey weight
You can use weight to know if your turkey is ready.
Every weight has a specified time.
For instance, 20lb takes 4 ¼ -4 ½ hours to cook properly, and 10lb takes 2 ¾ -3 hours.
Keep the oven closed
Opening the oven will prolong the cooking time because it will lose heat.
Wait until it is ¾ into the specified cooking time to open the oven.
If the turkey is too browned, cover with a tent foil.
Observe the thigh
Use a knife to cut into the center or pierce the deepest part of the turkey with a thermometer.
Then look at the juice running from the turkey.
If the juice is clear, it shows that it is ready.
However, if it is pink, it’s a sign of undercooking; hence return it to the oven for further cooking.
There is the verdict on how long you are supposed to cook 20 lb turkey.
Ensure that you know the weight of your turkey before you start cooking so you can adhere to the timings.
If you have cooked at the right time, the taste and juiciness will be the main discussion at your next event.
You can’t afford to ruin an entire party because of some undercooked or overcooked turkey.
Can I prepare uncooked stuff ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare uncooked stuffing before time.
However, don’t refrigerate them. Instead, freeze or cook immediately.
For cooked stuffings, put them in an airtight container within 2 hours after cooking.
Put in the fridge and use within 3-4 days.
Should I rest turkey while covered?
Yes, if it is large, you can cover the turkey with aluminum foil loosely for about 40 minutes.
Covering with aluminum foil will help absorb moisture and spread juices.
Nevertheless, avoid covering too tightly because moisture will seal inside, making the turkey less crispy.
Can i cook partially thawed turkey?
Yes, you can cookpartialy thawed turkey.
If you thawed but some parts remained icy and dry, cook at reduced heat than frozen which takes 6 ¾ -7 ½ hours.
Ensure that you monitor its temperature to avoid overcooking or undercooking.
22lb Turkey Recipe
- 1 oven
- 20- pounds turkey
- 6 yellow onions
- 2 quartered lemons
- 1 ounce Fresh rosemary
- 1 ounce fresh sage
- 1 ounce Fresh thyme
- 6 peeled and chopped carrots
- 12 halved baby red potatoes
- 1/2 a tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups Unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 a teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
- 10 crushed garlic cloves
- Make sure the oven is set between 325°F and 350°F.
- Take your thawed turkey out of the fridge and set it aside for an hour to reach room temperature.
- Prepare a large roasting pan; on its bottom, stack baby red potatoes, carrots, and onions. Sprinkle salt and pepper and add olive oil over them.
- To make herb butter, combine salt, pepper, butter, garlic, and fresh herbs in a small bowl.
- Place turkey on a roasting rack in a pan, breast side up. It’ll allow fat to drain out of the carcass and help keep the turkey moist during the cooking process.
- Remove your turkey’s giblets and neck. Then pat dry it with paper towels.
- Fill the turkey’s cavity with the onion, lemon, and herbs. Put several tablespoons of herb butter beneath the turkey’s breasts by loosening the skin with your fingers. Brush the remaining herb butter mixture over the entire turkey.
- Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; don’t touch bone or other parts of the bird. Keeping the thermometer probe on the thigh for approximately 10 minutes will allow you to calculate the cooking time.
- Bake at 325F for 15 to 20 minutes per pound.
- The meat thermometer should read 180 degrees F in the center and at the thighs and legs. The ideal internal temperature for a well-cooked bird is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if any part is not cooked enough, re-bake it.
- Remove your bird from the oven and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This lets all the juices redistribute evenly throughout the piece, ensuring the turkey is moist and flavorful.