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Countdown to Thanksgiving: How long to Thaw? To Stuff or Not?


A good rule of thumb for thawing turkey in the refrigerator is to allow 1 day for every 4 pounds. And I will tell you now I always stuff my turkey. I only baste once, when I put it in the oven at 325. If you keep opening the oven to baste, you’re losing temperature each time. If necessary, make a foil tent if the top is browning too quick.

I know there’s a lot of debate on whether to stuff or not – that’s up to you. The USDA says to make sure the stuffing reaches 165 degrees.

 Here’s the link:

Turkey Basics: Stuffing – USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

USDA Roasting Timetable for Fresh or Thawed Turkey at 325°F.

These times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed thermometer.


8 to 12 pounds 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 hours


8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours

The USDA does not recommend cooking turkey in an oven set lower than 325°F.




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