Do you know how to cook a turkey? Have you ever cooked a turkey? Well, 2020 is a different kind of year. There is a recent survey that said one in four people are saying they will be cooking a turkey for the very first time this year.

The survey reported in will surely cause the Butterball Turkey Hotline to go into overload. So here are a few things to remember when cooking a turkey.

Give your turkey plenty of time to defrost in a refrigerator. The Food Network recommends:

Plan on 24 hours of fridge thawing for every 5 pounds of frozen turkey (for example: budget 4 full days of thawing in the fridge for a 20-pound turkey). Keep the turkey wrapped, and occasionally check to see if the baking sheet or roasting pan needs to be drained.

They also give guidelines as how to defrost in a sink and last-minute options too. Find out more at

Once you start preparing the turkey be sure to wash your hands a lot! We are used to doing that now with COVID.

Be sure to take that little bag of stuff out of the turkey. Yes, there is a little paper bag with the turkey neck, liver, heart and stuff inside the turkey! Some people forget to take that out and well...yuck!

If you are stuffing your turkey be sure you are cooking it in an oven. If you are smoking it the heat doesn't get hot enough and bacteria can grow. So you'll have to make the dressing separately in the oven.

When will the turkey be done? website has a cheat sheet! Yay!:


Turkey Recipe Cheat-Sheet

  • How big of a turkey? This method is best for a 12 to 16 pound bird. (Buy 1 to 1 1/2 pounds turkey for each guest.)
  • How long to cook the turkey? 13 minutes of cooking time for each pound of turkey if roasting empty and 15 minutes per pound if stuffed.
  • What temperature to cook the turkey? Preheat the oven to 450°F then drop the temperature to 350°F after putting the turkey into the oven.
  • What temperature should the turkey be? The turkey is done when it registers a minimum of 165° in the thickest part of the thigh.
  • How long to rest the turkey? Rest the turkey for at least 15 minutes before carving.

And of course, don't stress out and have fun!

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