How Long to Cook a Stuffed Turkey?

Most people are perfectly familiar with cooking turkey and chicken. However, it can be quite a challenge to perfectly cook a whole turkey, especially when you are doing it for the first time. If you want to know how long to cook a stuffed Turkey, read through as you find the perfect answer.

The ideal oven temperature for cooking a stuffed turkey is 50 °F and can take from 3 – 5 hours.

High oven temperatures will dry out the inside of the bird faster than one that is not hot enough. This means you’ll have to make sure your oven is set at the right temperatures for a stuffed turkey.

how long to cook a stuffed turkey

Generally, how long a stuffed turkey takes to cook depends on the weight and the temperatures of your oven.

Tips for preparing a stuffed turkey for cooking

Cooking a turkey involves much more than just opening up the bag of pre-made stuffing and adding them to the cavity before placing the bird into a hot oven.

Properly preparing and cooking a turkey requires some basic skills to master. It takes time to become an expert in the art of properly cooking and serving a great stuffed turkey.

Some basics are mentioned below:

Step 1: Choose the Right Stuffing

One of the most important things to consider when making a stuffed turkey is what type of stuffing you use. Although many people often buy whatever stuffing they see at their grocery store, there are actually a lot of differences between different kinds of bread and cracker mixes, and these differences affect the final product.

Using the best-quality ingredients possible is critical. Ensure to choose a stuffing that has a tender, mild poultry flavor, so it doesn’t overpower the taste of the meat.

You can find a wide variety of different types of bread, cracker mixes, nuts, dried fruit, and herbs that can really add to your stuffing. Most of all, try to avoid anything that tastes overly sweet since they tend to linger after baking and can end up being a bit unpleasant. Try to stick with something flavorful but not super sour.

Step 2: Choose your cooking method. 

The next step in preparing a stuffed turkey is deciding exactly what preparation method you’ll use. In general, there are two options available.

One way would involve wrapping the breast inside out and back to front, while the second option would involve cutting open the skin from the breast down to the leg.

Both methods are great. First, if the breasts were rolled in advance, you could save yourself some time by simply unwrapping the breasts right before putting them in the oven.

Secondly, rolling the legs helps keep the skin on longer since the roll would create a natural seam along the length of the bird’s body and keep everything intact during cooking.

Finally, if the birds were cut open from the bottom up, rather than just opened like a book, then you could still easily access the stuffing once your turkey was done without having to tear apart the entire thing.

So, how do you decide which method works best for you? Well, if you have several birds to cook and don’t want to spend more time than necessary on anyone, then definitely go with the “roll and bake” version.

That said, if you plan on serving several family members, the opening method might work better for you since you won’t need nearly as much space in your kitchen.

Step 3: Mix It Up

Once again, you need to carefully consider what ingredients you’d like included in your stuffing. If you’re making a dressing, include celery, onions, parsley, and whatever spices you think would blend nicely with the flavors of the bread. If you’re going with loaf stuffing, it’s best to incorporate an egg or two, some dried fruit, and maybe even some nuts.

Next, it’s time to add in all that delicious flavor. Just mix everything together until nice and well combined. Also, you can prepare the mixture ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator until ready to stuff your turkey. Once everything has been prepared, it’s time for stuffing.

Step 4: Stuff & Fold

Stuffing is the most important part of cooking a stuffed turkey. As mentioned above, there are many different ways you can approach stuffing your bird.

Some people prefer to combine their ingredients directly in the bird itself; others separate the ingredients and stuff them individually. No matter which way you choose, finish up by folding the innermost part of the turkey over to cover the contents of the cavity and fold the breast over.

Cooking a stuffed turkey

You can now set your stuffed turkey into the oven at 350 °F. After about 45 minutes, check in on your bird; you can also rotate the pan 180 °F and continue checking every 10-15 minutes as needed. This can help prevent any burning and guarantee that the internal temperatures reach 165 °F. Generally, regarding how long to cook a stuffed of turkey, below is a breakdown;

  • A 10-12 pound turkey should take around three to three and a half hours.
  • A 12-14 pound turkey takes three and a half hours to four hours.
  • A 14-18 pound takes between four to four and a half hours.
  • An 18-20 pond one takes a maximum of 4hours and 45minutes.
  • A 20-24 pound turkey takes 5 hours to 5hrs 45min.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I know my stuffed turkey is done cooking?

The cooked stuffing inside a roasted turkey will feel firm when pressed against the thigh bone. There might be a little bit of pink left in the middle, too. Luckily, you should see a rich brown color throughout the entire bird.

Nevertheless, you can use a meat thermometer to take the temperature of the stuffing, the thighs, and the breast.

The stuffing should be 165 °F, 170 °F for the breast, and 175 °F for the thigh.

What to serve stuffed turkey on?

There are so many delicious options available. From traditional side dishes such as mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and cranberry sauce to more adventurous offerings such as Brussels sprouts, fried rice, and macaroni and cheese. The possibilities are endless.

Can I cook a frozen turkey?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to cook a frozen turkey. However, you will require 50% more cooking time than an unfrozen one, but the flavor should still be good.

Can I thaw a turkey at room temperature?

Thawing a turkey at room temperature is not recommended – instead, defrost it properly in the refrigerator.

However, you can also put it in cold water to defrost for 30 minutes for a refrigerated turkey. If your turkey is completely frozen, defrost in cool water for 30 minutes for every pound.

Change water every 30 minutes and do not refreeze a defrosted turkey to avoid food poisoning.


Preparing a stuffed turkey should not be a challenge if you master the techniques discussed in this comprehensive guide. You’ll create a beautiful centerpiece for your table without spending an exorbitant amount of money.

And you do not have to worry about how long to cook a stuffed turkey since we’ve calculated the approximate cooking times for you.

READ ALSO: How Long to Cook Ribs in Oven at 350?