Organic Turkey: Cook It Your Way! (Part 1)

No matter how you cook your organic turkey, use a food thermometer to ensure the bird and stuffing reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, you may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.

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

Approximate Whole-Turkey Cooking Times (Fresh or Thawed in a Preheated 325°F Oven)

  • 8 to 12 pounds: 2¾ to 3 hours (unstuffed), 3 to 3½ hours (stuffed)
  • 12 to 14 pounds: 3 to 3¾ hours (unstuffed), 3½ to 4 hours (stuffed)
  • 14 to 18 pounds: 3¾ to 4¼ hours (unstuffed), 4 to 4¼ hours (stuffed)
  • 18 to 20 pounds: 4¼ to 4½ hours (unstuffed), 4¼ to 4¾ hours (stuffed)
  • 20 to 24 pounds: 4½ to 5 hours (unstuffed), 4¾ to 5¼ hours (stuffed)

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of this story, which covers cooking your organic turkey in the electric roaster oven and outdoor grill, among other methods.

Information courtesy of the USDA

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Comments

  • garybyman  November 10, 2009 at 8:23 am

    I’ve never cooked an organic turkey before and I was wondering how they compare with an unorganic turkey as far as juicyness is concerned. Organic turkey seems to have alot less fat and that makes me think they’d be much dryer.
    I was hoping someone there might offer some advice on that and if there is a difference is cooking times. Thank you.

  • Barbara Feiner  November 10, 2009 at 10:27 am

    The key to a juicy turkey is basting. All turkeys will become dry if you fail to baste them during the cooking process.

    You can slather oil or butter under the skin when you place your turkey in the oven; this helps the meat retain moisture. Follow the recommended cooking times and test your turkey’s temperature to avoid overcooking.

    I generally avoid gravy, but Thanksgiving is the exception. It, too, adds moisture.

  • Crystal  November 26, 2009 at 3:51 am

    I’ve had organic turkeys for the past three years and will never go back to commercial, foremost because of the maltreatment of those birds but also because the free-range organic birds are very, very tender and exceptionally juicy and have wonderful flavor compared to the always dry, Styrofoam/tasteless commercial birds.

    I have never basted or used butter or oil on my birds but I do use a covered pan or an turkey oven bag (one of the only times I use anything plastic around my food), and have always had exceptional results.

    How organic birds were raised and fed does make some difference but all I’ve had were wonderful.

  • nick hill  November 26, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Urgent Help..I bought a organic turkey from Trader Joe’s and the turkey has a ton of hair on it …. is this normal or is there something wrong with the turkey?

    Any quick help is very much appreciated.

  • Homedecorpro  October 22, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Would have thought the turkey should have been properly plucked. Organic definitely tastes better. Can’t wait for part 2 on turkey fryers!

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