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For the first time I am cooking a FRESH turkey! How long do I cook a 15.8 oz stuffed fresh turkey - there's no pop-up timer! What difference, if any, is there between cooking fresh vs. frozen??

asked by pat_lunt about 6 years ago
5 answers 9576 views
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Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added about 6 years ago

Fresh will be juicier because it wasn't frozen. The cooking times should be about the same. Epicurious has a great chart for turkey doneness, taking into account turkey size, oven temp & time: http://bit.ly/dMQo7M But it's best to take the internal temperature too -- you'll want to hit at least 150 in the fleshy part of the thigh (the temp will continue to climb as it rests).

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 6 years ago

Get an instant read thermometer. Cook to the temperature for best results. Those popups overcook it anyway. Just use timeline as a guide. from Martha Stewart
UNSTUFFED (time in hours)

4 to 6 lb breast..........1 1/2 to 2 1/4
6 to 8 lb breast..........2 1/4 to 3 1/4
8 to 12 lbs.......................2 3/4 to 3
12 to 14 lbs......................3 to 3 3/4
14 to 18 lbs................3 3/4 to 4 1/4
18 to 20 lbs................4 1/4 to 4 1/2
20 to 24 lbs......................4 1/2 to 5

STUFFED (time in hours)
8 to 12 lbs.......................3 to 3 1/2
12 to 14 lbs......................3 1/2 to 4
14 to 18 lbs......................4 to 4 1/4
18 to 20 lbs................4 1/4 to 4 3/4
20 to 24 lbs................4 3/4 to 5 1/4

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 6 years ago

Per the advice you've already received, it's the temperature that matters and not the time. Keep in mind as well that no two ovens are calibrated exactly identically. There could be a 25F degree difference between two ovens. A really good instant read thermometer is a very valuable tool to have. But also expensive. However you can use it for all types of meats and roasts.

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added about 6 years ago

if it is a true fresh it will cook much faster than a previously frozen. Be careful, a lot of food markets defrost turkeys and claim they are fresh, or they were stored as partially frozen for several weeks before being sold as fresh. The processors can not kill enough fresh turkeys in the couple days before Thanksgiving, they are starting in October to provide "fresh" turkeys for Thanksgiving. There is fresh, then there is fresh!

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 6 years ago

You can buy an instant read thermometer for cheap. Use it until it breaks, then decide if you want an expensive one (I want a thermapen)