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How Do I Know When My Turkey Is Done? Two Ways To Know When Your Turkey Has Finished Cooking

(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Roasting a turkey is one of the easiest things you can make, so it’s strange that so many people get so nervous about the process.  I have full details on the entire process in a past post, but if you’re looking for a quick answer to how to know when your turkey is done cooking –  read on.

First and foremost – if your turkey came with one of those pop-up timers, ignore it.  You’re a better cook than that and those gadgets aren’t all that accurate.  Here are the two signs you need:

  • Temperature.  Turkey should be pulled out of the oven by 160.  That’s the “target temp”.  After you take the turkey out, you’re going to let it rest under foil anyway – so the temperature is going to continue rising.  A lot of modern cooks will tell you to roast your turkey to 170 or even 180 — but they make dry turkey!
  • The Leg.  When a turkey is done, the leg will twist easily in it’s socket.

Usually, I use a combination of the two signs to know when to pull the turkey out of the oven.

Good luck – and Happy Thanksgiving!


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