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How to Tell If a Roast Turkey Is Done

If you serve a turkey that hasn't been cooked all the way through, you risk causing food-borne illness. Make sure your bird is thoroughly cooked for a delicious, healthy meal.


  • Step 1: Test your thermometer Test the accuracy of your instant-read meat thermometer. Insert the tip 2 inches deep into boiling water. If it is properly calibrated, it will read 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level.
  • Step 2: Use recommended cooking time as a guideline Use the turkey's recommended cooking time as a guideline, but not a hard and fast rule.
  • TIP: Many cooks have found the pop-up timers that sometimes come with turkeys to be unreliable.
  • Step 3: Pierce the thigh with a fork Deeply pierce the thigh with a fork. If the juice is clear -- not pink or red -- the turkey is likely done.
  • Step 4: Test with your thermometer Test the bird with your thermometer when the recommended cooking time approaches. Insert the thermometer deep into the thickest part of the thigh. If it registers 180 degrees, the turkey is done.
  • Step 5: Test the stuffing Measure the temperature in the middle of the stuffing if the turkey is stuffed. If your thermometer registers 165 degrees in the center of the stuffing, the bird is cooked. Remove the turkey from the oven, let it stand for 15 minutes, and then serve.
  • FACT: Wild turkeys can fly short distances at up to 55 miles per hour.

You Will Need

  • Instant-read meat thermometer
  • Recommended cooking time

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