Food Safety System in 15 min


Comply with your standards


Get your HACCP in
1 hour!

Sign up now


Feel free to use our free Turkey Cooking Chart.
Just enter your email and download the template.

Turkey Cooking Chart | Download Free Template

Turkey cooking chart

If there is one staple and delicious meal at every holiday season such as Thanksgiving, it would be a flavorful turkey dish with a special plum sauce. Turkey can be served unstuffed or stuffed in its cavity for aromatics such as fresh herbs. Although, cooking a whole bird as big as a wild turkey can be very intimidating. The fact that this bird's meat is irregularly shaped and hove both white and dark types of meat tells you that it's not an easy dish to cook as a whole. In addition to acing the perfect cook for your turkey dinner, food safety is something that you also keep in mind. Poultry meat like turkey is known to carry the pathogen Salmonella. Use a turkey cooking chart to guide you on how long to cook a turkey dish and at what temperature would be best for the portion you have.

Turkey is one of the larger birds that are more commonly cooked as a whole when compared to smaller bird meat. The size of the turkey meat significantly affects the time of cooking but does not weigh heavily on the recommended internal temperature. A large-sized bird can take plenty of time to cook, sometimes for hours using a conventional oven. To enjoy a great dinner with a perfectly roasted turkey with a mean green bean casserole dish, and plum sauce, make sure that your turkey is cooked thoroughly. It's not enough to know how to put an oven-safe meat thermometer in the center of breast roast. Prevent the occurrence of foodborne illness whether you're cooking in a restaurant or at home by being properly guided with a turkey cooking chart.

Learn how to cook a beautiful turkey dish for your everyday restaurant service or a great Thanksgiving dinner in this article.


What is a turkey cooking chart?

A turkey cooking chart is a reference tool that can serve as a guide on how to properly cook portions or a whole turkey. This cooking chart contains the recommended internal cooking temperature and turkey cooking time for a portion or particular weight of turkey meat. In cooking a turkey recipe, precise and accurate food thermometer reading is important. As such, you can use a turkey cooking chart and an instant-read thermometer to ace this process. 

Turkey is poultry meat that is commonly served during festivities as stuffed bird dishes. A frozen turkey is thawed, applied with a dry brine or wet brine solution, and roasted in a preheated oven at the bottom of the oven rack. While different sizes are available in the supermarket, the recommended minimum temperature for a 12- to 14-pound turkey and a 20-pound bird will stay the same. The USDA recommends turkey be cooked at a consistent temperature of 165°F to completely remove the risk of foodborne illnesses from the pathogen Salmonella. Despite this recommendation, the turkey can easily have dried-out meat if you take the meat out of the oven at this exact temperature.

As such, our turkey cooking chart included the alternative core temperature to cook a moist, delicious roast and safe turkey dish. The USDA published alternative cooking temperatures with corresponding holding times to ensure that it is free from the concerned pathogens while retaining extra moisture. If white meat such as breast meat from a fresh turkey is cooked at 157°F, the turkey breast temperature will still be able to reach the target internal temperature once it is allowed to rest. After removing from the heat source, the residual heat will perform carryover cooking as the stuffed turkey lies on a flat roasting rack at ambient temperature. In addition, the recommended temperature of 165°F can be effectively used for any dark meat from turkeys such as leg or thigh meat.

  • Is it better to cook a turkey at 325 or 350?

Turkey is generally roasted at 325°F to 350°F. If the turkey is cooked higher than this suggested temperature, it can easily dry out or the outer portion can cook before the inner meat is evenly cooked.

  • How long do I cook a turkey per pound?

Unstuffed and stuffed turkey dishes are cooked for 13 and 15 minutes per pound at 350°F oven temperature, respectively. An unstuffed, 12-pound bird would take approximately 3 hours to cook.


Who needs a turkey cooking chart?

Food establishments like restaurants specializing in whole turkey or other turkey dishes as a holiday meal can use a turkey cooking chart well. Additionally, groceries and supermarkets offering standard supermarket turkey, especially during peak seasons can use a turkey cooking chart as a buying guide for customers on how to properly cook turkey dishes. The turkey temperature cooking chart can serve as a general guide in combination with an oven-safe meat thermometer for all food handlers and consumers alike.

spatchcock turkey cooking time chart

What are the benefits of a turkey temperature chart?

In cooking a larger bird such as a turkey, managing the internal temperature and the cooking time can become quite hard. As such, you need an estimation of the required minimum cook times for an entire turkey. This convenience can be provided by a turkey temperature cooking chart.

When using a turkey temperature chart, your team gets the following benefits:

  • Reminder. The main objective of a turkey cooking temperature chart is to remind all food handlers of the correct internal temperature where the food can be served safely to consumers. Different types of raw meat such as beef, pork, and lamb would have different internal temperature targets when compared with turkey. Particularly, pork must be cooked to 145°F to  160°F  to ensure safety. On the other hand, the safe cooking temperature for cooking turkey ranges from 157°F to 165°F. In a restaurant that serves multiple dishes, a visual tool that can serve as a reminder will be most useful.
  • Ensure food safety and protect consumers. The suggested proper temperature for cooking a turkey is based on the minimum temperature needed to eliminate the target pathogen in poultry. Salmonella is a biological pathogen that has caused several foodborne illness outbreaks in the past and is commonly linked to consuming undercooked poultry. A turkey cooking chart can help food handlers ensure that the cooked meat they will be serving is safe for consumption. 
  • Food handling training. As we have mentioned, different types of meat have different cooking temperature requirements. Food handlers can have a hard time familiarizing themselves with these minimum standards. As part of their food safety training, food handlers can use the turkey cooking temperature chart to learn how to properly cook a turkey based on the type of portion and size of the turkey.
  • Consumer information. The turkey cooking chart is not solely for food handlers in the food industry. This chart can also be used by consumers at home. Not everyone likes to buy ready-cooked turkey dishes for Thanksgiving, so they cook their turkey themselves. Home cooks can use the turkey cooking chart as a reference to perfect their roasting techniques. 

Cooking turkey to the correct internal temperature can be achieved using an instant-read thermometer for accurate readings and a reference such as a turkey cooking chart. This also goes for other types of meat and ground meat. Check out our cooking temperature chart for meats for more information on the correct internal temperature for other meats. 


How to create a turkey cooking chart?

The accuracy of your turkey cooking chart significantly matters in serving its purpose. Even if you use a properly calibrated digital thermometer and correct oven temperature for your turkey, if the indicated target internal temperature on your chart is wrong, then your turkey will not be safe to eat. To make your turkey cooking chart as effective as possible, ensure that it fulfills all key elements of an informative visual tool.

Here are some pointers in making a turkey cooking chart:

  • All information must be based on scientific studies. When making your turkey cooking chart, make sure that the information you use for the recommended internal cooking temperature is supported by scientific reports. These internal cooking temperatures are established to eliminate biological hazards such as Salmonella and E.coli. If the information you put is not supported by experiments that showed effective results, then the risk of serving undercooked and hazardous food increases.
  • The information must be accurate. In addition to being based on facts, the information you put must accurately represent the outcome of the cooking process. Temperatures higher than 165°F can eliminate pathogens but at the cost of the food's quality. Similarly, if you put an alternative lowest temperature such as 157°F for cooking white meat from a turkey, you also have to accurately mention that this internal temperature can only be safe if it was held for 50 seconds as an approximate cook time. At this point, the roasting process will deliver the same cooking doneness and a moist turkey as with the generally suggested information.
  • The information must be presented. Since there are many kinds of cooking charts, the information on every chart must be clear enough to be read at a glance. The temperature and roasting time must be presented clearly and must be properly aligned to distinguish whether they are for a stuffed or an unstuffed turkey. This will also prevent any potential confusion that might ruin the quality or increase the risk of foodborne illnesses.
  • The chart must always be updated. Scientific experiments are always conducted to find ways how to increase the efficiency of processing foods. As such, always check for updates when making your turkey cooking chart to ensure that you would only use the most efficient time-temperature combinations.

It's always easy to make your turkey temperature chart, but why would you? You can always download our free turkey cooking chart and print it for all of your team members. Our charts at FoodDocs were made to satisfy all the important food handling practices in every food establishment, including cooking different kinds of meats. You can also get all needed checklists, templates, charts, and posters from our HACCP plan template hub.

Food Safety Management System

FoodDocs and food safety management 

Cooking up a turkey to a safe temperature is only part of your long list of food safety tasks. If you are running a fully functional restaurant that serves a wide variety of dishes, you would always have to monitor the preparation and cooking of your products and other daily food safety tasks. So much time would be spent on managing your daily food safety routines that you would not have time for your other business operations. All of these could be resolved if you have a comprehensive and well-functioning food safety management system (FSMS). 

At FoodDocs, we can help you set up a digital food safety management system in just an average of 15 minutes. This whole process only takes answering a few basic questions about your food business operations. After this, our system can generate monitoring forms, particularly for all of your daily monitoring tasks. This system can allow you to remotely manage all monitoring procedures across all of your food business locations. Cut up the process of setting a comprehensive and paper-based FSMS by using our system and get a digital FSMS fit perfectly for your operations in just 15 minutes. You would not even need a demo for it!


What does this digital FSMS contain? Here is a list of some of the features you can get:

  • Intuitive notification feature. Get automatic notifications for due tasks so all of your food safety operations are performed on time.
  • Save up on time. Your monitoring forms can be set to be automatically prefilled. The information our system inputs is based on your previous data entries. All that is left to do is to verify the information.
  • A real-time food safety dashboard helps you remain compliant and save 20% of the time you spend on supervising. This real-time dashboard gives you an overview of your whole company operations regardless of the number of your employees and the locations of your businesses.
  • Grow fast with our HACCP builder - create your HACCP plan in 1 hour and save 120 hours.
  • Store all your information and documents in cloud storage where you can organize and access everything easily.


Going digital has never been this easy. In about 15 minutes and with very easy steps, any food business can stay compliant. With our digital FSMS, we can help you stay compliant with the most important food safety laws and regulations based on your profile and location. Additionally, all tasks will be done as we remind you of any due operation. 

Our digital FSMS is also one with the movement of moving towards a more sustainable operation. With a traditional FSMS, all your monitoring forms and checklists are printed out on paper. Once you switch to our digital FSMS, your entire monitoring system can be at the palm of your hand with our mobile application. Start your digital FSMS and dedicate just 15 minutes of your time to building your system using our free, 14-day trial.

fooddocs food safety documents

Switch to digital in 15 minutes

Linnuke An automated setup enables you to go digital in 15 minutes

Linnuke Our app notifications help your team to remember all daily tasks bam

Linnuke Save time on supervising and use automatically filled monitoring sheets

fooddocs food safety documents

Start your free trial

Linnuke  No need to hire a food safety specialist to open your food business

Linnuke  Saves time - artificial intelligence is 500 times faster than a consultant

Linnuke  Let's you change your HACCP content at any time


Easy app for monitoring to have an instant overview

  • Implement your Food Safety System in 15 minutes
  • Easy app for monitoring to have an instant overview
  • Ready-to-use HACCP Plan in 1 hour