Turkey Cooking Times and Portions

Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner and not sure how to prepare? Don’t stress. Getting ready for the big holiday is easy with our turkey timing and portion guide.


what size turkey to buy


So you’ve invited your guests and definitely want some extra turkey for leftovers – see the chart below to make sure you buy the correct sized bird for your party. A general rule of thumb is 1 to 1 ½ pounds per guest.

See our H-E-B Turkey Selection Guide to learn more.

what size turkey to buy
 No. of Guests
 Lbs. of Turkey
7 to 9
11 to 14
10 to 12
15 to 18
12 to 14
18 to 24


how long to thaw your turkey


Want to save a little money and have several days before the big meal? Frozen is the way to go.

Pro Tip: Place your packaged turkey on a tray to catch any juices and then set on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of meat.

how long to thaw turkey
 Lbs. of Turkey
 No. of Days
4 to 12
1 to 3 days
12 to 16
3 to 4
16 to 20
4 to 5
20 to 24
5 to 6


how long to roast your turkey


Use the chart below to plan the best time to put the turkey in the oven. Add 15-30 minutes for stuffed birds. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer reads 165°F in all areas, including stuffing.  For a moister meal, allow turkey to rest for 20 – 30 minutes before carving.

Pro Tip: Use a foil tent to prevent excess browning. Remove foil 45 minutes before end of suggested roasting time. 

how long to cook turkey
 Lbs. of Turkey
 Approximate Cook
 Time at 350
9 to 11
2.5 hours
12 to 14 
3 hours
15 to 17
3.5 hours
18 to 20
4 hours
21 to 23
4.5 hours
5 hours

Although roasting is the traditional option, it’s not the only one. See full list of turkey recipes.


Turkey Timing and Portion Guide Infographic

Turkey Timing and Portion Guide

Enlarge Infographic



related articles

Showing 3 of 3