Exactly How Long to Cook a 20-Pound Turkey at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit

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With the holidays on the horizon, you may be thinking about how to begin prepping for the next big event. If you’re hosting a lot of people, then how long to cook a 20-pound turkey at 350 degrees Fahrenheit may be a question you need answered. If that’s so, then you’re in the right spot! Today, we’ll be answering how long you should cook a 20-pound turkey at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and will also provide you with a killer recipe that is sure to wow your guests. 

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How Long To Cook A 20 Pound Turkey At 350 Degrees Fahrenheit

Table of Contents

Is it Better to Cook a Turkey at 325 or 350?

Before we jump into how long to cook a turkey at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, we think it’s helpful to know which temperature you should really be using to cook your turkey in the first place. 

Many recipes call for varying temperatures, including 325 degrees. With this “low and slow” cooking method, you’d be cooking the bird at a lower temperature for a slower amount of time. At 325 degrees, you should expect your bird to be done after you’ve cooked it for about 17 minutes per pound.

For a 20-pound turkey, however, we really recommend roasting it at a higher temperature for a few minutes before lowering the heat and finishing off the bird at 350. 

Confused? Don’t be! At the end of this post, you’ll be one step closer to roasting the perfect turkey as we provide you with step-by-step details on how to cook the best turkey at 350 degrees.

But for now, let’s begin to explore how long your 20-pound turkey should be roasting at 350.

How Long To Cook A 20 Pound Turkey At 350 Degrees Fahrenheit

How Long to Cook a 20 Pound Turkey?

So, how long should you cook a 20lb turkey? A 20-pound turkey will usually cook for about 13-15 minutes per pound at 350 degrees. This will roughly average about 4 ½ hours, give or take.

To know for sure how long your turkey needs, always use a meat thermometer. Some ovens are hotter than others, and as a result, may get done faster, or slower, comparatively. A meat thermometer will register at 165 degrees Fahrenheit when the meat is safe to eat. This is the recommended internal temperature that turkey and poultry should be in order to be safely consumed.

How Long Do You Cook a Turkey Per Pound at 350 Degrees?

So, you’ve got a turkey slightly over or under 20 pounds and you’re wondering how long you should cook it. Don’t sweat! Remember that a turkey will generally take about 13-15 minutes to cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, despite how big the turkey is.

Therefore, you can expect even a 22-pound bird to be finished in about 4 ½ to 5 hours. But as always, you’ll want to use a meat thermometer to be sure.

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Cooking a Turkey at 350

Knowing the basics about cooking a turkey at 350 degrees is key, but what about when a turkey is stuffed, trussed, or cooked in a bag? Do these specifics alter cooking times? Oftentimes, they do!

Let’s take a look at each specification to narrow down the cooking times for 20-pound turkeys even further. 

How Long to Cook a 20 Pound Turkey in a Bag at 350?

A 20-pound turkey in an oven bag will take about 3 ½ hours to cook at 350 degrees

Cooking a turkey in an oven bag is a wonderful way of locking in juices in big birds like a turkey. When cooking a turkey in a bag, you may notice that the cooking time is reduced. This is because the bag works to trap steam, and as a result, cooks the meat much faster. Still, you’ll want to probe the turkey at the thickest part of the thigh and continue cooking the turkey until your thermometer reaches at least 165 degrees F. 

Remember that when cooking a turkey in a bag there are certain rules you’ll need to follow. Reynolds Oven Bags are a very popular type of cooking bag that people often use for turkey. To use these bags, you’ll need to add flour to the bottom of the bag and add slits to the top to allow for ventilation. Find all the steps you need on the Reynolds Oven Bags box.

Note: Never attempt to use a regular or plastic bag for cooking a turkey in the oven. Regular plastic bags are almost never oven-safe outside of those specifically designed for oven use

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How Long to Cook a 20 Pound Turkey Unstuffed at 350?

A 20-pound turkey that is unstuffed will take 13-15 minutes to cook at 350 degrees (about 4 ½ hours) but one that is stuffed will require at least an extra 5 minutes per pound. 

So, how long to cook a 20-pound stuffed turkey at 350? You can expect a 20 -pound stuffed turkey to cook for about 6 hours. If you plan to take this route, just be sure to clear your schedule! 

Should I Truss Turkey at 350?

Whether or not you truss a turkey at any temperature is completely up to you. You may notice, however, that trussing a turkey makes it cook unevenly, leading to certain parts of the meat cooking faster than others. This may increase the chances of your turkey being overdone in certain places and raw in others.

To adhere to uniform and even cooking, we recommend you skip the trussing process.

Turkey at 350 Recipe

You’ve gotten the details, cleared your schedule, and now you’re ready to cook. You need an amazing recipe that can turn your turkey dinner into a memorable one. We’ve got you covered! Try this oven-roasted turkey recipe at 350 degrees by Gordon Ramsey a try and you’ll never look for another one. We’ve adapted the recipe a bit and have converted it to accommodate a larger-sized bird. Give it a go and see what you think!

Ingredients

The Turkey

  • 1 20-pound Turkey
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 2 heads of garlic, horizontally cut
  • 4 bay leaves 
  • olive oil, to drizzle

Lemon, Parsley, and Garlic Butter

  • 4 cups of butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • finely grated zest and juice of 4 small lemons
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare your herb butter by mixing the softened butter with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic, and chopped parsley. Mix well. 
  3. After removing the giblets from your turkey, season the inner cavity with salt and pepper. Then, stuff the bird with lemon, onion, garlic, and 4 bay leaves. 
  4. Loosen the skin of the breast of the turkey and put your lemon butter mixture underneath. Do this with the skin on the legs as well, ensuring to smooth the butter evenly. 
  5. Once you’ve placed at least half of the butter mixture beneath the skin, use the rest of the butter to smooth on the outside of the skin. 
  6. Place your turkey in a large roasting tray, ensuring it is breast side up. Season with salt and pepper (be generous) and drizzle with olive oil. 
  7. Roast the turkey at 425 degrees for 15 minutes before removing it and basting the bird with any juices it secretes. Lower your heat to 350 degrees and cook the turkey for about 4 ½ hours (13-15 minutes per pound).
  8. Use a meat thermometer at the thickest part of the leg to ensure it is finished. The meat should be no longer pink and the juice should run clear. Once you are sure the turkey has been cooked through, allow the turkey to rest a good 1 hour (but preferably two hours).
  9. Slice and serve with accompaniments

Note: If cooking a day ahead of schedule, you may now place foil over your turkey and stick it in the fridge.

How Long to Cook a 20-Pound Turkey at 350? Four and Half Hours Will Do…

Usually, 4 ½ hours will be plenty of time to cook a 20-pound turkey, however, cooking times will vary depending on your oven temperature, cooking methods, and what you use. Remember that using an oven bag will sharply reduce your cooking times and stuffing your turkey (either with stuffing or other goodies) will extend it. 

We hope this article has been helpful. Good luck!

FAQs

Should you cook a turkey covered or uncovered?

You could technically do either, however, it is usually best to cover your bird with foil and then remove the foil about 30 minutes to 1 hour before it is done to allow the skin to get brown and crispy.

How long do I need to thaw a 20 pound turkey?

To thaw a 20-pound turkey in the refrigerator, allow 4 full days. This is the equivalent of about 24 hours per 5 pounds of turkey. 

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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