Cooking and Safe Handling of Your Turkey

Cooking Instructions

Below is a chart that will help you estimate the amount of time required to cook a whole turkey in the oven. These times are based on placing the bird directly in a roasting pan, covered with aluminum foil or a roasting pan cover, and into a preheated 360°F oven. Be sure that the cover or foil does not come in contact with the top of the bird.


Weight of BirdRoasting Time (Unstuffed)Roasting Time (Stuffed)
10-18 lbs.3 – 3 1/2 Hours3 3/4 – 4 1/2 Hours
15-22 lbs.3 1/2 – 4 Hours4 1/2 – 5 Hours
22-24 lbs.4 – 4 1/2 Hours5 – 5 1/2 Hours
24-29 lbs.4 1/2 – 5 Hours5 1/2 – 6 1/4 Hours


At 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour to the total roasting time, open up the foil or cover to check the internal temperature. With your food grade probe thermometer, check that the thigh meat has reached an internal temperature of at least 165°F, be sure the end of the probe does not touch the thigh bone.

If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the stuffing; it should be at least 165°F.

If the proper temperature has been reached you should put the turkey back into the 360°F oven to brown as needed. If the proper temperature has not been reached you should re-cover the bird and put it back in the oven and check in 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour and then perform the temperature check step again.

When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes the carving much easier.

Handling Your Fresh Turkey After You Get It Home

For food safety, your fresh, never frozen, Willow Tree turkey is shipped to us at 32 degree F. If your turkey is still firm to the touch you will need to unwrap the turkey and place it breast side down in a sink or vessel filled with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey softens up.

Your fresh turkey must be stored at or below 40 degrees F. If you don’t have room in your refrigerator you can use a large, clean, and sanitized cooler with the turkey completely covered in ice the entire time it is being store. Ice may need to be added depending on the room temperature. Also, be sure the cooler is draining and the water is not allowed to pool in the bottom of the cooler.