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How Long to Cook 20 lb Turkey at 250 Degrees

When the holiday season is upon us, the ovens are on full blast as friends and family gather around the dinner table to feast.

The most important dish of all? The turkey!

How Long to Cook 20 lb Turkey at 250 Degrees

One of the biggest questions asked during this time is “How long should I cook a 20 lb turkey at 250 degrees?”

This can be a tricky question to answer as cooking times can vary depending on several factors.

The answer lies in taking several measurements into consideration, such as the size of your bird, how it has been prepared, whether it is stuffed or unstuffed, and even your oven’s temperature accuracy.

So how long should you cook a 20 lb turkey at 250 degrees?

Generally speaking, a 20 lb turkey usually takes around 5-6 hours to cook when kept at a low temperature (250 degrees) in an oven. However, there are some other important things to consider that could affect cooking times.

In this article, we’ll look at all the factors that come into play when determining how to cook a 20 lb turkey at 250 degrees as well as giving

Prepping the Turkey and Oven

Before we dive into how long it takes to cook a 20 lb turkey at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, let’s start with prepping the turkey and oven.

Firstly, make sure that your turkey is properly thawed before cooking. Depending on its size, this could take several days in your refrigerator. Once fully thawed you will need to remove any giblets or liver that may be inside.

For best results always rinse then dry your bird completely before placing it in an oven-safe pan or bag. If using an oven bag fill it with a mixture of flour & seasoning then coat your bird evenly before placing it inside.

Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C) while you’re preparing everything else so that when you’re ready to put in the bird there is no delay.

Calculating Total Cooking Time

The general rule of thumb for cooking poultry is approximately 12-15 minutes per pound when cooked at 325-350°F (163-177°C). However since we are cooking our bird low & slow its going to take much longer than this estimate.

When we roast our Turkey at low temperature for several hours it helps to keep it moist and tender. Cooking times depend on factors such as oven type, altitude, size of turkey, and whether or not the bird is stuffed.

Estimated Timetable for Roasting a 20 lb Turkey at 250 Degrees

When cooking your turkey at low temperature, you should plan roughly 30 minutes per pound. Therefore, if you’re looking to cook a 20 lb turkey at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, it will take approximately 10 hours to cook through.

Keep in mind that this is just an estimate based on an unstuffed bird. If you’re adding stuffing inside the bird then allow an extra hour or so of cooking time.

It’s important to note that every oven is different and may vary in its heating capacity & consistency. Make sure to check your turkey periodically using a thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature has reached its optimal range.

Checking Internal Temperature of the Turkey

As with any dish containing poultry, using a meat thermometer is imperative when cooking your turkey. This way you can be certain that your turkey has cooked thoroughly without overcooking and becoming dry.

When using a meat thermometer with our roasted Turkey we want to make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in both the thickest part of the breast and thigh.

Make sure to insert the thermometer in towards the center of each part without hitting any bones since this can give us inaccurate readings.

The Importance of Allowing the Bird to Rest

Once our Turkey has cooked through we should remove it from our oven & let it rest for at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

During this resting period all those delicious juices get absorbed back into our bird which makes carving much easier & ensures its moistness throughout each bite. While still inside their oven bag or pan wrap your turkey with aluminum foil until ready for serving.This allows all those delicious juices settle in, making it even more succulent & flavorful!

What To Do With Leftover Juices From Roasting Pan?

Once we have our turkey with all its juices and other flavorful goodness we can use it to create the best gravy ever. Just pour all those juices from the pan into a saucepan or skillet over medium heat.

Then, whisk in some flour or cornstarch while stirring constantly until it turns brownish, then slowly add chicken broth and whisk again until lump free. Let the mixture simmer until thickened to your desired consistency. 

Don’t let those yummy juices go to waste!


And that’s it! You now know how long to cook a 20 lb turkey at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, when cooking an unstuffed bird we’ll need approximately 30 minutes for each pound of turkey at low temperature.

Remember, cooking a great turkey takes patience and precision. Once you’ve mastered this recipe, you’ll love how flavorful your bird turns out every time. Keep those leftovers for sandwiches or soup the next day!

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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.