You’ve brined, stuffed, and trussed the turkey, but there’s still one important step to complete – ensuring that it's been cooked to a safe internal temperature.
Safe internal temperature for a whole turkey
Your turkey might look golden brown on the outside, but that doesn’t mean that it’s done. According to the USDA, to prevent foodborne illness your turkey must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. Unfortunately, the “pop-up” indicators that are included with many turkeys are not always accurate. That’s why you’ll want to invest in a food thermometer so you can guarantee that your holiday turkey is tasty and safe to eat.
3 easy steps to take a turkey’s temperature
1. Choose a meat thermometer
There are a variety of meat thermometers to choose from that can get the job done.
- Oven-safe thermometers: An oven-safe thermometer stays in the bird throughout cooking. Simply insert the probe at the beginning of cooking and be sure to position it for easy viewing. Some models even offer temperature indicators that you can monitor with your computer or phone.
- Instant-read thermometers: Instant-read thermometers can be digital or a gauge and are great for a quick check at any point during cooking. These types of thermometers do not stay in the oven while the turkey is roasting.
3. Follow safe cooking guidelines
Once the turkey has reached 165 degrees or higher, it is safe to eat. For a more moist and juicy bird, be sure to let it rest for 30 to 45 minutes on the countertop before carving.