Turkey Prep Tips

Most foodborne illness outbreaks occur during the Holidays with meat and poultry accounted for 92% of those cases. Here are tips on how to prepare your holiday bird safely!

Safe Thawing

When a turkey is left out at room temperature for more than two hours its temperature can move between 40 F and 140 F, where bacteria can grow rapidly. Thaw in a refrigerator, microwave or in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes.
Safe Handling
Bacteria from raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches. Thoroughly wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces to prevent the spread of bacteria to your food and family.
Safe Stuffing
  • Cook stuffing in a casserole dish to make sure it's thoroughly cooked.
  • If you stuff the turkey, let stuffing cool before cooking (do not put hot stuffing in a raw turkey).
  • Using a food thermometer to make sure the stuffing's center reaches 165 F to kill any bacteria.
Safe Cooking
  • Set the oven temperature to at least 325 F. (Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the bird.*)
  • Place the completely thawed turkey with breast side up in a roasting pan that is 2 - 2 ½ inches deep.
  • Using a food thermometer, make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165 F.
  • Let turkey cool for 20 minutes before serving.
Safe Storage
Take care with leftovers. Refrigerate leftovers at 40 F or below as soon as possible and within two hours of preparation to prevent food poisoning.

More Information:

CDC Food Safety Tips

USDA Turkey Roasting Guide *Includes Cooking Methods and Times