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Preparing a Precooked Turkey

This year you decided to go the precooked route for one reason or another. It seemed simple enough; it’s already cooked. Now you want to serve it to your guests. But how do you cook an already cooked turkey? Follow the easy guidelines below to make your precooked turkey the star of the night.


Your precooked turkey, whether oven-roasted or smoked, is likely frozen. Thaw the meat in the refrigerator for up to five days prior to needing to serve. Once it’s thawed you have the option to dig right in. Slice it up for sandwiches, carve it up and eat it cold, etc. However if you want to reheat it and serve the traditional way, keep reading.


Preheat your oven to 375°F. Place the cold (not room-temperature) turkey in a roasting pan, breast-side down. This allows the fat from underneath the bird to drip down while it heats up, ensuring a moist, tender breast. Cover the turkey with foil and place in oven. Drop oven temperature to 275°F. You’ll want to reheat your turkey for around 5 minutes per pound. So a 10lb turkey would need to reheat for around 50 minutes. Use a meat thermometer before removing. USDA recommends cooking and reheating all poultry to an internal temperature of 165°F.

Can I make gravy?

Hope is not lost if you had your heart set on gravy but bought a precooked bird. Simply add a cup or so of water to the bottom of the roaster. It will mix with the drippings and absorb that turkey flavor, perfect for making a delicious gravy.

What about stuffing?

Often people wonder if they can stuff a bird once it’s already cooked. The simple answer is no. The bird won’t be in the oven for nearly as long as a raw bird, meaning the stuffing won’t cook appropriately. However, never fear. You may prepare your stuffing via stovetop or oven, a more widely recommended route anyway.


Just like cooking a raw bird, be sure to let your turkey rest about 15-20 minutes. This allows all the juices simmering beneath the skin to sink into the meat resulting in a juicer turkey and will be easier to carve. Refer to our Carving guide for tips on how to carve your turkey once it’s ready.

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Turkey Cooking Times

When selecting a turkey to serve to a group, estimate 1.5 pounds per person. For example, if you are serving a group of 10 people, choose a bird that is 15 to 20 pounds. If you choose a smaller bird that weighs less than 12 pounds, those birds have a smaller meat-to-bone ratio, so calculate two pounds per person.

Fresh or Thawed Turkey
Oven Temperature 325°F / 163°C

6 - 7 lbs 2 - 2½ hrs 2¼ - 2¾ hrs
7 - 10 lbs 2½ - 3 hrs 2¾ - 3½ hrs
10 - 18 lbs 3 - 3½ hrs 3¾ - 4½ hrs
18 - 22 lbs 3½ - 4 hrs 4½ - 5 hrs
22 - 24 lbs 4 - 4½ hrs 5 - 5½ hrs
24 - 30 lbs 4½ - 5 hrs 5½ - 6¼ hrs