How to Check a Turkey for Doneness

Is the turkey done yet? You may have heard of different ways to check, but there’s only one way to be sure.

Here's exactly how to check for doneness.

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What is the final cooking temperature for a whole turkey?

Leg wiggling, juice color, even the aroma – you’ll hear lots of ways to check the doneness of your turkey. But there’s only one way to be sure: the temperature. It just takes a simple reading with a meat thermometer to test if your turkey is ready to eat.

At what temperature is a turkey done? Check these places on your turkey and look for these temperatures:

  1. 180°F in thigh
  2. 170°F in breast
  3. 165°F in stuffing

Remember to insert the meat thermometer close to, but not touching, the thigh bone.

Turkey Tips

Did You Know?

A thawed turkey may be kept in the refrigerator (40 degrees F or below) up to 4 days before cooking.

Frozen Whole Turkeys and Frozen Whole Turkey Breasts need to be thawed before cooking.

Thaw Fully Cooked Baked and Smoked Turkeys via the refrigerator method.

Refrigerator thawing is preferred and the least labor-intensive but requires more time.

Cold water thawing takes less time but requires more attention.

Suggested Products

We believe people should feel good about what they eat. That's why all Butterball® products are made with quality turkey for everyone and for any occasion.

Butterball Turkey Talk-Line™

Got a turkey-related question? We can answer it!

Call 1-800-BUTTERBALL or text us at 844-877-3456 to chat with our turkey experts

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More Turkey Tips

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Brining is the key to a juicy, flavor-filled turkey. Never tried it before? We'll show you how.

How to Stuff

Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, it's at the heart of any Thanksgiving. Let us show you how to prepare a stuffed turkey.

How to Thaw

Ready to get cooking? We'll show you the do's and don'ts of thawing your turkey.

How to Inject a Turkey

Looking to add a little extra flavor? Try injecting your turkey with a favorite marinade. It's simple and easy.

How to Carve

There's one last step before you dig in: carving! Don't be intimidated. We're here to guide you.

Food Safety Essentials

Get the information you need to store, prepare and enjoy your meal safely.

How to Make a Leftover Turkey Sandwich

Got leftovers? Make a sandwich! Turn your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers into another tasty meal.

How to Choose a Turkey

Fresh or frozen? Big or small? We can help you choose the right turkey for your next gathering with our how-to video.

How to Place a Meat Thermometer

Unsure of how to check if your turkey is done cooking? Use a meat thermometer!

How to Marinate

When you know the basics of marinating, you can guarantee great flavor every time. Let us show you the steps and some great recipes, too. There's a marinade for every occasion and every palate.

How to Inject a Turkey

Looking to add a little extra flavor? Try injecting your turkey with a favorite marinade. It's simple and easy.

How to Check for Doneness

Is the turkey done yet? You may have heard of different ways to check, but there’s only one way to be sure.