Get a perfectly cooked turkey with this guide to taking a turkey’s temperature.

By Real Simple Editors
Updated March 01, 2019

The best way to guarantee guests a perfectly roasted, juicy turkey―one that’s not over- or undercooked―is to get a clear thermal read on your bird. In other words, find the right turkey temperature: You can’t just base it on how long to cook a turkey. This video shows how to take your turkey out of the oven at just the right temperature.

What you need

  • turkey
  • meat thermometer

Follow these steps to take a turkey’s temperature

Credit: Getty Images


Slip your meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey thigh, pricking the bird just above the crease between the thigh and the place where the turkey breast begins, and driving it into the thigh meat. When the counter reads 165 degrees, your turkey is ready.

Tip: Make sure your thermometer doesn’t touch a bone, or you’ll get an inaccurate reading.

RELATED: How to Take a Turkey’s Temperature Without a Thermometer


When the turkey is cooked, take it out of the oven, cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and let it sit for 30 minutes. This will allow the cooking juices to be reabsorbed by the turkey, which will ensure moist, tender meat.

Find a simple turkey recipe here, and learn how to carve a turkey here.