The Blue Stove


How Long to Let Turkey Rest

You may wonder how long to let turkey rest. If youre like millions of other Americans, youll be roasting a turkey this weekend. And if youre like most people, you might not know the resting time for turkey so that its evenly cooked and juicy. According to the USDA, your turkey should rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. But is that really enough time?

Indeed, its always helpful to get some advice from the experts on the resting time of turkey. So, we contacted our resident food scientist to ask: how long to let turkey rest after cooking? Turns out, theres not one right answer - it depends on the size of your bird and how cooked it is. But The Blue Stove got all the details for you here! Read on to learn more.

Why Do I Need to Let Turkey Rest?

how long to let turkey rest

Why we need to let turkey rest?

The primary advantage of allowing the turkey to rest before carving or serving it is that it provides the meat with an opportunity to reabsorb all of the moisture that it has lost. It also helps the turkey develop a more rounded flavor profile, which is another benefit of this process.

By letting turkey rest, you allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a tastier bird. Lets check out the answer for the question: how long to let turkey rest now!

How Long to Let Turkey Rest before Carving or Serving?

So how long to let turkey rest?

In general, here are 3 types you should consider:

  • Large birds that have been baked in the oven should be let to rest for at least half an hour before the carving procedure may begin.
  • However, before carving some of the smaller birds, you might only need to let them rest for half an hour.
  • If you smoked your turkey instead of roasting it, it will just need 15-30 minutes of rest time.

Once the turkey is done resting, check the internal temperature to make sure its at least 165°F before carving or serving (following USDA for safety food). And thats it-now you can enjoy your perfectly cooked turkey!

What Can I Do While Waiting?

While the resting time for turkey, use that time to make your gravy.

  • Start by spooning off any excess fat from the roasting pan.
  • Then add some water or wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. These will give your gravy lots of flavor.
  • Once youve made your gravy, keep it warm until youre ready to serve.

If you want to keep your turkey warm after its rested, thats fine. Just loosely cover it with foil and put it back in the turned-off oven. It should stay warm for up to an hour. And when youre finally ready to carve, use a sharp knife for cleaning, even slices.

How to Know when My Turkey is Done Resting?

how long to let turkey rest

How long to let turkey rest

Temperature is the best answer for How long to let turkey rest. When your turkey is done resting, it should be at least 165°F. If you dont have a thermometer, use the touch test - the meat should feel firm to the touch and no longer have that raw texture. If the turkey is still too soft or doesnt seem cooked all the way through, let it rest for a few minutes longer.

Instructions of how to check out the internal temperature of baked turkey:

  • Gently insert your instant-read thermometer into the thigh meat of the turkey, parallel to its body. You should feel some resistance as it enters the flesh; if it slides in too easily, youve poked through into the cavity. If you hit something solid, that means youve come to a bone. In either case, withdraw slightly so the thermometer is embedded in only flesh and take your reading.
  • Your thermometers temperature sensor is generally located either at the tip or about half an inch above it. Make sure to check your thermometers manual and position it in the thigh meat according.
  • Here are the instructions for checking the turkeys temperature to learn how long to let turkey rest: Remove the turkey from the oven and close the door so heat isnt lost. It will take a couple of minutes for numbers to appear on thermometer. Keep thermometer in place until those numbers stop moving; this indicates that your food is cooked through. Depending on how frequently you open your oven door, it might take longer than usual for oven to come back up to cooking temperature.

What Happens if I Let the Turkey Rest Too Long?

how long to let turkey rest

How long to let turkey rest?

It can be dangerous to leave cooked turkey out for a few hours. Room temperature lies exactly in the range of temperatures where bacteria flourish, which is between 41 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Your turkey may become contaminated by bacteria if it is not cooked properly, if it comes into contact with other raw foods due to cross-contamination, or if it is handled by people.

The bacteria Clostridium perfringens reportedly thrives in prepared foods that are kept at room temperature, following to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It is the second most frequent bacterial source of foodborne disease. Within six to twenty-four hours following a meal, symptoms including nausea and cramping may emerge.

Most typically in November and December, outbreaks of Clostridium perfringens happen. Holiday dishes like roast beef and turkey are a major source of outbreaks.

Should You Let the Turkey Rest Breast Side Down?

how long to let turkey rest

How long to let turkey rest?

The turkey should be allowed to rest with the breast side down, as this will allow the juices to redistribute themselves more evenly throughout the meat. However, doing so is not required, and if you so choose, you can let the turkey rest with the breast side up instead. During the time that the turkey is resting, make sure to keep it warm by draping aluminum foil or a dish towel over it and securing it with toothpicks.

Should You Wrap the Turkey During Its Resting?

Although wrapping the turkey while the resting time for turkey is a tradition for some people, it is certainly not required. If you decide to wrap your turkey, before you carve it or serve it, you should check the temperature inside the bird to ensure that it has not become too cold.

Thats all for how long to let turkey rest, wrap all up with a quick FAQs section and conclusion.

FAQs of Letting Turkey Rest

Should I let turkey rest in room temperature?

No, it is not recommended to leave cooked turkey out at room temperature. Bacteria can grow quickly in temperatures between 41 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long should I let my turkey rest?

It is generally recommended that you let a cooked turkey rest for anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours before slicing and serving it.

Should I carve the turkey while its resting or not?

No, it is not necessary to wrap your turkey while it is resting. However, if you do so, make sure to check the temperature inside the bird before carving or serving.

Where can I buy raw Turkey?

Most grocery stores will sell raw turkey year-round. However, it is typically cheaper to buy turkey around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Can I tent turkey while resting?

Let the turkey sit for approximately 45 minutes before carving. This allows it to reabsorb its juices; if you carve it too soon, the juices will run out and make the meat dry. Once resting, dont cover the turkey with foil; it doesnt need to stay warm and doing so will make its skin soggy.

Can I freeze leftover turkey to use later on?

Yes, cooked turkey can be frozen for up to 6 months. You can, but its not necessary. Loosely covering the bird with foil or a kitchen towel will suffice.

How to let turkey rest ideally?

Best way of how long to let turkey rest and how to let it rest is to remove it from the oven once it has reached the recommended internal temperature (which recommended is 165F). Then, loosely cover the bird with foil or a kitchen towel and let it rest. This will give the juices time to redistribute and will result in a moister, more flavorful turkey.


While its always helpful to get some expert advice, at the end of the day, its up to you how long to let turkey rest. The size of your bird and how cooked it is will play a role in determining the ideal resting time. But if youre looking for more guidance, be sure to check out our website for more accuracy tips on this topic.

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