How Long To Let Turkey Rest Before Carving?

Written by Patricia Jones

Have you planned on preparing the tasty turkey for the Christmas? You must follow the ideal method of roasting it for the eve.

Some people also prefer turkey for Thanksgiving Day and other festivals. But if you leave the meat uncooked and carve it, this definitely spoils your celebration.

The factors that you have to keep in mind include ‘how to cook a turkey’, ‘how long to let turkey rest before carving and more.

In this article, I’ve covered the turkey resting time after cooking. Also, I’ve discussed the method of roasting a turkey.

This guide will definitely help you in preparing delicious and mouthwatering meat on demand.

How Long To Let Turkey Rest After Cooking?

This is for sure you are here to serve your guest in restaurant-style.

Typically, the amount of time for resting turkey depends on its size. If you consider the standard resting time of the prepared meat, it is taken as 20 minutes after cooking.

Remember for 12 – 15 pounds of turkey, 20 minutes time is sufficient enough!

In case, you have roasted a large bird for the party. You might wait for at least 40 minutes and even longer. Perhaps, the temperature of the room also determines the resting period.


I’ve seen people left with undercooked turkey and realize it while carving the same. At this time, you have to recook undercooked meat.

For making the things simple and straightforward, I’ve explained the ideal cooking method for serving your roasted turkey. Let’s understand the things in a short and uncomplicated way-

How To Cook A Turkey For Christmas Party?

Are you new to it? My cooking recipe will help you in achieving the perfectly cooked turkey in your very first attempt. Follow the instructions and move forward with confidence! No doubt, this will work in every kitchen.


  • 1 whole turkey (12 pounds)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 chopped stalk celery
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tsp butter
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • ½ bunch fresh sage (chopped)


Preheat the oven to 325o F – 350o F. Now, place chopped onion, carrot, celery in the roasting pan. Over them, place the turkey (keeping the back side downwards).

Take a container and mix other ingredients except butter, sage and rosemary. Rub 1/3 rd of the mixture to the inside of the bird and leave it for marinade.

Melt butter for 120 seconds, then put sage, rosemary and cook altogether for 60 seconds!

Brush the inside of turkey with this paste and season the outside with 2/3 rd of the remaining mixture.

Next will be-

It is the time to tie its legs and bake turkey. Before leaving the turkey inside the oven, insert one meat thermometer on its thigh and other thermometers on various parts.

Allow it to heat uncovered inside the oven until it turns pink near the bones. Plus, the temperature read near bones should be 165o F – 180o F. This tells that it has cooked thoroughly.

In general, it takes 3 hours 45 minutes to get fully cooked. The temperature read also determines the same for turning off the oven.

The Carving Process

Congrats! Your turkey has been cooked for the party. Now, allow it to rest as per the above-discussed formula under the topic ‘how long to let meat rest after cooking’.


Not to mention, you must follow the right technique of resting turkey once cooked. It not only helps in keeping it warm but also allows you to enjoy its taste.

How To Let Turkey Rest Before Carving?

Suppose you cook and keep the turkey in the oven, this may overcook your meal. In case, you leave it outside. This may cool the food items before your party begins.

The best way of resting a turkey is covering it with foil or plastic. It retains the heat and allows the turkey to remain warm.

It is recommended not to wrap the foil tightly over the cooked turkey. This will prevent your meal from losing its crispness due to steam.


As you already know ‘how long should a turkey rest after cooking’, you can do it brilliantly. But if you finish your cook early, you have to keep it warm.

I’ve a few tricks that you can follow in your kitchen! Let’s check out these factors in the next section-

What Are The Safety Considerations For Resting A Turkey?

When there is enough time left to reach your guest, you must keep it warm. If you think of covering the cooked meat, you must go with plastic or foil wrapping.

No doubt, this is the ideal method of keeping it safe and warm. Just wrap the whole turkey and leave it. You must wrap it loosely and avoid steam formation on the skin.

Once your guest arrives, unwrap the meat and carve it using a good quality knife.

Also, there are individuals who put hot gravy over the slices and warm the meat while serving.


If you keep roasted turkey for more than 2 hours, it may develop food-borne bacteria. Once you eat these food items, you will become ill. And, USDA has recommended the same.

It is also advised not to leave turkey above 90o F temperature for longer than 1 hour. The best way of avoiding this situation is managing your cooking time for enjoying your party in style.

If you have leftovers, you can store it in an airtight container. Or, you can also go with vacuum sealing the meat. It remains good for the next 3 – 4 days in the refrigerator.

Final Words

The thing is, you have to plan on how to cook a turkey and how long to let turkey rest after cooking in your kitchen.

Once you decided with the quantity of the meat, you can judge the timeframe pretty well. And, this helps you in carving and serving your meal.

Enjoy Your Celebrations!

About the author

Patricia Jones

Patricia is a fine dining chef at Wake Forest, North Carolina. She is also a caring mom and a lovely sister. Her heart and passion lies in the art of cooking great dishes for her family and customers.

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