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How Long Should the Turkey Rest?

Q:

What's the longest a turkey can rest without being a food-safety risk? 

A:

Ideally, your turkey should rest 30 to 40 minutes to let the juices redistribute. (This gives you enough time to make gravy, too.) We usually recommend that the turkey get back into the refrigerator within 2 hours, so by the time you carve and serve, that timeframe works pretty well.

The thing is, bacteria really like the temperature zone between 40 and 140°F. So once your turkey cools down to 140° (which may not take very long, depending on your kitchen temperature, if you've cooked it to 165°F), you're starting to encourage stuff. You're pretty safe in that two-hour zone, but I wouldn't push it any longer. So if you're planning for a long rest, just be sure to refrigerate any leftovers soon after carving.

Find answers to all your turkey questions by reading our Top Turkey Tips and visit our Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner for hundreds of recipes for turkey, sides, and pies.


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