Last Updated on October 5, 2023 by Shari Mason
Cooking a turkey at a high altitude can be a challenge. The higher altitude causes the cooking time to be longer and the temperature to be lower than usual.
The low temperature and extended time can make it difficult to cook a turkey evenly and safely.
But how long should you cook a turkey at a high altitude? I asked a few of my chef friends to find out.
How Long Does It Take To Cook A Turkey At High Altitude?
Generally, when cooking a turkey at high altitudes of 5,000 feet and above, the cooking time should be increased by 5 to 10 minutes per pound.
The temperature should also be increased by about 15 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit every 2,000 feet.
When cooking a turkey  at a high altitude, it is important to adjust the cooking time and temperature to account for the decrease in air pressure.
“I started a deli when I was 19 years old. Kevin O’s. The sandwiches at Kevin O’s were a little like Subway before Subway – fresh baked bread. My best seller was turkey with cream cheese and artichoke hearts. I just made it up.– Kevin McCarthy, American Stage Actor
For example, if the recipe calls for an oven temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit, then the temperature should be increased to 350 or 375 degrees Fahrenheit for an altitude of 6,000 feet or higher.
It is also important to ensure the turkey is fully cooked before serving. A thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the thigh for an accurate temperature reading.
Cooked turkey should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If the turkey’s temperature is not high enough, then the bird should be returned to the oven and cooked for 15 minutes.
Additionally, the bird should rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving to prevent overcooking.
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How To Cook Turkey At High Altitude
Cooking turkey at high altitudes can be challenging since the air is thinner, affecting cooking times. To prepare a juicy and flavorful turkey at higher altitudes, it is best to cook it at lower temperatures for longer.
Start by preheating the oven to 325°F and season the turkey with salt and pepper for the best flavor. Place the turkey on a roasting pan and cook for about 15 minutes per pound of turkey.
To ensure the turkey is cooked through, use a thermometer  to check that the inner temperature at the thickest part of the turkey is 165°F. Once the turkey has been cooked, allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
How To Deep Fry Turkey At High Altitude?
Deep frying a turkey at a high altitude can be tricky, but it is still possible.
First, you should reduce the temperature of the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, as it will take slightly longer to cook at higher altitudes.
“At high altitudes, turkey’s culinary journey takes a different pace, a higher experience where time and altitude tango in the oven.”– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice
Next, ensure the turkey is completely thawed and dry, and season it with your favorite spices. Then, slowly lower the turkey into the oil, ensuring it is completely submerged.
Finally, fry the turkey for 3-4 minutes per pound or until the bird’s internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tips & Tricks To Cooking Turkey At High Altitude
- Start with a smaller bird – Due to the lower air pressure at high altitudes, your turkey’s cooking time will be longer. A smaller bird will cook more quickly and evenly.
- Cook at a lower temperature – Decrease the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit to compensate for the lower air pressure.
- Use a thermometer – Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey to ensure the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit before consuming.
- Cover the bird – Cover the turkey with foil to ensure even cooking and prevent the skin from drying.
- Baste often – Baste the turkey every 30 minutes to keep it moist.
- Let the turkey rest – Allow the turkey to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving to ensure the juices are evenly distributed.
How long does it take to bake chicken at a high altitude?
It can take 10-15 minutes to bake chicken at high altitudes compared to lower altitudes. The exact time needed will depend on the size and thickness of the chicken pieces, as well as the oven temperature.
How long does it take to roast meat at high altitudes?
Roasting times can vary greatly depending on the type and size of the meat, as well as the altitude. Generally, roasting times will be longer at higher altitudes.
As a rule of thumb, add about 25 percent to the roasting time when cooking at altitudes between 3,000 and 6,000 feet, and add 50 percent to the roasting time when cooking at altitudes higher than 6,000 feet.
Is it better to cook a turkey at a high temp or low?
It is generally best to cook a turkey at a low temperature.
Cooking it at a high temperature can dry out the meat while cooking it at a low temperature helps the turkey cook slowly and evenly and keeps the meat moist.
Cooking a turkey at a high altitude is an art form. There are a few tricks to the trade that can help you get a delicious meal that’s cooked through and juicy.
The best way to get a perfectly cooked turkey is to use a food thermometer and check the internal temperature of the thickest parts of the turkey.
Start by preheating the oven to 325°F, and plan on adding 30 minutes to the cooking time for every 4,000 feet of elevation.
Always ensure that the turkey is cooked to a minimum of 165°F in the breast and 180°F in the thigh before serving.
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