Pic of Perfect roast turkey

Perfect roast turkey

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Meat mains

Perfect roast turkey

Main Serves 8 3h 10 min
Roast turkey is the quintessential Christmas centerpiece and with a few quick tips we'll help you serve the perfect roast turkey for Christmas. The most important first step is to find out the exact weight of the turkey and calculate your cooking time - 45 minutes for every kg.

Cook's notes

Allow the turkey as much air as possible, preferably by untying it to let air into the cavity. Don’t use the cavity space for stuffing - it slows down cooking, absorbs fat and will mess up the gravy. Instead use the neck cavity. A large turkey is difficult to balance on domestic kitchen scales, but your turkey should have its total weight on the label, so remove the giblets, weigh them separately and deduct their weight from the total. Add the weight of your stuffing (if using) to get the right cooking time.


  • 1 whole turkey
  • 400g stuffing of your choice - optional
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 large onion, peeled & quartered
  • a generous sprig of herbs (bay, thyme, rosemary, sage, etc.)
  • 50g melted butter
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Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 3h
  • Step 1

    Remove the turkey from the fridge at least 30 mins before cooking. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Remove the giblets from the cavity (reserving for your gravy).
  • Step 2

    Lift the flap of skin at the neck end and pack in your stuffing, if using. Pull the skin back and secure under the turkey, using wooden cocktail sticks if necessary. Season the main cavity, then push in the quartered lemon, onion and herbs.
  • Step 3

    Transfer to a large roasting tin, breast-side up, and brush the breast and legs with the melted butter and season generously with salt. Cover the whole bird loosely with foil to protect the skin from over-browning, and transfer to the oven for the calculated time.
  • Step 4

    Every hour, baste with it with the fat and juices from the bottom of the tray, replace the foil and return to the oven. 30 mins before the end of the cooking time, remove the foil to allow the skin to brown up.
  • Step 5

    At the end of the cooking time, check the meat is thoroughly cooked by inserting a knife tip into the thickest area of both breast and thighs. If the juices run pink, return to the oven for a further 15 mins and test again. Repeat until the juices run clear.
  • Step 6

    Once your turkey is cooked, cover with foil again and leave to rest for 30 mins. This will make it more succulent and easier to carve (your turkey will stay hot for an hour after leaving the oven).

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