Riverford Wicked Leeks
How to cook a turkey recipe image

Print How to cook a turkey

Aim to have finish your turkey cooking at least 30 minutes before you plan to eat, allowing time for the meat to re-absorb the cooking juices. Use the turkey giblets for gravy and accompany this with traditional sausage meat stuffing and classic roast potatoes.

Use this recipe to cook one of our organic turkeys for a perfect Christmas dinner.


  • 125g butter, at room temperature
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme & rosemary
  • A few bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Weigh your turkey so you can calculate the cooking time (most have it written on the label now).
  2. Preheat oven to 190˚C/Gas 5. Carefully use your fingers to lift the skin up from the turkey breast.
  3. Gently push pieces of butter and the herbs and bay into the space between the skin and breast meat. Massage a good piece or two of the butter all over the skin of the turkey.
  4. If you are cooking your stuffing in the bird, lift the flap of skin at the neck end. Pack the stuffing into the neck cavity to form a pad. Pull the skin back over the stuffing. Secure with 2 cocktail sticks. Put the lemon and onion pieces inside the main cavity. Season the turkey all over with salt and pepper.
  5. Put in a large roasting tin and cover loosely with foil to stop the skin from over-browning. Put in the oven.
  6. Cook for 45 minutes per kg. Baste it every hour, replacing the foil each time. 30 minutes before the end of cooking time, remove the foil to let the skin brown.
  7. Test the meat to check it is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of both breast and thighs. Make sure the juices run clear; if pink, put back in the oven and test again after 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary until the juices run clear.
  8. Cover with foil and leave out of the oven to rest for at least 30 minutes - 1 hour if you like (time for the roast potatoes to be popped in the oven), then carve.
want to cook with fresh ingredients? try one of our award winning veg boxes