How To Cook A Turkey

If you're hosting Christmas this year and need a reminder of how to cook your roast turkey, our step-by-step timeline to cooking your Christmas lunch will be your entertaining saviour!
Christmas Eve

  • Check turkey. When thawed (no ice crystals remain in the cavity), remove from its bag and reserve giblets.
  • Prepare ready for stuffing. Calculate cooking time. Cover loosely and leave in the fridge overnight at a temperature of no more than 4C.
  • Make stock from turkey giblets, store covered in fridge.
Christmas Day
  • 09:00 - Preheat oven for turkey (190(C/375(F). Remove turkey from fridge and bring to room temperature.
Place stuffing in neck cavity. Never stuff body cavity with pre-prepared stuffing as this will increase the cooking time significantly and may not heat through sufficiently in the centre. The body cavity may be stuffed with fresh herbs, a piece of fresh fruit or vegetable only, if desired. Smear breast with butter and a layer of streaky bacon if desired. Place in a roasting tin and cover loosely with foil.
  • 09.30 - Place turkey in oven (timings for 6kg bird), allowing 20 minutes per kg plus 90 minutes at the end (if the bird is under 4 kg in total calculate 20 mins per kg plus 70 minutes at the end). Always weigh after it has been stuffed.
  • 10.00 - In meantime prepare vegetables (if not prepared the night before). Cover loosely with a damp tea-towel to prevent drying out. Baste turkey with the juices every 30 minutes.
  • 12.30 - Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking time to allow the skin to brown. Baste again.
  • 13.00 - Take out turkey and leave covered loosely with foil to rest for at least 15 minutes. This makes it easier to carve and allows the juices to redistribute. Make gravy with some of the juices and keep warm. Turn oven up crisp potatoes and parsnips. Cook vegetables, drain and keep warm. Warm the serving plates and carve the turkey.
  • 13.30 - Place turkey and vegetables on serving platters, garnish and serve with sauces.
Bon appetit!

Click here for lots of fabulous Christmas recipe ideas

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