Top turkey tips and timings

Everyone loves a traditional turkey feast on Christmas Day. And we’ve got a stocking full of Christmas tips and tricks to help you choose, cook and serve the perfect festive bird on the big day.

 

Choosing the right turkey

Whatever your budget or how many you are cooking for, our range of juicy British whole turkeys and delicious crowns are the perfect choice for an unforgettable Christmas dinner. From intimate gatherings to large family feasts, we've got the perfect sized turkey for your table, including stuffed and wrapped or boneless varieties. There’s a whole range of options, whether you are looking for something that will freeze easily or fit your oven just right - whatever you need for the big day.

  • The size of your oven will be a big deal on Christmas day so pick the right size bird to roast. Like our boneless, plump and moist, stuffed Roly Poly turkey crowns – easy to store, freeze, fit in the oven and carve.
  • No matter what your budget, a whole turkey is perfect for the big day feast, with a choice of white or dark turkey meat, rich in flavour. And plenty of leftovers for the next day.
  • Turkey crowns and parcels are quicker to cook and easier to carve. Our juicy, free range options are great for the family this Christmas. No legs or wings, just tender white breast meat, neatly wrapped.
  • All the flavour. None of the fuss. Spoil them with our delicious, pre-prepped roast-in-a bag bird. Not only will it be juicy and tender, it will cook quickly and leave less mess, so you can enjoy an unforgettable feast.

A guide to turkey cooking times

Every Christmas chef should know that getting the exact weight of your bird is key to making sure your turkey timings are spot on. It also gives you peace of mind knowing you aren’t going to over or undercook on the big day, leaving you time to relax. Don’t forget to take your turkey out of the fridge 30 minutes before you cook and always follow the instructions on the packaging. When it’s cooked, leave the bird to rest for up to 60 minutes.

As a guide, cook your turkey at 180°C Fan/350°C/Gas Mark 4.

Under 4.5kg – cook for 45 minutes per kilogram, plus 20 minutes.

4.5kg – 6.5kg – cook for 40 minutes per kilogram.

More than 6.5kg – cook 35 minutes per kilogram.

  • Weigh the turkey after it’s stuffed to get the timing right, and always remember to pre-heat your oven.
  • Pour, brush or spoon the excess juices over the turkey during cooking to keep it moist.
  • Test the bird is cooked using a probe thermometer. The temperature of the meat should be 75°C.
  • Loosely cover your turkey and allow it to rest. This gives the juices time to redistribute, keeping your meat moist.

How to cook a turkey

Don’t know where to start when it comes to cooking your Christmas turkey? Our Taste Kitchen experts are here to take you through every step of the prep with lots of top tips, clever ideas and simple tutorials to help you cook your turkey to perfection.

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Top turkey tips

We’ve rounded up some must-have tips and timings to help you serve the most amazing turkey feast for family and friends.

  • Make sure your bird cooks evenly by tying the legs loosely with string – this ensures that the breast meat doesn’t overcook.
  • Don’t forget to brown your turkey and crisp the skin to perfection by rubbing it all over with olive oil or melted clarified butter.
  • If you don’t have the room in the oven for a larger turkey it’s a good idea to roast 2 smaller turkeys. They’ll fit better in the fridge and roasting pan and cook quicker.
  • Pick a heavy duty, non-stick pan with low sides – about 2 inches. If the sides are any higher, it stops your bird browning evenly below.

Quick and easy leftover recipes

There’s no need to let all that leftover food go to waste this Christmas. Our brand-new leftover recipe page is host to plenty of go-to dishes that will make the most of any leftover food you might have.

Q&A

  • Check to see if you need to remove any packaging, then simply pop in the oven as per instructions.
  • All of our turkey crowns come with cooking instructions. So, for best results, please refer to the pack. As a general guide, you can season and baste with butter to keep it moist. Roast skin side up at 180 to 190C. Cover loosely with foil and cook for 20 minutes per kg. Then add 70 minutes (or 90 minutes if your turkey crown weighs more than 4kg). For extra flavour baste in the juices about 30 minutes before it’s ready.
  • Cook for 20 minutes per kg at 180 to 190°C. Then add 70 minutes (or 90 minutes if your turkey crown weighs more than 4kg).
  • You need 15 minutes per 450g, and then another 20-30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas Mark 7. Put the turkey joint skin side up and pour over 450ml water (or chicken stock to taste). Spread butter over the skin and season well. Seal with foil then roast for 20 minutes – to allow it to heat right through. Then cook at 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6. Top tip: uncover the joint for the last 20 minutes to brown the skin.
  • Pierce the thickest part of the leg with a skewer. If the meat juices run clear, it means the turkey is cooked. If there are any traces of pink in the juices, cook the bird for a further 15 minutes, then retest.
  • This is not something we would recommend as turkey needs to be stored below 4.4 degrees C, and you can’t guarantee what the temperature will be outside, or in the garage, throughout the day. Try to make room in the fridge for the turkey and store things like drinks and mixers in the garage instead.
  • Yes, however, you can only reheat the turkey sliced – not as a whole bird or joint. Cook the turkey the night before as per the cooking instructions and allow the bird to cool completely before refrigerating overnight. On the day, carve the turkey into slices and place into a roasting tray and cover with a little chicken or turkey stock, then reheat in a pre-heated oven 180°C/Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes - until heated through.
  • A mix of different festive birds, such as turkey, goose, duck, cockerel or pheasant. Our boneless British multi-bird roast includes free range turkey, duck and pheasant with a cranberry stuffing and glaze, topped with smoked streaky bacon and a sprig of herbs.
  • Yes, it will make it really moist and juicy, but you’ll need to brown it off at the end.
  • Yes. It stops the legs drying out, and gives you a neat, compact shape that will stop it collapsing.
  • As a guide, cook your turkey at 180°C Fan/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and use the below info.

    Under 4.5kg – cook for 45 minutes per kilogram, plus 20 minutes.

    4.5kg – 6.5kg – cook for 40 minutes per kilogram.

    More than 6.5kg – cook 35 minutes per kilogram.

  • For 24 hours at the bottom of the fridge. It will take about 2 hours for every 450g.
  • Roly Poly turkeys get their name from being juicy and plump. Free range, oat-fed, and RSPCA-assured, they are reared in a natural habitat to give an extraordinarily moist flavour.

Turkey not your thing?

There are plenty of great alternatives to turkey at Christmas. Why not try our rack of lamb or something from our delicious vegan range?