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6 tips to the perfect Christmas turkey

by Sarah Alcock

If you haven't already, now is the time to order your Christmas turkey!

Check out our top turkey tips to make sure you buy the right sized bird, and cook it to perfection...

1. Work out how many people you're going to be feeding and order your turkey accordingly.

Sounds obvious, but you'd be amazed how many people buy a bird three times the size they need and end up eating leftovers until the New Year. A 4-5kg bird will serve 6-7, a 5-6kg one will do 8-10 and a 6-7kg turkey will feed 10-12. If you're catering for 6 or less, you might want to go for a crown joint rather than a whole bird – a 1.5-2kg turkey crown will serve 3-5, and a 2-2.5kg crown will feed 6-8.

2. Check that your turkey fits both your roasting tin and the oven before Christmas Day.

If necessary, you can remove the legs (joint it just as you would a chicken) and roast them separately.

3. Weigh your bird – with any stuffing – on Christmas Eve and calculate your cooking time.

The British Turkey Information Service has an excellent guide to cooking times and temperatures.

4. To ensure your turkey stays juicy... either smear plenty of butter between the skin of the breast and the meat itself, or cover the breast with streaky bacon or buttered foil during roasting. If covering with foil, remember to remove it for the last 30 minutes of cooking so the skin has a chance to brown and crisp up.

5. Let your turkey rest for at least 20 minutes after cooking... allow the juices to redistribute through the meat. Keep it in a warm place, loosely covered with foil and it can happily sit for as long as it takes you to cook the roast potatoes (turn the oven up high as soon as you take the bird out) and make the gravy.

6. Finally, remember to cool any leftovers as quickly as possible. Store them well-wrapped in the fridge and eat within three days.

Ready to cook? Don't miss our best-ever Christmas turkey recipes.

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