Tips for the perfect Christmas Turkey

Here's our ultimate guide to how to serve up the perfect Christmas Turkey!

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

Turkey weight

No. of serves Thawing time in fridge Cooking time for a stuffed turkey
2.5kg/size 25 4-6 2-2 1/2 days 1 1/2-2 hours
4.5kg/size 45 8-10 3 days 3-3 1/2 hours
6.75kg/size 67 10-12 3-3 1/2 days 4 1/2-5 hours
9kg/size 90 15-20 3 1/2 days

6-6 1/2 hours

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.

Let your turkey rest for at least 20 minutes after cooking to 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.

Finally, remember to cool any leftovers as quickly as possible, store well-wrapped in the fridge and eat within 3 days.