Top turkey tips

The experts at British Turkey have come up with some tried-and-tested tips for cooking your Christmas turkey.

Top turkey tips

If you’re getting a little nervous at the prospect of cooking the festive turkey this Christmas, the experts at British Turkey have come up with some tried-and-tested tips and some life-saving tricks. No need to panic – just follow the guide below and you’ll have time left over to sip that well deserved glass of wine.

British Turkey’s top tips

  • The secret to turkey perfection is all in the timing. If you have a frozen bird, you’ll need to work out when to start thawing – this can take longer than you think so check the defrosting calculator on for the exact time.

  • Calculate the cooking time in advance too, so it goes in the oven early enough. Rigorous research by British turkey has found this method the best:

    1. Preheat oven to 190C/375 F/Gas Mark 5.

    2. Weigh the bird after stuffing. If the bird is under 4kg allow 20 minutes per kg + 70 minutes at the end. If the bird is over 4kg allow 20 minutes per kg + 90 minutes at the end. Or use the roasting calculator on

  • For best results bring the turkey to room temperature before cooking and smear with butter and a layer of streaky bacon to keep the breast moist. Cover loosely with foil but remove the foil for the last 40 minutes to allow the skin to brown.

  • Always check the turkey is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the leg. The juices should run clear. If they look pinkish, pop it back in to the oven for a little longer.

  • Once cooked, leave the turkey to rest for 30 minutes, which will make it easier to carve. Use this time to turn up the oven to crisp the potatoes, cook the vegetables and make the gravy with the turkey juices.

  • A full Christmas countdown, step-by-step carving guide and lots of troubleshooting advice are available on You can also call the British Turkey Information Service for answers to your queries on: 0800 783 9994. Lines are open weekdays 9am-5pm, including Christmas Eve.

  • To make your Christmas turkey extra special try this fruity recipes from celebrity chef Phil Vickery:

    Saffron turkey with cranberry stuffing