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How to cook: Turkey

how to cook turkey

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26th October, 2018

If you've bought a frozen Turkey then the most important part is to get the bird defrosted completely before we even consider preparing it for the oven. I would usually allow the turkey a minimum of 48 hours in the fridge to fully defrost but to make 100% sure you can leave it for 72 hours. The larger your frozen bird; the longer it will need to defrost.

If you need to speed up the defrosting process you can remove from the fridge and keep it in a cool room (not warm!) for a few hours

Lets work out the cooking time using the weight of the bird. It's vital that it gets enough cooking time to cook properly so I've included the timings for stuffed and unstuffed birds.

Cooking Times by Weight

Size (kg) Unstuffed Stuffed
3.0 kg 2 hours, 15 minutes 2 hours, 45 minutes
4.0 kg 2 hours, 35 minutes 3 hours, 05 minutes
5.0 kg 2 hours, 55 minutes 3 hours, 25 minutes
6.0 kg 3 hours, 15 minutes 3 hours, 45 minutes
7.0 kg 3 hours, 40 minutes 4 hours, 10 minutes
8.0 kg 4 hours, 00 minutes 4 hours, 30 minutes
9.0 kg 4 hours, 25 minutes 4 hours, 55 minutes
10.0 kg 4 hours, 45 minutes 5 hours, 15 minutes
11.0 kg 5 hours, 00 minutes 5 hours, 30 minutes
12.0 kg 5 hours, 15 minutes 5 hours, 45 minutes

Assuming that the Turkey is defrosted now we can start to prepare the bird. I usually do this the night before and keep the prepared bird back in the fridge but you can do this the day you're roasting.

Remove all the giblets from the inside of the bird and keep to one side as these are great for gravy. Once cleared, pat the inside dry.

Roughly chop one onion, a carrot and a stick of celery and place this in the base of a roasting tray to create a trivet for the Turkey

Take some butter and smear this over the skin of the Turkey. You want to work the butter into the nooks and cranies of the bird and give it a nice overall coating. This will also flavour the meat and keep it moist.

Finally, give the buttered bird a good coating of salt and pepper and once again rub it in

I usually do a stuffing outside of the bird but if you prefer to have stuffing in the bird; then the time to add your stuffing is now. Make sure the cavity isn't overfilled and too packed.

At this point I usually cover the bird in some tin foil and keep in the fridge until needed for the next day but if you're going to be roasting soon; just cover with foil and leave to one side for a minimum of an hour to bring the bird to room temperature.

Now we'll cook the bird. If you've placed the prepped bird in the fridge; get it out and leave it on the side an hour before it goes into the oven

Pre-heat the oven to 220C

When the oven is at temperature, place the roasting tray and foil covered turkey into the oven

After 30 minutes at 220C, reduce the oven temperature to 190C

Now we want to finish off browning and crisping the the skin so for the last 30 minutes of your roast; remove the tin foil covering the Turkey, give it a quick baste with juices and leave back in the oven

When the Turkey is cooked (based on cooking times we worked out earlier), remove the Turkey from the oven and remove it from the roasting tray. Wrap in tin foil to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes for smaller birds and a minimum of an hour for the largest birds. This lets the meat juices settle and makes for easier carving.