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Turkey - Roasting Cooking Tips

Tips supplied by Mollie Kelly of Kelly Bronze Turkey Farms.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards.


A turkey.


1. Get the bird ready for the oven by sprinkling it with salt and pepper. If it's a Bronze bird, it might have black feather stubbs - they are a feature, and should be ignored. If the flesh isn't 'pearly white', this can be due to correct hanging which enhances the flavour.

2. If you're not filling the bird with stuffing, insert a large peeled onion, and perhaps a few cloves of whole peeled garlic for extra flavour. If stuffing, only add this to the neck end.

3. Don't cover the bird with foil, as this tends to produce steam, rather than roast the meat.

4. Place the turkey in a roasting tin breast-side-down to keep the meat moist and succulent. (the main fat deposits are on the back, and these will percolate the breast meat which is resting in its juices.

5. Whatever its size, start the turkey at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6, and maintain this for half the cooking time, then turn the oven down to 180°C/350°/Gas 4 - remembering that ovens vary.

6. The bird is cooked when the juices from the thigh run clear, when they are pierced with a thin knife or skewer.

7. If the juices are pink, continue cooking, checking every 15 minutes.

8. Leave to stand for 15 minutes before carving, to allow the juices to set.

To make gravy: Simmer the giblets in plenty of water with some chopped onion, celery, carrot and a bay leaf for about 30 minutes to make a stock. Strain and add to the roasting tin on the hob, deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom to release any caramelsed pieces. Add a glass red or white wine and some tomato purée. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

The purée will slightly thicken the gravy, but if you feel you need more thickness, mix equal amounts of plain flour and softened butter together, and gradually whisk it into the gravy. Season to taste, then strain before using.

Roasting times (oven ready weight):

Oven Ready Weight - Roasting Time - Serves

3kg - 1 hrs 45 mins - 4 helpings

3.6kg - 2 hrs 5 mins - 4 to 5 helpings

4 kg - 2 hrs 25 mins - 6 helpings

5kg - 2 hrs 40 mins - 8 to 9 helpings

5.6kg - 2 hrs 50 mins - 8 to 9 helpings

6.2kg - 3hrs - 10 to 12 helpings

7kg/15.4 lbs - 3hrs 15 mins - 10 to 12 helpings

9kg/19.8 lbs - 3.5 hours - 12 to 14 helpings

11kg/24.3 lbs - 4.5 hours - 16 to 18 helpings

For a 'Breast-Roast', spread the breast with butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 1 hour at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4; cooking any stuffing in a separate dish.

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