What to do
- Thaw frozen turkeys completely in the fridge before roasting. Depending on the size of the turkey, this can take up to four days
- Allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before cooking
- Dry the skin with kitchen paper to help it crisp during roasting.
- Season from the inside out: fill the cavity with aromatics like garlic, fresh herbs, lemon wedges and onion
- If you have a lot of people to feed, consider buying two smaller birds rather than one large one
- Use a roasting rack in the roasting tin to elevate the turkey from the bottom of the tin. This will result in a more evenly-cooked bird
- Use a meat thermometer to properly gauge when the turkey is done. The thickest part of the meat should register at 74˚C.
What not to do
- Don’t wash the turkey! Washing the turkey can contaminate your kitchen with bacteria
as water droplets splatter. Cooking the turkey to the right temperature will kill any
- Don’t baste the bird as it won’t give you crispier skin. If you really must baste, do it once only.
- Don’t slice the turkey right away. Leaving the roast turkey to sit for 20-30 minutes after cooking will result in moister meat.
- Don’t waste the juices in the bottom of the pan! Reduce them in a saucepan with a chicken stock or white wine and thicken with a cornflour for an amazing gravy.
Oven temperatures vary, so always ensure your turkey is fully cooked before serving. To test if it’s done, make sure the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh where it meets the body. If not, put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes, then test again. Times shown are for unstuffed birds cooked at 220˚C/200˚C fan/gas mark 7.
But the festive roast bird wouldn’t be complete without a delicious stuffing. And here the question is: to stuff or not to stuff? We broke down the pros and cons to help you solve this endless debate.