No brining, no basting and no stuffing - this is my easy, fuss-free recipe that really lets the flavour shine, and ensures the turkey is lovely and juicy.
Whether you're cooking a small or a larger turkey this year (we always go large because we LOVE turkey leftovers), I'll show you how to roast a turkey without the stress.
I'm just going to come out here and say it - I don't stuff my turkey! In addition I don't brine it, baste it, lay it on piles of vegetables, cover it in bacon or smother butter under the skin.
Why? You might ask?
|Turkey Faff Suggestion||Reason I don't do it|
|Stuff turkey||I don't like soggy stuffing (crunchy coating is better IMHO) and stuffing the bird increases roasting time - which will make the bird drier.|
|Brine turkey||I've never noticed a significant difference to taste in the turkey after brining. It does increase moisture slightly, but the moisture is just water - which dilutes the flavour of the meat.|
|Baste turkey||Every time you open the oven to baste, the oven cools = longer to roast the turkey! Also it softens the skin, and the flavour of the meat juices doesn't sink into the meat (only the skin).|
|Lay turkey on veggie trivet||I don't want those veggies sucking up all that turkey flavour, to then have to spend 10 minutes squeezing it all out of the veggies at the end of cooking. Too much faff.|
|Cover turkey in bacon||It looks good, but the bacon itself loses its flavour. The salty flavour goes into the turkey skin (which is a small benefit), but that flavour doesn't penetrate the meat. When everyone goes to grab a bit of bacon, and that bacon is flavourless, it's so disappointing!|
|Smother butter under skin||There's a risk of tearing the skin, and also the water in the butter can make the browning of the skin uneven.|
After years of roasting turkeys, I've come to the conclusion that it's best to keep it simple. A flavourful turkey, with any energy for fancy stuff being saved for the side dishes!
📋 What do we need?
This is a 4.5kg (10 pound) bronze turkey. I've include a little table further down this post with info on using different weights of turkey.
🔪 How to roast a turkey
**Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.**
- Remove the giblets and neck, tuck the tips of the legs into the cavity and tuck the tips of the wings underneath the bird.
- Place the turkey on a large wire rack on top of a large roasting tray, then rub all over with oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper.
- Pour a cup of chicken stock into the base of the roasting tray and cover the turkey and the tray with foil - tenting the foil over the turkey, so it's not touching.
- Roast the turkey according to the cooking times in the table further below, removing the foil for the last hour of cooking.
- Transfer to a warm serving plate and leave to rest for 30-60 minutes.
Check the turkey is done by piercing the deepest part of the meat with a skewer – the juices should run clear, not pink. Give it a little longer in the oven if the juices are still a little pink.
If you have a meat thermometer, the temperature should read 70C/158F. Test the thickest part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast. The temperature will rise a little further when it’s resting.
⏲️ Turkey Roasting Time
Note: this is for whole turkeys (not turkey crowns).
For turkeys under 4kg (8.8lbs), this is 20 minutes per kg (2.2lbs) plus 70 minutes.
For turkeys 4kg (8.8lbs) and over, this is 20 minutes per kg (2.2lbs) plus 90 minutes.
Time planning tip:
It's a good idea to work out your time plan backwards from the time you want to serve.
You’ll need to consider not only the roasting time, but also taking the bird out of the fridge 1 hour before roasting, and then resting the bird after roasting.
So if you want to serve at 2pm (and you have a 4.5kg/10lb bird) it would need to come out of the fridge at 9:15am. Then it would go into the oven at 10:15am. It would be done by 1:15pm, and can rest for 45 minutes before serving at 2pm.
📺 Watch how to make it
🍲 More fantastic roast dinner recipes
Easy Roast Turkey Recipe
- Large roasting tin
- Roasting rack
- Non-stick tin foil.
- Meat thermometer (if possible)
- 1 turkey – approx 4.5kg/10lbs - see notes for different size turkeys
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 240 ml (1 cup) chicken stock - - this can be warm or cold
- Preheat the oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas mark 4
- Remove the giblets and neck (you can save these to make stock another time) , tuck the tips of the legs into the cavity and tuck the tips of the wings underneath the bird.
- Place the turkey on a large wire rack on top of a large roasting tray.
- Rub the oil all over the turkey, then sprinkle on the salt and pepper.
- Pour the stock into the base of the roasting tray.
- Brush or spray the foil with a little more oil, then tent the foil over the turkey and the tray so there are no gaps. Try not to let the foil touch the turkey – this will allow steam to circulate around the turkey as it’s cooking. You will probably need to connect a couple of large pieces of foil together so it will fit – just roll and then scrunch the edges of the pieces of foil together so they stay connected.
- Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 2 hours.
- Remove the foil roast for a further hour.
- Once the turkey is lovely and golden brown, remove from the oven and transfer to a warm serving plate.
- Leave to rest for 30-60 minutes (I usually rest mine for about 45 minutes). This is ultra-important if you want a juicy turkey. The turkey will still be warm after this period (plus if you’re serving on warm plates with hot gravy you have nothing to worry about at all). There is no need to cover the turkey (unless you’re in a really cold room) during this time, as the internal temperature tends to rise a little more during the resting period, and covering with foil would just cook the turkey further and the skin will soften.
- If you need more time to make roasties etc after the turkey comes out of the oven and think you might need to let the turkey rest for 60-90 minutes, then tent foil over the top, leaving space between the turkey and the foil (this is so any trapped steam on the foil isn’t touching the skin – which would make it go soggy).
- Use the juices in the bottom of the tray to make gravy (or add these juices to gravy you’ve made ahead – check out my video for make-ahead Christmas gravy).
- Serve with all of those wonderful side dishes for an amazing Christmas dinner.
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