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How to cook the perfect Christmas turkey

Turkey in the oven

No one wants to eat dry turkey on Christmas day! Follow these simple steps for how to cook the perfect Christmas turkey.

From how to stuff your turkey to cooking times and defrosting, check out these need-to-know tips for how to cook a Christmas turkey.

How to defrost a turkey safely

  • If your turkey is frozen, always defrost thoroughly before cooking.
  • If thawing in the fridge, allow 8–12 hr per kg; in a cool room (17.5°C), allow 3–4 hr per kg; and at room temperature (20°C), allow 2 hr per kg.

Tips for stuffing a turkey

  • Always cool stuffing completely before using it to stuff the turkey.
  • Only stuff the neck end (not the main cavity) and don’t pack it too tightly as stuffing can swell during cooking.
  • Never stuff the turkey the night before as this can breed bacteria.

How long to cook your turkey for

For cooking times weigh the turkey after stuffing it to calculate the cooking time. Allow 20 min per kg, plus 70 min if under 4kg and 90 min if over 4kg.

How to ensure a moist turkey

  • Keep basting the turkey in its own juices as it cooks.
  • Once it’s finished cooking, cover the turkey with foil and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes. This helps the meat relax and will ensure all the juices soak the turkey properly.

How to make it a little lighter

Take the skin off your turkey and you’ll save around 115kcal, 10g fat and 3g saturates per serving.

Put your new skills to the test with Roast turkey with traditional herb stuffing

First published: Dec 2020
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