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How To Cook Butter Roast Turkey for Christmas

How To Cook Butter Roast Turkey for Christmas

By Jeff Baker

"Having begun his career in a professional kitchen in 1983, Jeff Baker has since cooked for the Queen, and worked alongside some of the world’s top chefs, such..."

Christmas turkeys promise the succulence and rich character required for a classic and memorable centrepiece at Christmas. Choose a heritage turkey that has been slow-grown and hung for the best quality and flavour.


  1. On the day of roasting, remove your bird from the packaging, pat dry and bring to room temperature. Make a note of the weight from the label.
  2. For the butter mix together the salt, zest of lemon, thyme leaves and butter. To mix well, the butter needs to be soft and pliable.
  3. Preheat your oven to 160°C fan assisted or 180°C without a fan (gas 4).
  4. Choose a large, heavy-based roasting tray, ideally with deep sides and handles for easy movement.
  5. Gently lift the skin away from the breast meat, starting at the neck cavity and then carefully push the softened butter between the skin and flesh.
  6. Follow this by loosely stuffing the neck cavity with stuffing then cover with the loose skin.
  7. Next, place the onion, lemon and plenty of herbs into the large cavity.
  8. Place the turkey on a wire trivet, then pour 200ml of water onto the base of the tray.
  9. Cover the turkey with foil then place the tray in the oven and roast 40 minutes per kilo, basting a few times whilst roasting then increase oven temperature 210°C for fan assisted or 230°C for ovens without a fan (gas 8).
  10. Remove the foil for the final 20 minutes or so to crisp the skin.
  11. To check the turkey is cooked, pierce the skin between the thigh and breast and push a skewer into the flesh close to the bone, the juices should run clear.
  12. Carefully remove the turkey onto a large tray and keep warm by covering with a sheet of foil.
  13. Its essential to rest the turkey for a minimum 1 hour or up to half the roasting time.

Serving suggestion:

  • Serve with cranberry and bread sauces, roast potatoes and a selection of seasonal vegetables.
  • Any remaining stuffing can be made into balls and wrapped in baking ready to roast for the final 20 minutes or so.

Roast: Approximate times for Whole Turkey

5 kg = 3 ½ hours
6 kg = 4 hours
7 kg = 4 ½ hours
  • The Ingredients
  • • Whole free range turkey
  • • 150g Butter
  • • 2 tsp. Sea salt
  • • 1 x Lemon finely grated zest & the lemon split in half
  • • 1 tbls. Thyme leaves plus extra to fill the cavity
  • • 1 large onion cut in half
  • • 500g sausage meat stuffing

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