• Joanna Heath

Grandma Heath’s perfect Christmas turkey

Grandma Heath has put together a guide on how to cook the perfect Christmas turkey!


How to cook the perfect Christmas turkey

First allow your turkey to come to room temperature for a few hours pre-cooking. Make sure you know your turkey’s weight including stuffing.

As a very rough guide you can simply cook your turkey as you wish at 180 degrees fan using the following:

  • for birds 9-14lb calculate 12-15 minutes per pound plus an extra 75 mins (with stuffing 15 mins)

  • for birds above 14lb calculate 12-15 minutes per pound minutes plus an extra 90 mins

Ideally use a meat thermometer to cook to perfection - 75-80 degrees is ideal. Here are some sample weights of Turkey + Stuffing using my method..

9lb - 30mins at Fan 200 degrees Celsius (foil on), 2.5h at Fan 140 degrees Celsius (foil on), 30 mins browning at Fan 200 degrees (foil open)

12-14lb 40 mins at Fan 200 C, 3-3.5hrs at 140 C, 30 mins browning at 200 C

15-18lb 45 mins at Fan 200 C, 3.5-4 hrs at 140 C, 30 mins browning at 200 C

18-20lb 50 mins at Fan 200 C, 4-4.5 hrs at 140 C, 30 mins browning at 200 C

Cooking instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C (Fan)

  2. Place your turkey in a large roasting tin. Separate the skin from the breast and stuff some butter between the two, as well as lightly on the top the bird, season well and overlap the bacon rashers across the turkey breast and legs

  3. Stuff the neck end of the turkey with your stuffing. Fill the cavity with anything else you like - lemon, bay leaves, thyme or any other herbs.

  4. Fold sheets of foil to make a tent over the turkey leaving a large air gap between turkey and foil, seal around the roasting tin

  5. Cook at 200 C to start for the initial allotted time

  6. Lower the temperature of the oven to 140 C (Fan) and continue cooking for the allotted time but remember ovens can vary so be guided by your bird or use your meat thermometer - this should be inserted in the turkey thigh at the beginning of cooking and will be 75-80 degrees once cooked

  7. Check on your turkey every so often and keep it moist by basting with the lovely juices from the bottom of the pan

  8. Thirty minutes before the end, fold back the foil, remove the bacon and baste again which will allow the breast to brown

  9. Check your turkey is cooked by putting a skewer/sharp knife into the fattest part of the thigh and see the juices run clear (not pink or red) and the meat should pull apart easily. If not, pop your turkey back in the oven to cook for a bit longer

  10. You can rest your turkey pre-carving for a long time and it will stay warm covered in fresh foil and tea towels - I cook mine in the morning and eat late afternoon!

  11. Carve, relax and enjoy!

Happy Christmas from Grandma Heath!

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