How do I cook a turkey?

Those following our blog and Twitter feeds will know that we have already had a dry run at Christmas this year. This also means that we have also done all of the research into cooking the perfect turkey for you.

Remember to buy a British turkey and support your local farmers! Our pre-Christmas British reared bird came from the fantastic Copas Turkeys ( and we certainly recommend them for quality and customer service. In fact most of these turkey cooking tips came directly from them.

Cooking a turkey in a fan or conventional oven – Quick guide

2kg – 1hr 15mins
3kg – 1hr 45mins
4kg – 2hr 35mins
5kg – 2hr 55mins
6kg – 3hr 15mins
7kg – 3hr 40mins
8kg – 4 hrs
9kg – 4hrs 25mins
10kg – 4hr 45mins

1. Pre-heat the oven at 230c/450F/Gas Mark 8 and rub a teaspoon or two of rapeseed oil all over the bird before seasoning with salt (and pepper if you have some). Place in the tin upside down (breast meat down), cover with tin foil and cook at this temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Then lower the temperature to 190c/375F/Gas Mark 5 for the remaining time (see right).

3. About 30 mins before the cooking time is over remove from the oven, take off the foil and gently turn the turkey over. Put back in the oven without the foil to crisp up the skin.

3. Your turkey is ready when the juices run clear from the deepest part of the thigh or breast or when your thermometer reads 74 degrees at the thickest part of the bird.

4. Leave to rest for 15 – 30 minutes before carving.

TOP TIP: Cook your turkey for the first XXX minutes upside down. This sounds crazy but really helps lock in the moisture and means that there is no need to baste for a golden brown skin.

– Emily


  1. If space is an issue you can get your butcher to bone the turkey and roll the stuffing inside the turkey – this cooks really well and slices really well too. Make the stuffing to give the butcher – you just need to make an arrangement to do this first. Learning to bone a turkey or chicken (same just different size) is actually a really good skill to learn and whilst a little fiddly its make life more interesting. I am sure there are lots of video’s on you tube showing how to do this – I learnt this skill at a cordon bleu cookery demonstration over 35 years ago and have been doing it ever since!

  2. British Reared? Bernard Mathews packs say the same but my local breeder of cattle, sheep, Geese, turkeys and chxns says that “reared” means shipped in from abroad and grazed here for only a year. Is this true?

    • I am not entirely sure what Bernard does. I would be a little disappointed if they did import and imply to the contrary. What I can say is that our Copas bird was British born and bred.

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