How to select and cook your Christmas turkey

roasted christmas turkey

Although Christmas is likely to be somewhat different for many of us this year, the chances are, you are still planning a celebratory lunch and want to select a great Christmas turkey. Since it’s a once-a-year meal, even the most competent of cooks can feel daunted. So, we thought we might help by offering a few pointers.

What size of turkey do you need?

When it comes to choosing the right size of turkey for your Christmas lunch, some people simply choose the biggest one that their oven can handle. That ensures and plentiful supply of delicious meat for Christmas Day and several days after.

On the other hand, if you are planning a series of extravagant meals over the festive season, you may also want to indulge in things like gammon, rolled sirloin, or venison. So, a surplus of turkey could be wasteful. For that reason, we have produced the grid below to help you choose the right size of turkey.


Weight in kilos
Approximate number of servings
3 6
4 8
5 10
6 12
7 14
8 16
9 18
10 20
11 22
12 24


The above is very much a guideline. If you’re catering for a more ‘festive’ appetite, you may want to select a Christmas turkey that is somewhat larger.

What is the best way to cook a turkey?

People often criticise turkey for being a dry meat. It makes sense, therefore, to use every trick available to ensure that the Christmas turkey is succulent and delicious. The following suggestions will help you deliver a Christmas lunch that the whole family will remember. You can also follow our guide on how to roast a turkey and how to make a turkey gravy

Start with a good quality turkey

Some turkeys are bred for flavour while others are bred for size. If a turkey is huge and cheap, the chances are that you will end up with mediocre and dry meat.

Brine overnight

Brining is a simple case of soaking the bird in a mixture of water, salt, pepper and various herbs. That liquid will get right into the meat boosting flavour and moisture when roasted. An internet search for brining a turkey will result in some great suggestions.

Use a moist stuffing

If a stuffing is too dry, it will actually absorb moisture from the meat. Make a stuffing that contains high proportions of sausage meat, prunes, and other moisture-rich ingredients.

Don’t overcook it

Since you rarely cook a bird of this size, it’s no surprise that people don’t get the timing right. You obviously don’t want to undercook the bird, so it’s common to overcompensate. The recommendation is usually something like forty minutes per kilo plus twenty minutes. In fact, this is often far too long. One of the best investments you can ever make in kitchen equipment is a meat thermometer. By all means, base your total cooking time on forty minutes per kilo, but check the internal temperature around an hour before the end of the predicted cooking time. Check the temperature by inserting the meat thermometer into the turkey’s thigh. When the temperature reaches 75 degrees centigrade, the bird is ready.

Let it rest

As with most roasted meats, your turkey will benefit from resting for about thirty minutes before carving. The meat will loosen, the juice will be redistributed, and the bird will be easier to carve. You can use the resting time to cook the vegetables and make the gravy.

Christmas selection at Traymoor

To make things easier and more economical, we have put together a range of Christmas meat hampers. If you are considering buying several items, consider one of these packs and cut costs.

We deliver our restaurant-quality produce to homes in Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, and London (North & East).

If you’ve enjoyed our article, then take a look at our blog page for more meat related snippets.

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