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    Foolproof Roast Turkey

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    Foolproof Roast Turkey

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes
    • Cooking time: 1½-6 hours, depending on size
    • Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes to 6 hours 15 minutes, depending on size 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 15 minutes


    • 1 turkey (defrosted, if frozen)
    • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
    • A large roasting pan of fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and sage
    • 40g unsalted butter, melted
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


    1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5.
    2. Wipe the turkey inside and out with kitchen roll, removing and reserving the giblets if it has them. Put the lemon and herbs inside the bird, weigh it, and calculate the cooking time (see below). Put the turkey in a sturdy roasting pan, brush with the butter and season well. Loosely cover with foil and cook for the calculated time, basting now and then to prevent drying. Thirty minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil so the bird can brown.
    3. At the end of the cooking time, check if the bird is cooked: insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear, the bird is cooked. If there is any pink in the juices, return the turkey to the oven for 15-20 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a hot serving plate and leave to stand for 15-30 minutes, covered with foil, before carving. Pour off the cooking juices into a jug for the gravy.

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    Cook's tips

    Order your turkey from Waitrose as early as possible, the last day for ordering is Thursday 15 December. You can put in your request at waitrose.com, by telephone on 0800 169 2701 or at the customer order desk in store.
    Make sure the turkey will fit in your oven before ordering it. A turkey of up to 7kg will generally fit into a standard main oven.

    If the turkey comes with giblets, use them to make stock for the gravy.

    If your fridge is too small to fit the turkey in, put it into a cardboard box with a couple of ice packs and keep in a cool, safe place such as a garage or shed.

    If you're using a large bird, make sure the legs are not trussed too tightly or the cooking may take longer.

    Any leftover turkey should be refrigerated and eaten within 2 days. If you're using it in a cooked dish, such as a curry, make sure it is thoroughly reheated, until piping hot.

    Sizes and Times
    To calculate cooking time, allow 45 minutes per kg. The following is a good guide to the size of bird you'll need:

    2-2.8 kg - 5 servings
    3-3.8 kg - 6 servings
    4-4.4 kg - 8 servings
    4.6-5.8 kg - 12 servings
    6-6.8 kg - 14 servings
    7-7.8 kg - 20 servings

    If you buy a frozen turkey, defrost it completely in a cool room, or the fridge. It is completely defrosted when the cavity is free of ice crystals. The following is a guide to minimum defrosting times in a cool room. Double the time for defrosting in the fridge.

    2-4 kg - 20 hours
    4-5 kg - 22-24 hours
    5-7 kg - 24-28 hours
    8-9 kg - 40-48 hours


    Average user rating

    3 stars