Here's everything you need to know about roasting the
turkey, how to carve it and a step-by-step timeline for
planning your perfect Christmas meal. So you can enjoy
a stress-free feast with your loved ones

How to cook a turkey | Turkey buying guide | Waitrose & Partners

1. Prep in advance

Get ahead by making as much as you can and freeze or refrigerate in advance. This could include your stuffing, cranberry sauce, bread sauce, pigs in blankets and braised red cabbage.

2. Use up the giblets

Every Waitrose & Partners whole turkey comes with giblets. Remove these before cooking but don’t throw away – they make fantastic gravy

3. Stuffing the turkey

If stuffing, loosely fill the neck end so the heat can circulate, and always weigh the bird after it’s been stuffed for accurate cooking times.

4. Cooking the bird

Check your turkey’s cooking instructions but as a general rule, cook in a 180°C (160°C fan) preheated oven for 35 minutes per kg (including stuffing).

5. Start upside down

Cook the turkey breast-side down for the first half of the cooking time to help retain moisture and keeps the lean breast meat succulent. Turn it over halfway through, and baste occasionally with the juices. Make sure to remove the foil for the last 30 minutes or so to allow the skin to turn crisp and golden.

6. Test if it's cooked

To test if a turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and see if the juices run clear. If there’s any pinkness, return to the oven and check every 15 minutes. Or if using a meat thermometer; the temperature needs to read 70°C when inserted into the thickest part of the meat.

7. Rest for as long as possible

This is very important to allow the meat to relax, stay tender and retain its juices. Cover with aluminium foil and leave to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes up to the advised 1.5 hours. Don’t worry about the turkey going cold as it will stay warm enough when covered, and will still eat perfectly when served with piping hot gravy.

8. Carve the turkey

Once your bird is well rested, follow our simple carving guide to get the most out of your Christmas turkey.

How to carve a turkey
Follow this simple timeplan for an effortless process of getting the turkey on the table in time for lunch.


Are you in charge of cooking the turkey this year?
Follow our simple guide with step-by-step instructions for 
getting your feast on the table in time for lunch. 

These timings are based on a 4kg whole turkey to serve 6-8 people at approximately 2pm. 


Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan, gas mark 4).

Take the turkey out of fridge and add your stuffing if using. 


Weigh turkey to calculate your exact cooking time.


Cover the turkey loosely with foil, and put in the oven, breast-side down.


Remove the foil from the turkey and turn the bird over to brown the skin.

Baste with the juices, put back in oven.


Check if turkey is cooked, then remove turkey from the oven and transfer to a large board or plate, cover tightly with foil and tea towels to keep warm.

Increase oven temperature to 200°C (180°C fan, gas mark 6).

Preheat fat for potatoes in oven. Parboil potatoes.


Toss potatoes in the hot fat and put in oven on the top shelf.

Make gravy, if not already done.


Put carrots and parsnips in the oven to roast.

Serve starter, if having.


Put pigs in blankets and stuffing in the oven.


Reheat ready-made red cabbage.


Cook Brussels sprouts.

Reheat gravy, adding the turkey juices from the tin.

Heat up bread sauce.

Transfer sides and sauces to serving dishes.


Take turkey and all the trimmings to the table and enjoy your fabulous feast. 

Don't forget about the turkey trimmings - we've got recipes for Brussels sprouts, roast vegetables, bread sauce, gravy and more

The supporting acts 

Don't forget about the turkey trimmings.
From Brussels sprouts with lemon and
sage to red cabbage with sloe gin and
juniper, here's our pick of this year's most
scrumptious Christmas sides

See our sides >