A Guide to Roasting Turkey

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 Updated 18/07/2015

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Probably the most tricky part of the Christmas Meal is the cooking of the turkey. It is sometimes difficult to judge how long the turkey needs to be cooked, especially if you haven't attempted it before. The timings below can be used as a guide to give you a fairly good idea of how long to cook the bird based on its weight. Be prepared to be flexible with timing and make sure that the turkey is properly defrosted (follow the instructions on the packaging before attempting to cook it).


  • 10 - 12lb turkey 3 3/4 - 4 hours
  • 12 - 14lb turkey 4 - 4 1/4 hours
  • 14 - 16lb turkey 4 1/4 - 4 1/2 hours
  • 16 - 18lb turkey 4 1/2 - 4 3/4 hours
  • 18 - 20lb turkey 4 3/4 - 5 hours
(see measure conversions for more information on quantites)


  1. Firstly, remember to remove all giblets from the body cavity and neck. The neck is usually stuffed with sausage meat and the body with chestnut stuffing or whatever stuffing is preferred.
  2. Start bird off at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (see temperature conversions) for 20 minutes then at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for the rest of the cooking time.
  3. Baste regularly.
  4. If breast and/or legs brown too quickly cover loosely with foil.
  5. Alternatively the breast can be covered with rashers of streaky bacon.
  6. To test to see if the turkey is cooked plunge a knife between the body and one of the legs.
  7. The juices should run clear with no hint of pink.
  8. Allow turkey to stand for about 15 minutes before carving.
  9. Serve the turkey with chipolata sausages, streaky bacon and giblet gravy.


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