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.


I have also quite a Cornish genealogy. I know that stuffing you tell about.
It is not an easy task. Most of the amounts depends on the stuffing's "pâté consistency", mixing is complicated.
White bread small pieces without crust, fine chopped chicken livers plus the turkey liver, around 5 eggs, pepper, salt, 2 tablespoons of thyme (the wild thyme found in England is mostly not Th. serpyllum, but the related species Th. drucei (common wild thyme)), are needed. Mix, and put inside the turkey, cook filled turkey. Anyway, try:
there you'll find some e-mail addresses, they might help.
#2 - Ricardo LUDLOW - 12/15/2007 - 11:24
Dear Judith,
I can't find any traditional stuffing recipes such as you mention. We did make our own stuffing but only from breadcrumbs, herbs etc.
The saffron buns need to be left in a warm place so they really rise, also dryness can be a result of over cooking either for too long or at too high a heat.
A lot of it is trial and error.
Best of luck,
#1 - Connie - 11/18/2007 - 14:51
My family came from Cornwall, and I've been making pasty's and saffron buns like my grandmother. However, one thing my grandmother made was a fairly dry turkey stuffing. I can't find her recipe, she used gibblets and other parts of the bird, but don't know the total of the stuffing. Also, her saffron buns were dry. We just got back from Cornwall in October, and whilst there bought saffron buns, found them to be much more moist, how is that accomplished? More crisco perhaps?
Post me asap.
Thank you, Mrs. Judith Webb, (family name, Sibley,Hocking)
#0 - Judith Webb - 11/15/2007 - 09:34
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