traditional roast turkey

Roast turkey

  • serves 8
  • A little effort

This is a simple and easy recipe to ensure your Christmas turkey is moist inside and crispy golden on the outside. Take the turkey out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you want to cook it to let it come up to room temperature.


Try this simple roast turkey, then check out our ultimate roast turkey, turkey crownturkey gravy and more Christmas turkey recipes.



  • turkey 1, giblets removed 
  • butter 125g, at room temperature
  • lemon 1, zested
  • garlic 1 clove, crushed (optional)
  • olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt
  • onions 3, skins removed


  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Pat the turkey dry all over with kitchen paper. Mix the butter with the lemon zest and garlic (if using) and season well. gently push your fingers under the turkey’s skin, starting from the neck end of the bird, easing the skin away from the flesh. Spread the lemon butter under the skin on each breast then smooth the skin back into place. Quarter the zested lemon and put in the turkey cavity. Rub the turkey all over with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

  • Step 2

    Put the halved onions in the bottom of a large roasting tin to act as a trivet for the bird. Sit the turkey on top and cover completely with foil, tucking under the tin to create a foil tent. Cook the turkey for 25 mins per kilo (1 hour 40 minutes for a 4kg bird). Take out the turkey and turn up the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.

  • Step 3

    Remove the foil and return the turkey to the oven for a further 30 minutes until golden. To test, pierce the fattest part of the thigh with a skewer. The juices should run clear. Rest the turkey, covered loosely with foil, for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before serving (strain the cooking juices and keep the onions to use in the gravy, left).

All the trimmings for a traditional Christmas lunch:

Best ever roast potato recipes

Garlic and rosemary roasties

Best vegetable side dishes

citrus carrots
Carrots with clementines

Best Christmas trimmings

Boozy cranberry Sauce


Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 544
  • Fat 30.7g
  • Saturates 13.9g
  • Protein 67.1g
  • Salt 1.14g