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Christmas Cooking Guidelines & Tips
🎶 It’s the most wonderful time of the year! 🎶
But the festive period can be quite stressful . . .

To alleviate this, we are creating a Christmas countdown guide with cooking guidelines to help get you through the big day.

Pre Christmas Planning:

Make sure you have enough equipment; you don’t want to start preparing your turkey only to realise that you haven’t got a tray big enough to cook it in. In the week leading up to Christmas, make sure you have enough of the following:

Tin foil, baking parchment, kitchen roll, washing up liquid and dishwasher tablets, bags for rubbish, recycling and compost bins, tea towels, baking trays and roasting dishes.


Wednesday 21st December:

Make your shopping list, including everything from juice to napkins.

A time plan is also a good idea if you’re super stressed out as it will allow you to figure out what needs to be done when and how long your meats need to be cooked for, ensuring you leave yourself enough oven space.


Thursday 22nd December:

TOP TIP: If you’re planning to use a frozen turkey, depending on its size, you might want to start defrosting it today as you need to allow 8-12 hours in the fridge per kilo.

Friday 23rd December:

This is your big shopping day. Make sure you bring enough reusable bags with you.

If you’re making soup for starter, make it today and freeze it for use on Christmas Day.


Saturday 24th December – Christmas Eve:

Peel all your veg and place them in cold water to hold until Christmas Day. If you’re planning to serve any plainly boiled, blanch them off today by cooking in boiling salted water until just tender, then run them under ice water until totally cooled. You can then reheat the boiled veg for 3 minutes (depending on size) in boiling water until hot the whole way through.

If you’ve frozen anything, now is the time to take it out of the freezer to defrost (other than your turkey, which should already be defrosting!).

The big job for today is to cook your ham; get it done early and chill it down, then reheat tomorrow in packs of foil with some of the liquid that you cooked the ham in.

Today is also the day that you should set your table, get all your utensils and serving dishes ready, as well as placing any drinks that require cooling into a fridge, cooler or icebox so that they’re ready to go tomorrow.


Sunday 25th December – Christmas Day:

It’s the big day! Remember to take your turkey, and any other meats you’ll be cooking, out of the fridge a couple of hours before they go into the oven. Depending on the size of your turkey and whether it’s whole or just a crown, your cooking time will vary. More than likely, a whole turkey will take around 2 ½-3 hours to cook, then you need to rest the meat to ensure maximum juiciness, so you might need to get it into the oven pretty early! Check your time plan to make sure you get it in the oven in enough time.

Blanch your potatoes and get them into the oven to roast about an hour before you want to serve dinner, turning halfway through to guarantee a crispy result.

Once your turkey is out of the oven, cover it with foil to rest and make your gravy using the juices.

Reheat stuffing in the oven and carve your turkey.

Refresh your parboiled veg in boiling water, then serve everything and enjoy!

After dinner, make sure you store everything correctly to ensure that you have leftovers for turkey sandwiches tomorrow.

Oven cook from chilled. For best results, remove from refrigerator for 1 hour prior to cooking. Preheat oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Remove all packaging.

Remove giblet bag and neck from body cavity and place to one side.

Place the turkey into a deep roasting tray and add 500ml of water to the tray around the bird. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Cook in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes baste the turkey.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and check the turkey is piping hot throughout and the juices run clear. If juices are pink return the turkey to the oven for a further 15 minutes and recheck.

If you have a meat thermometer, place into the thickest part of the bird and ensure that the temperature reads at least 75°C.

Cover with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving. This retains more of the juices for a more succulent meat.

All ovens vary in performance, this is a guide only.

Always check that the turkey is piping hot and that the juices run clear before serving.

COOKING TIME
WEIGHTUNSTUFFEDBONED & ROLLEDSTUFFED
10lbs (4.5kg)3 hours 40 mins3 hours 40 mins4 hours
12lbs (5.25kg)4 hours 20 mins4 hours 20 mins4 hours 40 mins
14lbs (6.25kg)5 hours5 hours5 hours 20 mins
16lbs (7.25kg)5 hours 40 mins5 hours 40 mins6 hours
18lbs (8.25kg)6 hours 20 mins6 hours 20 mins6 hours 40 mins
20lbs (9-9.25kg)7 hours7 hours7 hours 20 mins
22lbs (9.5-10kg)7 hours 40 mins7 hours 40 mins8 hours
24lbs (10.5-10.9kg)8 hours 20 mins8 hours 20 mins8 hours 40 mins
26lbs (11.5-11.7kg)9 hours9 hours9 hours 20 mins

Resting your turkey

It is very important to rest your turkey after cooking to allow the meat to relax, retain its juices and stay tender.

  • Cover the turkey with foil and a tea towel to keep the heat in.
  • Cover the turkey for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 90 mins for a large turkey before carving and serving.

Oven cook from chilled. For best results, remove from refrigerator for 1 hour prior to cooking. Preheat oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Remove all packaging.

Place the turkey breast into a roasting tray and add 500ml of water to the tray around the bird. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Cook in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes baste the turkey.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and check the turkey is piping hot throughout and the juices run clear. If juices are pink return the turkey to the oven for a further 15 minutes and recheck.

If you have a meat thermometer, place into the thickest part of the bird and ensure that the temperature reads at least 75°C.

Cover with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving. This retains more of the juices for a more succulent meat.

All ovens vary in performance, this is a guide only.

Always check that the turkey is piping hot and that the juices run clear before serving.

COOKING TIME
WEIGHTUNSTUFFEDSTUFFED
3.5lbs (1.5 – 1.7kg)1 hour 30 minutes1 hour 40 minutes
5lbs (2 – 2.5kg)1 hour 40 minutes2 hours 20 minutes
6.5lbs (2.5- 3kg)2 hours 20 mins3 hours 30 mins
11lbs (4.5-5kg)3 hours 30 mins4 hours 40 mins

Resting your turkey

It is very important to rest your turkey after cooking to allow the meat to relax, retain its juices and stay tender.

  • Cover the turkey with foil and a tea towel to keep the heat in.
  • Cover the turkey for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 90 mins for a large turkey before carving and serving.

Cooking times may vary depending on type of oven. Cooking instructions below are for guidance only. Please ensure your turkey is thoroughly cooked before serving.

How to ensure your turkey is fully cooked:

If you have a meat thermometer, place into the thickest part of the bird and ensure that the temperature reads at least 75°C.

If you do not have a meat thermometer:

  • Pierce the turkey with a fork and ensure that the juices run clear.
  • Ensure the meat is piping hot throughout
  • Ensure there is no pink meat left

Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 before putting turkey legs in.

Cooking Time
LEGS ON BONELEGS BONEDLEGS BONED & STUFFED
20 minutes per lb20 minutes per lb plus 20 minutes20 minutes per lb

Resting your turkey

It is very important to rest your turkey after cooking to allow the meat to relax, retain its juices and stay tender.

  • Cover the turkey with foil and a tea towel to keep the heat in.
  • Cover the turkey for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 90 mins for a large turkey before carving and serving.

Remove all packaging.

Weigh your joint to calculate the correct cooking time – is approximately 20 minutes per 450g, plus an extra 20 minutes.

Put the joint into a big pan/pot along with any flavourings you want to add (for example, peppercorns, onion, cinnamon, bay). Cover with cold water and bring to the boil.

Boil for half the cooking time, skimming and getting rid of any white froth that rises to the top.

Drain (reserving the water for stock if you want to) and leave to cool slightly before removing the rind and scoring the layer of fat.

Preheat oven to: 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4

Place the meat in a foil-lined roasting tin, loosely cover with foil and put into the preheated oven.

Bake for the remaining cooking time.

20-30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the foil and brush the joint with the glaze of your choice – for example, honey or maple syrup.

Cook uncovered until the glaze is golden.

If you prefer it roasted in the oven only, you can alter the cooking times to 30 minutes per 450g, plus an extra 30 minutes. All ovens vary in performance, this is a guide only.

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C, Fan 180°C, Gas Mark 6.

Remove all packaging.

Take bag of giblets out of the body cavity (they’re useful for stock).

Weigh the duck without the giblets.

It’s important to do this – don’t just use the weight on the bag, as this includes the giblets.

Place on a rack in the roasting tin, prick the skin all over an rub a teaspoon of salt into the skin.

Roast in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes per 1kg, plus 10 minutes extra.

Rest the duck for 10-20 minutes.

All ovens vary in performance, this is a guide only.

Preheat oven to 180°C, Fan 160°C, Gas Mark 4.

Remove giblets etc and any spare fat from inside cavity.

Use the spare fat to spread over the legs of the goose.

Weigh the goose to calculate the cooking time which is 30 minutes per 1 kg.

Place the goose on a rack in a large roasting tin then prick the skin all over with a fork and rub a teaspoon of salt into the skin.

Cover loosely with foil and place in the middle of the preheated oven.

Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cook time. When the cooking time’s up, lift the goose on to a carving dish, cover with foil and rest for 20 minutes before carving. This retains more of the juices for a more succulent roast

Carefully pour off the goose fat occasionally. This can be kept to make roast potatoes.

All ovens vary in performance, this is a guide only.

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