Mary Berry's Christmas recipes: Easy Roast Turkey

Published Friday, Dec 20 2013, 20:00 GMT  |  By  |  Add comment
Mary Berry has come up with the perfect turkey recipe that will leave your Christmas dinner guests drooling for more.

The all-round national treasure and Great British Bake Off judge has cooked more than a few Christmas feasts in her time, so who better to guide you through the trials and tribulations of the most important meal of the year?

mary berry christmas turkey

© Robin Matthews/Headline Books

There's no need to panic as Mary, 78, offers hassle-free seasonal recipes and tips in her new book, Mary Berry's Christmas Collection, which is out now.

Here's her recipe for Traditional Roast Turkey.


  • 6.3kg oven-ready turkey
  • About 100g butter, softened
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 3 small sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
  • ½ recipe apricot & chesnut stuffing
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges


1 Preheat the oven to 220ºC/gas 7.

2 Loosen the skin over the breast of the turkey by slipping your fingers between the flesh and skin at the neck end, leaving the skin attached at the cavity end. Spread softened butter over the top of the breast under the skin, holding the skin up. Slip the lemon slices and thyme sprigs in under the skin. The latter is a nice addition, but if time is short forget this variation.

3 Stuff the neck end of the turkey up to the breast with the stuffing. Secure the loose skin with fine skewers, or just tuck the skin underneath. Fill the body cavity with any lemon trimmings, herbs and large pieces of onion. Tie the legs with string to give a neat shape. Lightly butter the skin of the bird.

4 Calculate the cooking time. If you have chosen to cook a turkey of a different size to above, cook it according to the instructions on the wrapper. Arrange two sheets of foil across a large roasting tin: they must be large enough to go generously up and over the turkey breast. Place the turkey on top and, if using a meat thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the thigh. (When cooked it will register 75-80ºC.) Fold the sheets of foil loosely over the turkey, leaving a large gap between the turkey and the foil.

5 Cook the turkey in the preheated oven for 40 mins. Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC/gas 3, and then
continue to roast for three and a half hours, basting from time to time.

6 Increase the oven heat to 220ºC/gas 7. Take the turkey out of the oven, turn back the foil and drain off any surplus juices from the tin into a jug or bowl. Leave the fat to rise to the top in a cold place.

7 When the liquid is cold, take off the fat with a spoon and save the juices for the gravy. Baste the bird, and return it to the hot oven for about 30 mins for the skin to brown and become crisp.

8 Take the turkey out of the oven and check if cooked. If not using a thermometer, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a small sharp knife. If the juices are clear, then the turkey is done – if they are still tinged with pink, then roast for a little longer. If the juices are clear cover the bird again with the foil, and leave to stand for 30 mins before carving.

9 Serve with sausages wrapped in bacon, giblet gravy and bread sauce.

Nutrition Information

Serves 12-15
mary berry christmas collection

© Martin Poole for Constable Books

PREPARING AHEAD: Prepare up to the end of Step 3 up to 12 hours before. Cover and chill until ready to cook. The stuffings can of course be made up to a month in advance and frozen.

WARNING: Do not put a meat stuffing into the cavity of a bird as this slows down the cooking time and is not safe. Only put in vegetables and herbs.

Mary's Tip: 'I use a meat thermometer when cooking turkey – it helps to judge when the bird is done. Cook it to 75-80ºC rather than the 90ºC suggested on the thermometer gauge. When working out when to put the turkey in the oven, allow for at least 30 minutes' resting time.'

More Mary Berry recipes...
Fresh Salmon & Dill Terrine
Easy Chocolate Brownies
Very Best Chocolate Fudge Cake
Apricot & Chesnut Stuffing