From how to keep your turkey crown moist to fail-safe tips for a deliciously crisp and golden skin, this is the only guide you need to roast the perfect turkey crown this Christmas

Turkey crowns are genius. They're ideal for smaller families, feeding four to six people, and you'll spend less time in the kitchen tending to an oversized whole bird. But, more importantly, turkey crowns fit in everyone's oven! Who needs leftovers anyway? 

 

Here's how to feast on a perfectly succulent turkey crown this Christmas, with expert tips from experienced chefs in our test kitchen.

 

MAKE SURE YOU...

1. Fully defrost the turkey crown, then cook from room temperature

This one's a no-brainer. It takes a bit of patience to defrost a turkey, simply because of their sheer size, so make sure you allow enough time. Defrosting should be done in the fridge if possible and separated from other foods, in a container large enough to catch any juices. It's important to bring your turkey to room temperature before roasting to ensure it cooks evenly. Remove the crown from the fridge at least 30 minutes before to avoid excess moisture developing on the skin as it goes into the hot oven. 

 

2. Pat the turkey dry with kitchen paper 

Everyone deserves crispy turkey skin at Christmas. Gently dab the turkey all over with kitchen paper and season generously with sea salt. Extra fat will guarantee a golden crust, so don't forget to tuck blobs of soft butter under the skin. We love sage butter, but any herb butter will work well.  

 

3.  Weigh the turkey after stuffing it 

This is a rookie mistake you don't want to make. Always weigh the turkey after you fill it with the stuffing mixture to calculate the perfect cooking time for your roast. The turkey cooking equation is 20 minutes per kg + 70 minutes if your turkey is under 4kg. Don't worry – we've already done the maths for you. 

Large turkey crown (2.4 – 2.8 kg) = 120 to 130 minutes 
Medium turkey crown (2 – 2.3 kg) = 110 to 120 minutes 
Small turkey crown (1.5 – 1.9kg) = 100 to 110 minutes 

 

4. Cook the turkey upside down 

This one works every single time. Cook the turkey upside down so the juices run through the breast meat, resulting in the juiciest roast you'll ever dream of. Simply turn the turkey over for the last 40 minutes to get that incredible golden skin too. When you turn it over, show the crown some love and baste it with the pan juices. At this point you can also add a bacon lattice on top, in case the recipe calls for it. The ideal temperature to cook turkey crown is 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6.

 

PLEASE DON'T...

1. Wash your turkey crown 

Rinsing poultry under the tap is a major cause for germ spreading. There's absolutely no need to wash the turkey, so save yourself the trouble of all the cleaning up afterwards. 

 

2. Peek into the oven every few minutes 

You've done your best and prepared an amazing turkey crown. Now all that's left to do is to wait with a cup of tea and mince pies for company. Don't open the oven for a cheeky peek – opening the oven allows steam to escape, which increases the chances of your roast drying out. No, no, no! 

 

3. Undercook the turkey

There are two ways to tell when your roast is ready. For the traditional way, simply pierce the flesh at its thickest point using a sharp skewer or knife. If the juices run clear, the crown is cooked. If they run slightly pinkish, cook for another 10 minutes and check again. For the science-led way, insert your temperature probe​ into the breast at its thickest point and leave in for 2 minutes. If the temperature reaches 75°C, you're good to go. Both ways work – it just depends on what's in your toolbox. 

 

4. Wrap the turkey too tightly in foil

Foil is your friend when it comes to resting turkey properly. During the 25-minute resting time, wrap turkey in a loose foil tent – but make sure it doesn't touch the skin. This keeps the skin crispy and stops the heat from escaping. 

 

EXTRA HELPINGS 

1. Make the gravy in the baking tray  

While the crown is resting, make the gravy in the baking tray that you used to cook the turkey. If the dish isn't transferable to your stove top, add a splash of boiling water and allow it to soak up the pan juices for 10 minutes. Scrape any bits stuck to the bottom and transfer every last bit to the gravy pan.  

 

2. Add some flavour  

There are plenty of ways to flavour turkey. We love the classic stuffing technique, or tucking flavoured butter under the skin. You can't go wrong with fresh thyme and lemon if you want a roast with simple yet delicious flavours. Or go all out with the ultimate roast turkey with chestnut and sausage stuffing and a festive bacon lattice top. We also have all the secrets to the perfect Christmas stuffing. Shh...

 

Thinking of making a whole roast turkey instead? Get the recipe for the perfect turkey