Lemon & herb-basted simple roast turkey

Contains pork – recipe is for non-Muslims only
Roast your Christmas turkey with a classic lemon, parsley and thyme butter for juicy, delicately flavoured meat
PREP 20 mins
COOK 4 hrs


  • calories 628
  • carbs 0
  • saturated fat 14
  • sugar 0
  • protein 84
  • fat 32
  • fibre 0
  • salt 0.9


4½ kg free-range oven-ready turkeys
100g softened butter
grated zest 1 lemon
1 tbsp chopped thyme
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Hazelnut, pancetta & orange stuffing (optional, see 'Goes well with')


  1. Remove any giblets from the turkey and save for stock, if you are making your own (see 'Tip'). Remove the bird from the fridge 1 hr before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. Wipe the turkey inside and out with kitchen paper.
  2. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Starting at the neck-end of the bird, carefully push your fingers between the skin and flesh on the breast, loosening the skin. Mix the butter, lemon zest, herbs and garlic together and season. Push the flavoured butter under the skin and spread over the flesh. Smooth the skin back over the breast.
  3. You can now stuff the neck-end of the bird with the stuffing, if you like, and secure the skin underneath with a skewer. Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time – it will need 40 mins for every 1kg.
  4. Transfer the bird to a roasting tin, cover loosely with foil and place in the middle of the oven. Cook for 20 mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for the rest of the cooking time. Remove the foil for the last 30 mins. Check if the turkey is cooked by piercing the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer. If the juices run clear, it’s cooked. If they are pink, return it to the oven for another 15 mins, then test again. If using a meat thermometer, it should read 80C for the thighs, and the breast should be 75C.
  5. Remove the cooked turkey from the tin, and place on a serving platter (use the tin to make the gravy – see 'Goes well with'). Cover with foil and leave to rest for 30-45 mins before carving.