Mustard butter-basted roast turkey with bacon

Contains pork – recipe is for non-Muslims only
Ensure juicy meat by inserting streaky bacon under the skin of your big bird. A tangy mustard baste creates an extra tasty gravy

  • Prep:30 mins
    Cook:4 hrs
    plus resting
  • Serves 10
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 611
  • fat 32g
  • saturates 12g
  • carbs 2g
  • sugars 1g
  • fibre 0g
  • protein 79g
  • salt 1.7g


  • 5-5½ kg oven-ready turkey, neck and giblets removed (save them to make stock, if you like)
  • 250g pack dry-cured smoked streaky bacon (about 12 rashers)
  • a little mustard (optional)
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • sea salt flakes
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 large thyme sprig
  • a few bay leaves
  • glass of dry white wine
  • bay leaves and chopped thyme, for scattering
  • 85g butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves


  1. Weigh your turkey and calculate the cooking time by allowing 40 mins per kg for the first 4kg, then 45 mins for every kg of turkey over that weight. As a guide, a turkey this size should take 3½-4 hrs plus 30-45 mins resting time.

  2. To make the mustard butter, beat the butter with the mustards, thyme and some ground black pepper until soft and well mixed.

  3. Gently push your fingers under the skin of the turkey, starting from the neck, until you can push your whole hand in down the length of the breast – take care not to tear the skin. Spread the butter under the skin so that it covers the breasts. Lay the streaky bacon on your work surface in 2 rectangles of 6 overlapping rashers (for extra flavour, you can brush the bacon with a little wholegrain or English mustard first), and carefully push each rectangle of bacon under the skin to cover and protect each breast. This can be done the night before, but take out of the fridge for 1 hr before roasting so that it comes back to room temperature.

  4. On the day, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Lift the turkey into a roasting tin, massage the olive oil into the skin and season well with flaky salt and pepper. Put the onion, thyme and bay inside the cavity of the turkey, then pour in the wine. Cover the tin loosely with foil and roast for the calculated cooking time. For the final 30 mins, remove the foil and pour off all of the cooking juices (use for the gravy; recipe in 'goes well with'). Increase the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and roast for 30 mins more until the turkey is golden and the juices that run out of the thigh are clear, with no sign of pink, when pierced with a skewer. Leave to rest on a warm platter covered with foil and tea towels – it will keep like this for up to 45 mins.

  5. To serve, carve the turkey and arrange the meat on a hot platter with a little of the hot gravy poured over, or bring the whole turkey to the table garnished with herbs. To fill the platter, you could surround the turkey with potatoes, if you like. Any leftover meat can be frozen in the gravy.

Suggested recipes from this collection...