Christmas turkey: What size and temperature should you cook?

Everything you need to know about how to cook turkey this Christmas (Image: Getty)

There are many things to worry about in the near future Christmas: gift, tree, decorations, and most importantly, food.

If you are in charge cook Christmas dinner, the stress of getting it all sorted out can make you wish it was January.

Let’s be honest: not all of us are born with a sense of how many people are 9kg Turkey will feed. But with this guide, you’ll soon get the hang of it.

As well as the ideal turkey size, you must also consider what shape you want the turkey to be.

Do you want the centerpiece of all the centers to be a whole turkey, or is just a turkey crown enough?

Here’s everything you need to consider.

How big of a whole turkey should I get?

Is a full turkey exactly what you need? (Image: Getty)

For the truth Christmas According to traditionalism, getting a whole turkey is a no-brainer.

A whole turkey is ideal when you have a larger family or those with large needs to satisfy. Also, is it really Christmas without bread leftovers?

The smallest turkeys – weighing 2kg and averaging around £10 when purchased frozen – will serve four to six people.

A 3kg to 4.5kg turkey will feed six people, which would be the average family Christmas dinner and will cost you around £35.

From 4kg to 6kg will feed eight people, can meet the eating needs of your family and them.

Between 6kg and 8kg will feed 12 people, but watch to make sure your oven can handle a bird this size.

From 8kg to 9.5kg will feed 16 people. For a bird this size, you’ll expect to pay around £50.

Keep in mind: the turkey will need to fit in your oven (Image: Getty)

A 9.5kg turkey will feed up to 20 people – but this is really for serious entertainment and unsurprisingly you’ll need to check if one will fit in your oven .

The price of turkey depends heavily on all the add-ons and extras offered. Many places will sell pre-stuffed or free-range turkeys, which will obviously drive up the price.

For example, a 6kg free-range turkey can (shockingly) set you back over £100.

When deciding what size turkey to buy, make sure you take into account the number of guests you will have. If there are many children, remember that they have smaller palates.

Also, the vegans, vegetarians, and vegans in your life won’t cling to the bird.

And if you know you want lots of leftovers, then bring them into the mix when important decisions need to be made.

What size turkey crown should I get?

How many turkeys does your Christmas dinner need? The crown might be a better option (Image: Getty)

The turkey crown is exactly what you need if you think a whole mammoth is too much to handle.

You can get turkey crowns from 2kg to 3kg to feed five people, or even smaller than the 1.25kg size if you are having a very small gathering.

A 3kg to 4kg turkey crown will feed nine people at your Christmas table.

Many supermarkets will offer pre-stuffed and glazed turkey crowns, which can make your Christmas dinner extra stressful.

Should you buy fresh or frozen turkey?

Frozen turkey is a better value, but if you’re looking for a specific variety buy fresh.

If you choose to freeze then you need to factor in the defrosting time, it’s no joke.

Would you choose fresh or frozen turkey? (Image: Getty)

Here are a few known examples:

Weight: 2.25kg
Thaw in refrigerator for 27 hours or in a cool room for 9 hours.

Weight: 3-3.5kg
Thaw in refrigerator 42 hours, or cool room 12-14 hours.

Weight: 4.5-5.5kg
Defrost in the refrigerator for 66 hours or in a cool room for 18-22 hours

Weight: 6.75-7.5kg
Thaw in the fridge for 90 hours, or defrost in a cool room for 27 – 30 hours.

Of course, you can always pre-purchase a fresh turkey, and freeze it for a few weeks before you prepare your festive meal.

When and where to stuff your turkey

OK, so you’ve got your turkey (or crown) – and you’ve decided if you want fresh or frozen.

Now, you need to think about cramming.

You can serve the stuffing on its own or inside the turkey (Image: Getty)

Fortunately, it can be prepared in advance. But don’t tuck it into the turkey until you’re about to cook it.

You should only stuff into the neck cavity of the turkey, not the body because it will make the turkey not fully cooked.

However, you can fill the body with sprigs of herbs and slices of lemon or onion so they can diffuse into the meat while it cooks.

How long should you cook turkey?

How long do you cook your turkey really depends on the size.

A good estimate is to cook your poultry for about 35 to 40 minutes per kilogram at 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Wrap the turkey in foil and place it on a baking tray/tin in the preheated oven. Check the turkey every 20 minutes and soak it with the juice from the bottom of the tin.

When the turkey is at its last 30 minutes, you’ll need to remove the tin foil to get that delicious crispy skin.

For exact cooking times, you should consult your butcher – or packer.

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Tom Vazquez

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