Christmas dinner timings: your minute-by-minute guide to the perfect turkey roast

Cooking Christmas dinner is simple with our timings planner, which you can easily adjust to suit your preferences

roast turkey

Our Christmas meal timings will guide you through a the traditional Christmas day turkey roast dinner with no fuss. The simple-to-follow planner makes everything simple, whether it’s your first attempt at Christmas lunch, or you simply want to take it easy this year, and you can adapt and adjust it depending on your menu. Happy cooking!

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Christmas Day meal plan: timings for a perfect turkey roast

Here are our suggested timings for cooking a traditional Christmas turkey dinner. We’re assuming a sit-down time of 2pm, so adjust if you prefer to eat earlier or later.

9.30am: Take the turkey out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature

10.10am: Pre-heat the oven

10.15am: Prepare the turkey, stuff it and check the cooking time on the package. Our timings are based on a 4.5kg free-range oven-ready turkey which requires approx 3 hours cooking time, so adjust accordingly.

TURKEY ROASTING TIMES

Heat your oven to 220°C/200ºC Fan/Gas Mark 7. Cook the turkey for the first 20 mins of the cooking time, then reduce the heat to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4 for the remainder.

Always check the turkey is cooked by piercing the thickest part of the thigh and making sure the juices are clear. If you have a meat thermometer, the temperature of the thighs should be 80ºC and the breast 75ºC.

HOW LONG TO COOK IT FOR

Under 4.5kg: 45 mins per kg, plus an additional 20 mins

4.5kg – 6.5kg: 40 mins per kg

More than 6.5kg: 35 mins per kg

Allow your turkey to rest for 30-45 minutes after cooking.

Roast chicken on a tray

10.30am: Put the turkey in the oven

10.30 – 1pm: Use this time to do any preparation you need for your starter and peel and chop vegetables, including potatoes, if you haven’t done this already. You could also make the gravy if preparing from scratch, and set aside. Relax and have a drink!

1.15pm: Parboil your potatoes for 2-5 mins, then drain. Place a roasting tray coated with fat or oil in the oven to heat up.

1.25-1.30pm: Take the turkey out of the oven and leave it to rest. Shake your potatoes to get them fluffy, then put them in the hot roasting tray and add seasonings. Toss so potatoes are evenly coated in fat and seasoning, return to oven.

1.40pm: Start cooking vegetables and put any sides like pigs in blankets or cauliflower cheese in the oven. Cover and set aside when cooked.

1.50pm: Toss potatoes to prevent sticking and ensure an even roast, return to oven.

2pm: Serve your starter, if having one.

2.20pm: Re-heat homemade gravy or mix up your instant gravy now. Remove roast potatoes from the oven. Start plating up or putting food into serving dishes, depending on your serving style.

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2.30pm: Serve the turkey and trimmings!