Cooking with Anna

My Grandmother’s Roast Turkey Recipe

 Turkey Preparation

Christmas time is always the time for eating drinking and carving the turkey!!!!! I am sure you have all had a turkey roasting in the oven with loving care and only to finish the roast and find that your turkey is dry!!!!ugh!!!! Well, my grandmother was the turkey queen… now now don’t be cheeky.. the flesh was so tender and juicy you would have thought she steamed the turkey not bake. We always had the turkey with gorgeous round and crisp potatoes, shapely pumpkin pieces, fresh peas that my grand father painstakingly podded for her ( half the time he ate too many and had a sore tummy), the stuffing was so soft you only wanted to eat the stuffing with her luscious gravy. Then the peace de la resistants!!! The meat with the skin so juicy, so soft and above all the flavor was magnificent.  Enough let’s start to cook.

Here is My grandmother’s step by step guide to preparing and roasting a juicy turkey. Basically I am writing this how she taught me with a few adjustments.


1 x  turkey large enough for the whole family plus 10 more people. (Yes that is how she cooked)

250g to 500g butter softened (depends on the size of the turkey and how brave you are with butter) I say it is Christmas and not worry about the bravery just go for it.

Salt for seasoning.

The stuffing depending on the size of your turkey my grandmother usually used half a loaf of two day old bread, soaked in water,  squeezed 2/3 of the water out of the bread, then browned 2 diced onions in butter, add the bread,  add half a cup of macadamia nut pieces,  half a cup of melted butter. Mix all together and stuff the turkey (really I mean fill the turkey how cheeky!!!) My tip is to add ½ cup of Cranberry Sauce to the mixture and more if required. I usually make the stuffing just before I am baking the turkey, Generally it is a matter of preference. When we bake at home, we sometimes use 2 cups of cranberry and pomegranate juice in the pan along with the water the flavour is quite luscious.

To buy fresh or frozen? The choice is based on your lifestyle and preferences. Sometimes fresh just is not suitable due to time restraints, “rush hour”, and life commitments. My advice when choosing a Turkey, make sure that the Turkey is a Brand that has Ethical Farming practices.


I always choose  a turkey that has plump legs, and is fat. I find the Turkey that looks a little anorexic does not have enough flavor and dries out very quickly whilst roasting.  

  1. Preheat a conventional oven to 180°C or Fan forced 160°C
  2. When your turkey is thawed, carefully remove all the packaging.
  3. Remove the neck from the cavity. ( you can roast the neck and use the juices for a good gravy)
  4.  Rinse thoroughly inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.
  5. Place knobs of butter under the skin as far as you can insert the butter topside and bottom side. 
  6. Stuff the turkey leaving enough room for the stuffing to expand.
  7. Cross the legs over each other and tie with cooking twine.
  8. If there is a skin flap, tuck it neatly under the bird.
  9. Fold the wings back and tuck under.
  10. Line the pan with baking paper to prevent the turkey from sticking to the pan.
  11. Use foil to protect the hock ends, wings and the breast to ensure the bird doesn’t brown too quickly.
  12. Place the turkey breast side up in the roasting dish add some butter and three cups of boiling water.
  13. Bake for about 45minutes per kilo.
  14. 30 minutes before the calculated cooking time is completed remove the turkey from the oven.
  15. Remove foil from the breast area and pierce the skin several times to allow self basting and browning. Return to oven.
  16. Once the baking time is reached, take the turkey out of the oven and test whether it is cooked. ( my grandmother just looked at the turkey and knew by the aroma if the turkey was cooked – admittedly that is how I cook my Turkey).
  17. Check using a meat thermometer. Place the thermometer into the deepest part of the bird and the internal temperate should be 82°C. Another tip is the turkey is fully cooked when the juices run clear.
  18. If it is fully cooked, transfer the turkey to a carving platter. Cover with foil and allow to stand for twenty minutes.
  19.  As oven temperatures vary, you may need to adjust cooking times accordingly.
  20. I suggest you use a meat thermometer as it is the best way to ensure your turkey is perfectly cooked.
  21. The key to a good soft turkey is the stuffing and the butter under the skin along with a slow baking and covered with alfoil.

 Serving Suggesetions:

  • Serve with roasted smashed spuds, warm Brussel Sprout and roasted chestnut salad, Glazed Carrots, Chargrilled parsnips, diced roasted pumpkin, and condiments. The most traditional condiment is the Cranberry Sauce or Cumberland sauce.
  • Though let us be extravagant and use the whole lot so everyone has a choice of condiments and sauces.
  • To make the gravy, it is quite ok to use a Gravox mix though I would suggest to use the juices from the baking dish. Admittedly, a good gravy is always made using our grandmother’s method.
  • Enjoy and have fun cooking.!!!!!!! I would be delighted to learn of your success!!

closeup of christmas turkey




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