Buying and Storing
  • If you plan on having a fresh turkey at Christmas, buy is as close to Decemeber 25th as possible. Make sure when you buy it that you bring it home straight away and store it in the fridge. If you buy a frozen turkey, make sure you get it into your freezer immediately. Make sure before buying the turkey that the freezer has enough room.
  • When storing any raw meat and poultry, remember to keep it on the bottom shelf of the fridge. This will stop meat juices from dripping on to other foods and will prevent germs from spreading around the fridge.
  • To ensure that the food in your fridge is safe, try and keep the turkey in the coldest part of the fridge, usually the bottom shelf, at 5°C or below.
  • Don’t wash your turkey. This can spread germs to your sink and kitchen surfaces.
  • Your turkey must be fully defrosted before cooking. You will know it is fully defrosted when the body is soft, the legs can be moved and there are no ice crystals in the cavity.
  • The best way to defrost a turkey is to leave it on the bottom shelf of the fridge on a plate.
  • The turkey will take at least 24 hours to defrost every 2-2.5 kgs. This means it can take up to 3 days to defrost a 7.5kg turkey so make sure you leave plenty of time. 
Cooking your turkey
To cook the perfect turkey here are some tips:
  • Handle the turkey as little as possible. Wash your hands and all surfaces thoroughly before and after preparing the turkey.
  • Preheat your fan oven to 180°C and put our turkey breast on a roasting tray.
  • If you would like to stuff your turkey, make sure the stuffing weighs no more than 10% the weight of the bird and loosely stuff it into the cavity.
  • Cover your turkey with foil and place into the oven. Baste the turkey every hour while cooking.
  • For the last 30 minutes of cooking, remove the foil from the turkey so the skin will brown.
  • Leave the turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving. Cover the turkey with foil while it’s resting.
Size of turkey Stuffed turkey Unstuffed turkey
8-12lbs/3.5-5.5kg 3 hours 20 minutes - 4 hours 40 minutes 3 hours - 4 hours 20 minutes
12-14lbs/5.5-6.5kg 4 hours 40 minutes - 5 hours 20 minutes 4 hours 20 minutes - 5 hours 
14-18lbs/6.5-8kg 5 hours 20 minutes - 6 hours 40 minutes 5 hours - 6 hours 20 minutes
18-20lbs/8-9kg 6 hours 40 minutes - 7 hours 20 minutes 6 hours 20 minutes - 7 hours
20-24lbs/9-11kg 7 hours 20 minutes - 8 hours 40 minutes 7 hours - 8 hours 20 minutes
Before serving
Before serving your turkey, here are a few things you should look out for:
  • There should be no pink meat left
  • Pierce the thickest part of the leg and breast meat with a skewer. The juices should run clear.
  • The meat should be steaming hot all the way through.
  • If you have stuffed your turkey, the stuffing should also be hot at the centre.
Turkey leftovers
If there are leftovers from your turkey, you will need to handle and store them safely. 
  • Cool your leftovers as quickly as possible
  • Cover the leftovers and place them in the fridge within 2 hours of cooking
  • The leftovers should be eaten within 3 days of cooking.
  • When eating our leftovers, make sure to reheat them until they are piping hot.
  • Never reheat food a second time.