Traditional roast turkey recipe

Achieve succulent, flavourful roast turkey with this easy guide
Achieve succulent, flavourful roast turkey with this easy guide - Image Professionals GmbH

Simply push onion quarters and a cored apple into the cavity of the bird and roast to a golden brown. The extra layer of fat developed during mature turkeys’ long and happy lives means that they provide a rich and succulent meat.


Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours 15 minutes


Eight to 10 (with leftovers)


  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered

  • 1 Cox’s apple or cooking apple, cored

  • 1 x 6kg free-range, oven-ready turkey


  1. Preheat the oven to 230C/210C fan/Gas 9.

  2. Place the onion and the apple in the cavity of the turkey.

  3. Insert a pop-up timer at a point about 3cm to the right or left of the front tip of the breastbone. The timer should not touch any bone.

  4. If you are stuffing your turkey, fill the neck cavity only. Remember to recalculate the total cooking time to include the extra weight of the stuffing. Stuffing can also be cooked separately.

  5. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the turkey and place it breast-side-down in a roasting tin (cooking breast-side down until the final half-hour keeps the breast meat moist and succulent while the brown meat cooks evenly).

  6. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper, cover with foil and place the roasting tin in the preheated oven.

  7. Cook at 230C/210C fan/Gas 9 for 30 minutes.

  8. Then lower the temperature to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5 and cook for a further 2 hours and 45 minutes.

  9. 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the foil and turn the bird over carefully using poultry forks, so that the breast bronzes.

  10. Do not overcook your turkey – it should be moist and succulent. It will be ready when the juices run clear when tested with a fork (plunge into the deepest part of the thigh or breast), or when your cooking timer has popped up. If you are using a meat thermometer, the internal cooked temperature should be 74C.

  11. Serve with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Recipe by Brenda Copas of Copas Turkeys