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Christmas turkey: Roast turkey with citrus and herb butter

Christmas turkey: Roast turkey with citrus and herb butter

This recipe for a traditional Christmas roast turkey will produce wonderfully succulent results as it bastes in a delicious flavoured butter as it cooks.

Citrus roast turkey with herbs and bacon recipe - BritMums
Picture: Waitrose & Partners

Roast turkey with citrus and herb butter

Cooking time for the turkey varies depending on its size. Use a thermometer to make sure the interior of your bird reaches 74°C / 165°F. A decent-sized bird should feed 8 with plenty for yummy leftovers.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Resting time30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Christmas
Servings: 8


  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 150 g butter softened
  • 20 g pack fresh thyme or lemon thyme chopped
  • 25 g pack fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 medium Fresh Free Range Turkey 4.3-6.29kg
  • 400 g pack Sausagemeat Stuffing optional
  • 3 bay leaves torn, plus extra to garnish
  • 250 g pack Smoked Dry Cured Streaky Bacon Rashers
  • Pigs in blankets cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon, optional
  • Apricot & pecan stuffing balls


  • Preheat the oven according to the instructions on the turkey packaging. Finely grate the zest from the orange and lemon into a small bowl and stir in 100g of the softened butter. Add the thyme and parsley. Season with freshly ground black pepper and mix well until evenly combined. Cut the orange and lemon into quarters.
  • Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Lift the skin from the neck of the bird and use your fingers to ease the skin from the breast meat. Push the flavoured butter evenly under the skin to coat the meat, then smooth the skin back down. Stuff the smaller neck cavity with the sausagemeat stuffing, if using, then pull the skin back over and secure with a cocktail stick underneath the bird. Pop the 3 bay leaves inside the large cavity with the orange and lemon quarters.
  • Transfer the turkey into a large roasting tin, melt the remaining butter and generously brush over the bird. Season, then loosely cover the turkey with foil, to stop it browning too much. Calculate the cooking time and cook according to the instructions on pack.
  • About 30-40 minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the turkey from the oven and take off the foil. Weave the bacon rashers into a criss-cross lattice pattern across the breast. Arrange the pigs in blankets and stuffing balls, if using, around the bird and return to the oven for the remaining cooking time, or until the turkey is thoroughly cooked through, the juices run clear when skewered in the thickest part and there is no pink meat. If the juices are pink, return the bird to the oven for a further 15 minutes then test again.
  • Transfer the cooked turkey to a warm serving plate and cover with buttered foil. Leave to rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes (or for up to an hour). Serve the turkey with the pigs in blankets and stuffing balls, garnished with bay leaves.

Wondering what else you can whip up for the festive season or how to enjoy turkey leftovers? Check out our repository of the best easy recipes for the cold winter months and Christmas.

More Christmas recipe inspiration

Here's the BEST Christmas and Thanksgiving holiday roast turkey recipe. It's easy roast oven recipe. The herb butter makes it come out juicy every time!


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