Say goodbye to dry turkey with the Best Christmas Turkey Recipe! It is succulent, juicy and filled with traditional Christmas flavors. Serve with Christmas vegetables and potatoes.
Turkey is the main attraction during Christmas so it is important to get it right. The following steps below will help you make a juicy, mouthwatering turkey that will have your family and friends coming back for more!
What I Love About This Recipe
This turkey is moist, juicy and succulent! You just need to follow a few simple steps and you will have a showstopping turkey in no time.
To make a moist, succulent turkey you will need to soak it in brine for a minimum of 1 hour. Brine is simply salt dissolved in water. When meat is left to soak in brine it absorbs the liquid and salt. Which results in more juicy and moist meat! The ratio for any wet brine is 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of water or 1 litre of water to 70g of salt. You can brine the turkey for 1 hour per 500g of meat.
You can add any ingredient of your choice to brine. Some favorites include fresh lemons, onions, garlic, basil, thyme and more!
Important Notice: Do not brine a turkey that has already been brined as this will result in a very salty inedible turkey! Make sure you read the packaging on the turkey before brining and seasoning it.
Best Christmas Turkey Recipe Ingredients
- Turkey – Select a good quality turkey. Make sure that it has not been soaked in brine already. If so do not brine the turkey because it will be too salty. Allow the turkey to thaw completely before soaking in brine.
- Salt to taste
- Sugar – Adding sugar balances out the savory flavours in the brine.
- Black pepper to taste
- Onions – I used white onions for this recipe but feel free to use red onions or shallots instead.
- Garlic cloves – Fresh garlic cloves work best for this recipe.
- Oranges – Add fresh oranges for a sweet citrus flavor.
- Lemon – This also adds a subtle sour citrus like flavor to the turkey.
- Herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary and bay leaves) – This combination of herbs adds delicious earthy flavors to the turkey.
- Unsalted butter – Is rubbed all over the turkey. It is combined with seasoning gives the turkey it’s gorgeous brown color.
How to Make Turkey Brine
In order to make a simple turkey brine, you will need oranges, lemons, onions, garlic cloves, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, sage, salt, sugar, black pepper and water.
- Start by adding water to a large pot. The water should cover the turkey. Next, add salt to the water, sugar, black pepper to taste, onion, garlic cloves, orange, lemon, thyme, sage, a few bunches of rosemary and bay leaves.
- Then heat the mixture on a low/medium stove to dissolve and cook the ingredients added to the water. Stir and cook the brine until the salt and sugar dissolves.
- Once the salt and sugar has dissolved remove the mixture from the heat and leave it to cool down. If you are in a hurry then you can add ice or cold water to cool it down faster. Do not add too much though as you don’t want to dilute the brine.
- Next, add a medium-sized turkey to the brine and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.
Top tip: I always taste my brine before adding the turkey to ensure that the brine is not too salty.
Note: The longer you leave the turkey in the brine the more moisture the turkey will absorb. However, do not soak the turkey for more than 24 hours as it may result in the flesh becoming too soft and mushy.
How to Roast a Turkey
- Preheat oven to 180C/356F/ Gas 4. Then, remove turkey from the brine and leave it to sit until it dries or pat it with a paper towel.
- Grab a bowl and room temperature unsalted butter, rosemary, thyme, salt to taste, pepper to taste and mix well.
- Rub the butter mixture on the body of the turkey and then add the turkey to a large oven dish breast side up. Stuff the turkey with lemon, orange, garlic cloves and onion.
- Tie the drumsticks, tuck the wings in and bake for 3-4 1/2 hrs. Check the turkey every 30 minutes and pour the juices from the tray on top of the turkey so that it does not dry out. If the turkey skin becomes too brown then you can cover it with foil loosely as it cooks.
Note: Feel free to add festive vegetables such as sprouts, parsnips and carrots to the turkey tray in the last 30 minutes. The vegetables will soak up the turkey juices!
A meat thermometer can be used to help you determine whether the turkey is ready or not. Insert it between the breast and leg. It should be 75°C/165°F.
- Once the turkey is ready leave it to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve this amazing Christmas turkey with roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy.
Top Tips and Tricks
- Pat the turkey dry before rubbing the seasoned butter on the turkey. This will ensure that the turkey is crispy on the outside.
- Thaw the turkey before you add it to the brine. If you don’t it will take a longer amount of time to roast the turkey.
- This recipe can be used for any sized turkey. Feel free to half, double or triple the ingredients accordingly.
This all depends on the size of the turkey. The general rule is 25-30 minutes per kilo if the turkey is at room temperature. However, if the turkey is frozen it will take a longer time to cook.
Thanks for reading this recipe, comment below if you made this and let me know how it went! Follow @simshomekitchen on Instagram, take a photo, tag and hashtag it with @simshomekitchen.
Best Christmas Turkey Recipe
- 1 medium sized turkey 7 kg
- 1/2-1 cup of salt
- 1/2 a cup of sugar
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 onions
- 3-5 garlic cloves
- 2 oranges chopped largely
- 2 lemon chopped largely
- 2-4 tsp of thyme
- 2-4 tsp of sage
- A bunch of rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 125 g of unsalted butter
- Start by adding water to a large pot. The water should cover the turkey.
- Add 1/2-1 cup of salt to the water, 1/2 a cup of sugar, black pepper to taste, 1 onion, 2-3 garlic cloves, 1 orange, 1 lemon, 1-2 tsp of thyme, 1-2 tsp of sage, a few bunches of rosemary and 2 bay leaves.
- Heat the mixture on a low/medium stove, stir and cook until the salt and sugar dissolve.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and leave it to cool down or add ice to the mixture to cool it down faster. You can also add cold water.
- Add a medium sized turkey (6-7kg) to the brine and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.
- Preheat oven at 180C/356F/ Gas 4. Remove turkey from the brine and leave it to sit until dry or pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Add 125g of unsalted butter to a bowl (must be room temperature). Add 1-2 tsp of rosemary and thyme. Add salt to taste, pepper to taste and mix well.
- Rub the butter mixture on the body of the turkey and then add it to a large oven dish breast side up. Stuff the turkey with 1 largely chopped lemon, 1 largely chopped orange, 2-3 garlic cloves, 1 onion, tie the drumbsticks and tuck the wings in and bake for 3-4 1/2 hrs. Check the turkey from time and add pour the juices from the tray on top of the turkey so that it does not dry out. If the turkey skin becomes too brown then you can cover it with foil loosely.
- Once the turkey is ready leave it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.