How long can you eat Christmas turkey?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you eat Christmas turkey?”, and how to make the perfect roast turkey?

How long can you eat Christmas turkey?

If refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking, Christmas turkey should be eaten within 2 days of storage. 

How to make the perfect roast turkey?


  • 1 whole turkey defrosted (the cooking time in the recipe is for a 5kg/11lb turkey. See the recipe notes for alternative size turkeys and timings.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 250 ml cold water


  1. Take out the turkey from the fridge about an hour before the recipe preparations. Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan/ gas mark 4 / 350F. This should take about 15 minutes.
  1. Toss the turkey in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then season with salt and black pepper. Place the seasoned turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting tray.
  1. Calculate the cooking time based on the weight of your turkey. More on this in the recipe notes.
  1. Wrap the turkey in a large piece of foil and roast your turkey for about an hour shy of the calculated cooking time. The foil will seal the juices inside the turkey meat and prevent the turkey skin from browning too quickly.
  1. About an hour before the end of the cooking time, take out your turkey from the oven and unwrap it. Baste the turkey with the juices collected at the bottom of the tin. Return the turkey to the oven, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.
  1. After 30 minutes, set the oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F. Remove the turkey from the oven and baste again. Put the turkey back in the oven and roast for the last 30 minutes. You can also throw in some potatoes at this point. The high temperature is perfect for roasting the potatoes and crisping the turkey skin. 
  1. To check for doneness, stick a thermometer inside the turkey. The turkey is ready if the thermometer reads 74C (165F). Alternatively, insert a knife in the bulkiest part of the turkey, which lies somewhere between the thigh and breast region. The turkey is ready if the exposed meat is white and the released juices are clear.
  1. Serve the turkey in a clean roasting tin or a similar dish. Do not cover the turkey and let it rest for about 30 minutes before devouring it. This will allow the juices inside the turkey to redistribute and preserve the crispy exterior of your turkey.


The following table shows the precise cooking times in correspondence to a specific weight of the turkey. 

Turkey weight Cooking time 
3kg/6.5lb2 h 30 min
4kg/9lb turkey2 h 50 min
5kg/11lb3 h 10 min
6kg/13lb3 h 30 min
7kg/15.5lb3 h 50 min
8kg/17.5lb4 h 10 min
9kg/20lb4 h 30 min 
10kg/22lb4 h 50 min

Turkey crown: Top cooking tips

Stop it getting dry

Turkey crown is just breast meat with a slim fat ratio. To add richness to its flavor and prevent it from getting dry, use good-quality fat while cooking. This is why all the turkey crown recipes call for slathering the turkey in butter or wrapping it with pancetta or bacon.

Make sure it fits into your oven 

To avoid any inconveniences on the big day, check to see if the turkey can easily fit into your oven or not. 

What temperature should I cook my turkey crown at?

Depending on your oven, the turkey crown is usually baked at 180°C/190°C fan, 350F or a gas mark 5. Some recipes will recommend you to start with a cooking temperature of 200 degrees, then lowering the temperature once you put the turkey inside the oven.

While others will suggest you increase the temperature towards the end of the cooking time. Both the cooking approaches are aimed at developing a crispy turkey exterior. 

Turkey crown cooking times

The cooking time depends on the weight of the turkey crown. The British Turkey Information suggests cooking the turkey crown at the rate of 20 minutes per kg, with an additional 70 minutes if it weighs less than 4kg, and 90 minutes if it weighs more than 4kg. Refer to the following table for cooking your turkey crown at the oven setting of 180°C fan/350F/gas mark 4

Turkey crown weight Cooking time 
1 kg 1 h 30 min
1.5 kg 1 h 40 min
2 kg 1 h 50 min 
2.5 kg 2 h
3 kg 2 h 10 min

Other FAQs about Turkey that you may be interested in.

Why do we eat Christmas turkey?

Can you eat a turkey that has been frozen for 2 years

Can you eat wild turkey eggs?


In this article, we answered the question “How long can you eat Christmas turkey?”, and how to make the perfect roast turkey?

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